James Dolan

James Dolan the Rational Man?

According to Berman of the NY Post:

Knicks owner James Dolan is frustrated the lockout rages on and the club’s season opener tomorrow against the Heat at the Garden has been wiped out. But Dolan, part of the owners’ negotiating committee, is content about one of the agreed-upon aspects of a new collective bargaining agreement: the size of the salary cap will not go down.

More than any team in the NBA, that will benefit Dolan’s big-market Knicks the most, ironically.

According to multiple sources, one of the resolved issues in a new CBA is the 2011 salary cap will remain at the level as it was in 2010 — $58 million.

Ironically, Dolan has been seated across from Paul, who is the Knicks’ top priority, during many of the labor bargaining sessions because Paul is on the union’s negotiation committee.

According to a players source, Dolan has been the least combative of the owners and often serves as a mediator during contentious moments.

“He’s tried to keep the parties on point,’’ the source said. “He’s trying to make a deal, seeing a positive spin. He’s been, in a word, productive.’’

This does not surprise me in the least because Dolan is a strong business man. His basketball IQ and decision making are what I have always criticized but the man does know how to do business. This NBA labor dispute is a business, not a basketball, dispute. This is why a deal has yet to get done because emotions have interfered with rational decision making. Dolan is a smart business man and he clearly understands the economics of his team as it pertains to this lockout. He understands that his Knicks are one of the premier products the NBA has to offer. Dolan’s team is coming off its first playoff appearance since 2001, he has acquired two of the league’s superstars onto his roster, his team plays in the biggest market in the country and he has a new arena to unveil. No team has more to lose from a missed season than the New York Knicks. Dolan realizes this. He also realizes that by working to keep the cap at 58 million he will have enough money to sign one more max contract. Dolan is a business man. What will bring in more revenue than having 2 superstars on his team. Having 3. While I still question Dolan’s overall intelligence in terms of rational decision making (not trusting Donnie Walsh, trusting Isiah) and in terms of his basketball IQ (do you really need an example?), it has never been in question that Dolan is a strong business man. Therefore this article by Berman does not surprise me although I do wish some of Dolan’s business smarts would carry over into his basketball IQ.

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James Dolan Sings “Fix the Knicks”… Really?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YfvfpkiXH8&feature=player_embedded]

The life of Knicks owner James Dolan is never dull. His band, JD and the Straight Shot, opened for Aretha Franklin at the Jones Beach Theater last week and premiered  a new Knicks themed song. The band performed “Fix the Knicks” complete with a tap dancing portion and a “my friend Isiah Thomas” reference. In the video, the fans at the concert all sigh when he lets out the Isiah line. Once again Dolan makes a complete ass of himself with this song providing just how moronic he really is.

Here are the lyrics to the song, feel free to cringe Knick fans:

Everywhere I go, I hear everybody say

‘What you gonna do to make that team play’
From the folks across the street at 34th and 6th
Everyone who calls says, ‘Hey man, fix the Knicks’

(Chorus)
Fix the Knicks and make them shine
Get on and win like it’s ’69
Hitting all their free throws and no more shooting bricks
Time to get it right and fix the Knicks

Doing my best and that’s my problem
I check with my friend called Isiah Thomas
Pay no mind to those nasty critics
They haven’t done a thing to fix the Knicks

(Chrous)

We know we’re getting better, but still no respect
We score a lot of points, but where’s the defense?
Everyone’s an expert saying ‘Trade your draft picks’
You got to get ‘this guy’ to fix the Knicks

(Chorus, two times)”

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Thank You Donnie Walsh

     As Donnie Walsh departs at the end of the business day Thursday, he deserves praise and thanks from anybody who calls themselves a Knick fan. Despite his clash with Dolan, Walsh successfully turned the biggest laughing stock in the league to a team on the rise anchored by two superstars. He transformed Madison Square Garden from a place riddled with losing, debt and sexual harassment charges to a positive environment that is filled with hope for the first time since the Ewing era. Today is a day that we should look at the great things Walsh has done for our favorite team. Lets put into perspective what Walsh’s accomplishments were.

