Could the Linsanity era really be over for the New York Knicks? That appears to be a distinct possibility after the Knicks made two roster moves Saturday night, acquiring veteran point guard Raymond Felton in a sign-and-trade with the Portland Trail Blazers and deciding not to match Landy Fields' offer sheet from the Toronto Raptors.
According to multiple reports, the Knicks sent Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric and a future draft pick to Portland for point Felton and veteran big man Kurt Thomas. Both players will be in their stints with the Knicks. As Steve Popper of The Bergen Record wrote in his report "nothing sounds quite so absolute in New York."
Knicks coach Mike Woodson had previously said Lin "absolutely" would be back and would be the team's starting point guard.
Lin, of course, became an international sensation with the Knicks last season when he seemingly came out of nowhere to have a brief run of stardom. The Knicks have insisted throughout the offseason that they would match any offer for Lin, but the backloaded three-year, $25.1 million offer from Houston that includes a $14.9 million third year -- and Felton's availability -- might have changed the equation.
Writes David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Felton reportedly signed a three-year, $10 million contract with New York, a hefty deal for someone that wasn’t going to play very much as a third point guard. The Knicks already signed Jason Kidd to a three-year, $9.5 million deal earlier this month, and also have Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni under contract. Bringing back Lin, the undrafted guard out of Harvard who electrified crowds in New York in a three-week stretch in early February that was quickly dubbed “Linsanity,” seemed a formality. But unless the Knicks are planning to play Kidd much more at shooting guard next season, it would appear they have at least one point guard too many around.
Felton averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 assists, both career highs, for the Knicks in 54 games during the 2010-11 season before being dealt for Carmelo Anthony. He averaged 11.4 points and 6.5 assists per game for Portland last season, shooting just 40.7 percent.
-- See Posting and Toasting for reaction to this development with the Knicks