NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is slow to get involved with the internal dealings of teams — but don’t confuse that with not doing it at all. Of course, there is the Donald Sterling affair and helping push him out the door, but beyond that Silver reportedly helped guide Jerry Colangelo to Philadelphia (the end of “the process”).
Just don’t expect him to get involved with the Knicks’ current situation. While the league’s most popular team in its biggest market is 4-19 this season — and on its way to missing the playoffs for the seventh straight year and 13th out of 16 — Silver told WFAN Radio in New York last week that he will be hands off. Here is the exact quote, with transcription via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“I wouldn’t. It’s not my role,” Silver said Thursday on WFAN. “Of course, I work for 30 teams. And the 29 other teams want to beat that team. That’s not to say me getting involved (would be good) and that I’m in any better position to know what to do. We set the rules. And then we try to have a level playing field for the teams to compete.”
The NBA has stepped in with the Knicks before. Former Commissioner David Stern pushed Knicks owner James Dolan to show Isaiah Thomas the door in the wake of the damaging sexual harassment lawsuit and $11.6 million judgment against Dolan and his company.
The Knicks’ current troubles are not that, nor does it reach the level where Silver has used his influence in the past. Dolan, whatever you think of him as an owner, is not the liability and risk to the league that Donald Sterling was. And any involvement Silver may have had with Sixers ownership and Colangelo — something Silver and the league office has denied — came after pressure from other owners concerned about lost revenue as the Sixers bottomed out. Again, that’s not the Knicks. This is not a situation that rises to the level of needing an intervention.
However, you know the league office — and its broadcast partners — would love to see the Knicks relevant again. That would be good for business.