2008-2009 Season
     Walsh takes over a team, fresh off the Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment suit, with a 130+ million dollar payroll. Walsh fires Isiah Thomas and signs Mike D’Antoni to a 4 year 24 million dollar deal. With the 6th pick in the draft, Walsh selects Danilo Gallinari from Italy who blossoms into a quality player and a fan favorite. On November 21, 2008, Walsh orchestrates the two trades that serve as a launching pad for the entire rebuilding process. In one trade, Walsh trades Jamal Crawford to Golden State for Al Harrington. In the other trade, Walsh flips Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins to the Clippers for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley. Both moves are created to clear the salary cap for the 2010 off season in which LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer are free agents. On Feb 24, 2009 the Knicks and cancerous point guard Stephon Marbury agree on a buyout thus removing him from the organization. The Knicks win 9 more games than in 2007 and finish 32-50.

2009-2010 Season
     On June 25, 2009, Walsh trades Quentin Richardson to Memphis for cash considerations and center Darko Milicic. In the 2009 draft, Walsh selects Arizona forward Jordan Hill with the 8th selection and trades a second rounder and cash to the Lakers for the rights to Florida State shooting guard Toney Douglas. On Feb 18, Walsh makes 2 more great trades. He flips Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries (and his horrific contract), a 2012 first round pick and the right to flip picks in 2011 to Houston for Tracy McGrady and his expiring contract. Then he trades Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry to Boston for expiring contracts Eddie House and JR Giddens as well as Bill Walker and a second round pick. These trades create a plethora of expiring contracts on the roster with Eddy Curry being the only Thomas holdover that was impossible to deal. The Knicks finish the season with a 29-53 record but go into the off season with millions to spend and increased optimism.

2010-2011 Season
     In the 2010 draft, the Knicks select Syracuse guard Andy Rautins and Stanford guard Landry Fields in the 2nd round. They also trade cash considerations to Milwaukee for their second round selection, Tulsa center Jerome Jordan. July 8, 2010 provides the first building block in Walsh’s vision as he is able to sign Amare Stoudemire to a 5 year, 102 million dollar contract. The next day, David Lee is signed and traded to Golden State for Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph, Kelena Azubuike and a 2010 second round pick. Free agents Timofey Mozgov, Shawne Williams, Raymond Felton and Roger Mason Jr are signed before the end of the off season. In a surprise, Shawne Williams makes the squad over Patrick Ewing Jr. On Feb 5, 2011 Mark Warkentien is brought on by Walsh as director of pro player personnel. February 22 provides Walsh’s club a second superstar. The Knicks trade Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a future first round pick, 2 second round picks, cash and the right to swap 2016 first round picks to the Denver Nuggets for superstar Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter and Shelden Williams. Minnesota is also involved in the deal as the Knicks send Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and cash to Minnesota for Corey Brewer. Walsh had been hesitant to give up the kitchen sink for Melo and co. but it’s widely believed that the Dolan/Thomas marriage sabotaged Walsh’s plan and jumped in to complete the contract. Nevertheless, the Knicks acquire their second superstar. On March 1st, the Knicks wave Corey Brewer, sign Jared Jeffries and claim Derrick Brown off waivers. The Knicks finish 42-40 and make the eastern conference playoffs as the 6 seed.

2011 Offseason
     Walsh is widely reported to be returning but on June 3rd, the Knicks announce that they will be parting ways with Walsh. Donnie, being the class act he is, says all the right things in the media and that it was a “mutual” agreement. While it may have been “mutual”, it was because of Dolan’s ignorance and tyrannical ways. He did not want to give Walsh the full autonomy that he deserved and wanted to run the team as he saw fit. Walsh runs the 2011 draft as the Knicks select Georgia Tech  point guard Iman Shumpert in the first round and purchase the rights to Kentucky center Josh Harrellson in the second round. On June 31, Walsh’s contract expires and he steps down from his general manager position. He will remain as a consultant.

Perspective
     Donnie Walsh did wonders for this team. He took Isiah’s crazy house of an organization and transformed it into a winning team with tons of hope for the future. He cleared the payroll and filled it with superstars. Who knows what kind of deal we could have gotten for Carmelo if Dolan hadn’t stepped in. We may have been able to keep one or two more players. Walsh’s firing, although said to be “mutual” but it was a firing, shows just how incompetent James Dolan is as an owner. The man has no clue what he is doing and did Walsh an egregious injustice by not allowing him to finish what he started. As appalling as this whole ending has been, Walsh continues to handle the set of circumstances he has been given with class. He was the savior that this team needed. Even with an egotistic owner interfering with his  job, Walsh was able to make the Knicks winners again. For that alone, we must be thankful. Donnie Walsh deserves much better then how James Dolan has treated him but as fans we must give him our thanks. He’s made our team exciting, he’s given us hope and he’s made us winners. Thank you Donnie Walsh. Knick fans everywhere know what you did for our club and we appreciate it.

