It is no surprise players in all sports love unfettered free agency.
Look at what has occurred during the last week alone in New York Knick territory. The Houston Rockets offered Jeremy Lin a mountainous contract, willing to overpay him $29 million over its course. In a parallel move that floated decidedly under the radar, the Toronto Raptors offered Landry Fields $19 million over three years - more than $6 million a year! To no one's surprise, the Knicks spent a good couple of minutes deciding not to match it.
If you watched Fields play last year, it makes sense to contemplate his future as a productive shooting guard. For one thing, he can't shoot - not a good sign for a shooting guard. Supplemental, and connected to, that red flag piece of news is he suddenly became a terrible foul shooter - also a significant hindrance.
But Fields was unfortunate in his limited Knick career. He thrived in Mike D'Antoni's ball movement offense, both with Raymond Felton and Jeremy Lin as point guards. There were times when Fields channeled old-time back-in-the-day basketball with his play, accomplishing a little bit of everything every night on the floor. He has the instincts of a great basketball player, understanding passing lanes on defense, seeming to know where long rebounds would land, seeking and finding open teammates on offense, participating in controlled fast break situations.
A player like Fields needs to play, though, in a certain kind of offense, in which ball movement and ball-sharing is valued. As soon as Carmelo Anthony arrived from Denver, Fields' style of play evaporated. He was no longer part of a system that encouraged teamwork. It was no coincidence when Anthony was injured and Jeremy Lin magically appeared, Fields became a reborn player. The transformation was complete. Again, he was cutting to the basket with abandon, fast breaking, passing with aplomb, energy personified.
Perhaps it's no shock the Stanford graduate Fields is gone, and the Harvard graduate Jeremy Lin is just about out the door. There's no room for teamwork on a squad with Carmelo Anthony.
Glenn Vallach has been a basketball fan, player, and coach during his lifetime and, as such, an ardent follower of the NBA even with all its warts. He have also been a New York Knick fan since the days of Howie Komives and Walt Bellamy, when he regularly boarded the IRT Subway at 180th Street in the Bronx for a trip to the Garden to see his heroes.
- Yahoo! Sports New York Knicks page
- Yahoo! Sports Jeremy Lin page
- Yahoo! Sports Landry Fields page
- Yahoo! Sports Raymond Felton page
- The Sports Xchange, Yahoo! Sports, Knicks decline to match Raptors' deal with Fields
- Sports & Recreation
- Landry Fields
- Jeremy Lin