What is your perception of the New York Knicks? Most would probably answer that it’s a bumbling franchise run by a penny-pinching billionaire who sometimes seems more interested in making a buck and playing in his blues band (JD & The Straight Shot) than winning NBA games.
Of course, that perception is largely correct because that’s more or less the description of how James Dolan runs his team. Dolan operates the Knicks with all the flair of some guy who owns a bunch of Subway franchises off an interstate. If he could put more air in the bags of chips, he would.
The NBA has this idea that the next step for the league is adding a competitive program in New York. That’s likely never to be the case with the Knicks as long as Dolan owns the team. Owning the franchise and Madison Square Garden is essentially the right to print legal tender, and the results on the floor have less impact on the income statement than they do elsewhere. Even more pressing on that front is Dolan’s inability to hire anyone knowledgeable to run his team.
The list of poor front office hires has been long for the Knicks: Glen Grunwald, Steve Mills, Isiah Thomas, Phil Jackson … it’s not pretty. The list of bad deals by the NYK front office have been, frankly, wild. An ancient Joakim Noah, a hobbled Amar’e Stoudemire that the Suns didn’t even want, Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Ray Felton … this is before we even get to the coaches New York has had or their wasted draft picks.
To go through those would take too long. It’s safe to say that it’s obvious the Knicks have been mismanaged for quite some time.
This is all to set up a quote from former Knick Carmelo Anthony that appeared this week on ESPN. Speaking about why New York has failed to draw free agents despite being the biggest market in America, Anthony offered this.
“I think just the business. Everything that was going on. The perception of New York Knicks … not basketball but the organization,” Anthony said Thursday when asked what kept the Knicks from landing a top free agent when he was there.
“I think it probably scared a lot of people away. Scared some people away. Not knowing the nuances and the ins and outs of kind of what was going on, who is in charge, who is not. So it was more than just basketball when it came to people making those decisions,” he said.
If you can’t read between the lines, Anthony appears to be saying that the culture around the Knicks is shoddy and that’s why nobody signs there.
Contextually, all of this comes into frame as we talk about Kevin Durant leaving the Golden State Warriors this offseason. It certainly does seem like Durant leaving Oakland is on the table, but the idea of him trading in rings for the culture in New York just seems insane. Then again, Durant unpredictable, so who knows what is on his mind? If I were him I certainly wouldn’t try to be the savior of the Knicks.
The truth is the only person who can save New York is the next guy to own the team.