Raymond Felton believes he's a better point guard than Jeremy Lin.
The Knicks' new starter complimented his predecessor's ability in an interview on the MSG Network during a Knicks' summer-league broadcast Thursday, saying that Lin's 25-game stretch last season was one of the best things he's seen in basketball. But Felton also made it clear he thinks his game is superior to Lin's.
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"I wish him the best of luck," Felton said. "I'm not here to get into, 'He's getting way too much money.' I hear a lot of people are saying this and saying that. I feel like if you can go get the money, go get it. So I'm not going to be the one who says that.
"But at the same time, I'm a competitor. I'm a point guard just like he is. So do I think I'm better? Of course I'm going to say that. I think I'm better than any point guard. There's nothing personal between me and Jeremy. I know everybody is going to try to make it that way, and if it ends up being that way, then so be it. I'll be ready for the challenge."
Felton said the Knicks never told him they weren't going to match Lin's three-year, $25.1-million offer sheet from the Rockets before he agreed to a sign-and-trade here. But even if they did bring Lin back into the mix, Felton was ready to join the Knicks.
"Honestly, if we would have spoke about that part of it, saying that they were going to match Jeremy Lin, then obviously, it would have been something I would have thought about more," he said. "But at the same time, I think I still would have come here because this is where I wanted to be, this is where I wanted to play. On top of that, I have confidence in my game. So I'll leave that at that."
Lin, speaking at his introductory news conference in Houston Thursday, reiterated he never thought his free-agency path would lead him away from the Garden. But now the next time he plays there, he'll be wearing a No. 7 Rockets' uniform and suiting up for the very team that waived him Christmas Eve, paving the way for the Knicks to claim him.
"Coming into free agency, I didn't expect to be anywhere besides New York," Lin said. "But after I came and visited . . . I wouldn't have signed an offer sheet with Houston if I wasn't excited about the possibility of playing here as well. I'm so thankful to New York and the Knicks for this past year and the way the fans rooted for us. I'm thankful for what they did for me. Now, I'm excited and focused on what I can do to help this organization move forward."
Rockets owner Les Alexander said it was a huge mistake to let Lin go. "It's always difficult when you've obviously made an error," he said, "and we made an error by letting him go. I think we've rectified it now."
Lin didn't seem bothered by the recent comments of Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith. Anthony called Houston's offer to Lin "ridiculous" and Smith said there could be some resentment in the locker room if Lin did return to the Knicks on his hefty deal.
"I love Carmelo and J.R.," Lin said. "I've never had any issues with them . . . They were very supportive and they were great teammates last year."
But they're former teammates now and Lin's "replacement" is eager to quiet the critics who've taken shots at him for reporting overweight last season when he played for Portland.
"That's all everyone wants to talk about," Felton said. "I look forward to this year shutting everybody's mouth up."
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