OK, it's over. Having gone through the drama of winning Jeremy Lin his early Bird rights, so the Knicks could afford to re-sign their most popular player, Knicks management maneuvered itself into a position where the team decided it couldn't afford to match the Houston Rockets' offer to Lin, after all. Or, if you'd rather, Lin got greedy and took a team-wrecking deal. Knicks fans are not taking the end of last year's Cinderella story well: Fiscal responsibility! Betrayal! Stupidity! Ingratitude! Common sense! Eddy Curry!
Whew. And meanwhile: Who is going to play point guard for the Knicks?
Lin's breakout last year wasn't a case of an upstart young player replacing an injured, once-productive veteran, or a surprise injection of energy into a well established rotation. His scrapheap-to-starter story was made possible by the fact that the Knicks' point-guard slot was a sinkhole, manned by a depressing trio of Mike Bibby, Toney Douglas, and Iman Shumpert. The playmaking was so clearly hopeless that one early-season fantasy revolved around Carmelo Anthony facilitating the offense by playing point forward.
Carmelo Anthony did not, in fact, end up facilitating the offense. Neither did Amar'e Stoudemire and his jump-into-everybody-and-try-to-draw-fouls strategy.
Now the Knicks are more or less back where they started. Stoudemire will keep creaking along, Anthony will keep gunning, and the job of trying to make the offense run will belong to a possibly even darker black hole: the newly acquired point guard tandem of Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton. Felton returns to the Knicks fresh off a season in Portland in which he was noticeably fat and posted a career low PER of 13.46. Kidd is 39 years old, posted a career low 13.11 PER last year, and just wrapped his car around a pole while allegedly driving drunk.
Against that background, the overrated-underrated/overpaid-underpaid debate around Lin seems moot. Lin proved he was a capable NBA point guard, and the Knicks need one of those. It's entirely possible that they'll end up scrounging the D-League in the hopes of another miracle.
For now, Knicks fans will mourn the loss of the myth: Lin's Gatorade tongue and those nights when he electrified the Garden. But by Thanksgiving, watching Felton brick yet another three-pointer, they may find themselves pining for something much simpler.