|Jeremy Lin has signed an offer sheet with the Rockets. (Getty Images)|
As stunning as the turn of events that could end the Linsanity era in New York was for casual onlookers, imagine the feeling for those Knicks fans that were living it.
The people that made the signs, started the chants, bought the No. 17 jerseys and gathered in bars and restaraunts to scream and cheer. The people that had their love for New York basketball re-discovered in a swell of incredible enthusiasm around an unlikely NBA star that was cut just months ago.
But it could all be over. Just like that.
Which is why some aren't taking this Lin-to-Houston thing lying down.
Some enterprising Knicks fans have started an online petition on Change.org in hopes of persuading team management to match the Rockets' offer sheet for Lin.
Jeremy Lin is the best thing that has happened to New York Knicks basketball in the last 20 years. With Jeremy Lin as the team's leader, the team won. He averaged 18 points and 7 assists as a starter - All-Star level performance. He has the largest fan base of any player in the NBA, by an order of magnitude. He's got the personality and character that fans love. He's the one player the New York Knicks need to keep, not lose. Don't let Jeremy Lin go - match the Rockets' offer.
Currently, the petition has nearly 6,000 "signatures," and that number is steadily climbing. A goal has been set for 10,000. (What happens at the goal? Are the Knicks then forced to match because some online petition met its goal? I don't get it.)
Do online petitions ever work? No, they don't. But it's at least a gesture that demonstrates that fan love and buzz that still exists around Lin.
But then again, the fans aren't the ones that will be forced into paying a steep luxury tax bill in 2015 if the Knicks match on the Rockets' poison pill offer. In the final year of a three-year, $25 million deal, Lin's contract shoots up to $14.9 million. And with the Knicks having $65 million committed to four players already in that year, Lin's contract could be very destructive.
There's no denying the cultural impact Lin has had on New York and the Knicks organization. He's opened doors to thousands of new fans and made a connection that extends well off the court. Jeremy Lin is bigger than just basketball in New York right now. But the organization isn't thinking that way. They're thinking about business and wins and losses.
You can be sure owner James Dolan has heard all the cries from disgruntled Knicks fans about potentially letting Lin walk. He may have even seen this petition. The question is, does he care?
We'll find out in a couple days.