NEW YORK, N.Y. – The New York Knicks are in the midst of an interesting situation with regard to the team's point guard position and local sports fans and athletes are reacting to the flurry of off-season activity that includes the possible signings of free agents Jason Kidd and Jeremy Lin, whose sudden rise from reserve player to starter in New York last season created the "Linsanity" craze.
"I think both players would be good for the Knicks," said Austin Taps, who played football and basketball at Archbishop Stepinac High School, before graduating this spring and moving on to play football at the University of Pennsylvania. "Lin is young and Kidd is experienced."
After failing to acquire Phoenix Suns free agent Steve Nash, who joined the Lakers, the Knicks signed veteran point guard Jason Kidd to an offer sheet Thursday and will complete the official signing on July 11 when players are free to sign. Lin, who has prompted nationwide fan interest after playing at a high level, has reportedly signed an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets worth approximately $30 million, according to several media outlets. He is a restricted free agent, which means the Knicks now have the opportunity to match the Rockets’ offer and retain him to pair with Kidd, who led the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA championship two years ago.
"It's a lot of money for Lin, but the Knicks really have no choice," said Paul Robibero, an Ardsley resident and Knicks fan.
Kidd, 39, averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 assists per game last season for Dallas and has averaged 13.9 point and 9.0 assists per game for his career. Lin played in just 35 games last season and started just 25, but his popularity soared to almost unthinkable heights during that stretch. Then-Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni played Lin on Feb. 4 against the Nets essentially out of desperation and Lin responded with 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
“Linsanity” promptly swept the nation as Lin appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated for two weeks in a row and popped up on television.
Justin Nolan, who helped lead Tuckahoe High School to the 2011-2012 New York State Public Schools Class C championship and a 25-0 record in March, thinks the Knicks need more.
"No, I don't think it (Kidd and Lin) could work because the Knicks need a elite point guard to contend in the NBA Eastern Division," Nolan said.
Croton High School basketball player Grace Mulligan believes both Kidd and Lin can be useful players.
"The Knicks are definitely missing a piece to the team, so I think that Kidd will be a good addition," Mulligan said. "I think they will be able to play together because they are both passers and scorers, so they can fill in other roles that are needed for the Knicks to be productive. Now they are a team loaded with all stars, so I hope they can use their talent to be an unselfish successful team."