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The Sixth Man: Lintrapment? New Knicks 'scandal' makes little sense

Linsanity didn't exactly have the shelf life of a Twinkie.

In fact, the feel good story of the New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin was deep into its 15 minutes of fame long before the point guard's possible season-ending knee surgery over the weekend.

In Madison Square Garden, however, Lin was still the main event on the marquee, far more popular than bigger ticket items like Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

That's where the conspiracy begins with Frank Isola of the New York Daily News pointing out that the Knicks did not announce Lin's likely season-ending knee injury until after the deadline to buy playoff tickets had come and gone.

The reporter's belief was that the Knicks had to eventually reveal the Harvard product's troubling MRI results but not until it bilked millions of dollars from their loyal fans -- fans who wanted to see Lin against LeBron James or Derrick Rose.

Isola further added two and two and came up with five, noting that an email that was sent to season ticket holders two days after the medical staff knew of Lin's injury included a picture of the point guard leaping in celebration, something he certainly will not be doing against the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls with a torn meniscus.

And therein lies the brilliance of conspiracy theories -- if you are looking for one, they're usually pretty easy to find.

Unfortunately, the minute you pull one little string, it usually unravels.

Sadly, Knicks owner James Dolan gave credence to this whole thing by accusing Daily News kingpin Mortimer Zuckerman of bias against the Knicks and parent companies Cablevision and Madison Square Garden, both of which released rambling statements attacking the Daily News.

"(The) Daily News story is completely inaccurate, and serves only as another example of fabricated reporting by Mr. Zuckerman's newspaper," the MSG statement began. "The suggestion that the timing of Jeremy Lin's injury report is in any way connected to a longstanding Knicks playoff ticket deadline is a malicious attack on The Madison Square Garden Company."

Cablevision's tact was even crazier, accusing Zuckerman of taking aim at the Knicks in an effort to provoke Cablevision's newspaper, Newsday, into a joint ownership agreement.

"(The) story in the New York Daily News is just another in a long list of articles and cover stories designed to provoke Cablevision and The Madison Square Garden Company," the statement read. "Mr. Zuckerman has engaged in a campaign of intimidation and extortion to effect a merger between Newsday and the Daily News. He has made repeated overtures to Mr. Dolan and his executives to combine the operations with joint ownership and shared printing and editorial expense."

Not the most prudent move.

After all, when your antagonist is acting like a fool, it's best to stand aside and let him go.

In this case, it's pretty easy to see that the Knicks have never had any trouble selling tickets and have played to 100 percent capacity at The Garden this season.

They were selling out long before anyone in Gotham knew who Lin was and they will be "going clean" on a daily basis in 2012-13 even if Lin moves on in free agency.

More so, the next time a coaching or medical staff huddles with the team's ticket office will be the first. The last thing on coach Mike Woodson's mind when finding out about Lin's injury was playoff tickets -- he's worried about making the postseason and holding off Milwaukee.

Sure, the higher-ups have to worry about that side of the business, but you could add 'Melo and Tyson Chandler to an injury list that already includes Lin and Amar'e, and New York fans will still line up to see LeBron and D-Rose.

Isola's conspiracy theory hinges on the bizarre belief that Knicks fans were only going to buy playoff tickets if Lin was playing and that's just absurd.

There is one theory, however, that does apply here and it's Occam's razor - the simplest explanation is usually the right one.

Zuckerman would like his paper and Newsday to merge, but it has nothing to do with New York's basketball team. Meanwhile, the Knicks may have been holding back information on Lin's injury, but it was likely in an effort to gain a competitive advantage over its opponents, if only for a few more days. Finally, a beat reporter who wasn't being fed the same information as others in good stead with MSG lashed out with wild speculation.

Not exactly fodder for Oliver Stone's next screenplay, but a real conspiracy theorist never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

And "Lintrapment" sure sounds like one heck of a working title.

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