Report: Knicks owner James Dolan vetoed agreed-upon Carmelo Anthony buyout

AP Photo/Jeff Haynes

Phil Jackson reportedly refused to buy out Carmelo Anthony while running the Knicks. Jackson’s successor, Steve Mills, flatly said he wouldn’t buy out Anthony.

But somewhere along the way, Anthony apparently agreed to a buyout with someone in Knicks management.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

There was a buyout agreement in place that was vetoed by Knicks owner James Dolan.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the franchise decided it would not buy out Anthony, a sticking point that was one factor behind owner James Dolan’s parting ways with Jackson shortly after the draft.

This is obviously a situation where the owner must sign off. It wasn’t necessarily Jackson who overstepped his authority, but it sure sounds like it was.

I don’t know how much money Anthony would’ve given up to hit free agency, but the Knicks likely came out ahead by not buying him out. Playing hardball worked, and Anthony eventually expanded his list of approved destinations beyond the Rockets. That allowed New York to trade him to the Thunder for Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott. Considering how Kanter has played, it seems unlikely the Knicks could have better spent the money saved in an Anthony buyout.

This is why the commonly expressed sentiment that Dolan shouldn’t meddle with the Knicks is misguided. He has billions tied to the franchise. He should have a voice in its operations. His problem is empowering the wrong people to take the most active roles and intervening at the wrong times with bad ideas.

This looks like an exception, though.