Lets follow @AnthonyMSG and get #ThanksDonnie trending on twitter.

Image via Bleacher Report

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What’s Next For the Knicks?

Well what’s next for the Knicks now that Walsh is gone? Well first of all, finding a new GM is imperative. There are 2 people that I have heard that are possible replacements. I’m gonna go against myself and name the Knicks Voldemort: Isiah Thomas. Isiah could rear his big ugly head right back into the general managing job. That would re-create the giant black cloud that smothered the franchise for the 5 years he was in New York. The other name I’ve heard is Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Collangelo. Colangelo worked well with D’Antoni in Phoenix and it’s been thought that they’d work well again together in New York. Walsh is staying on as a “consultant” for the team but who knows how much power he will hold in decision making.

Image Via NBA.com

That brings me to the next thing. What does this mean for Mike D’Antoni? If I was D’Antoni, I’d be scared for my job. Contractually this is his final season with the Knicks but there are questions about whether he’ll even be given a chance to finish his contract out in New York. With the media constantly chirping in our brilliant owners ear, there’s a good chance that Dolan isn’t going to keep D’Antoni as well. Walsh was D’Antoni’s biggest proponent in the organization and now that he’s out of power D’Antoni’s job status is again in question. Similar to the GM situation, there are 2 names I hear to potentially replace D’Antoni: The recently “retired” Phil Jackson, and Kentucky Wildcat coach John Callipari. Callipari is part of this CAA agency, the same agency that represents Carmelo Anthony and has ties to Dolan, that seems to have a lot of pull with the Knick organization.

The most pressing issue for the Knicks right now is the NBA draft. We need to know who’s making the decisions and what coach we are drafting for. Whether it’s Jackson or D’Antoni or Callipari, the decision needs to be made soon because we need a home run with this pick. It’ll be interesting to see what happens but the future of this team is very much up in the air. Knick fans everywhere should be very worried in that Dolan is once again alone in the drivers seat and the car seems to be headed towards a cliff.
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Donnie Walsh Out In New York…..

….. Brace yourself Knick fans. This is the darkest day we’ve seen since he who must not be named was hired as president of basketball operations in 2003. The Knicks and Donnie Walsh have decided to part ways. By failing to relinquish his power, despite his complete lack of basketball knowledge, James Dolan has once again messed up the New York Knicks. Both parties claim that it was a mutual divorce, but it’s widely believed by me and by many Knick fans that Dolan’s unwillingness to let Walsh do his job is what caused this. Why Dolan has any say in the basketball operations of the team is beyond me. He’s got no basketball background, 95% of the moves that he’s instigated have been detrimental to the team. It’s his best friend, he who must not be named, that drove this franchise into the ground. The one thing Dolan has done correctly, bringing in Walsh, has just been unraveled by his pure stupidity and lust for control.

Walsh has been a savior for the flailing franchise. He took us out of cap hell and brought us into a state of optimism and excitement. He took a team loaded with overpaid duds, Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, Steph Marbury, and he transformed it into a younger roster anchored by 2 superstars. For the first time in years there is excitement around the team. He was deserving of whatever contract he requested under whatever terms he requested. His track record (creating those great Indiana teams in the 90′s) showed that he was the perfect man to build this team. Frank Isola reports that Dolan wanted Walsh to take a 40% pay cut to remain with the team. That’s bullshit. There’s no other way to say it. Donnie Walsh deserved to stay here under his terms and conditions. It makes me and all Knick fans angry that the future of our team is now in question because our moronic owner is a power monger. The organization has climbed out of a dark pit and I believe Dolan just shoved us back into it. Image via Getty Images
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Report: Donnie Walsh to be Re-signed This Week

According to Peter Vescey of the New York Post, Donnie Walsh’s deal should be completed sometime this week:

“Because the give and take was not completed until last week, I’m informed. Late changes were made by Walsh and approved by Dolan. Once Camp Cablevision’s required “six signatures” (I don’t think my source was being facetious) are on the dotted line, apparently sometime this week, the deal will be done, if not publicized.

Clearly, the new arrangement will give Walsh the control to finish the Knicks’ renovation the way he sees fit. If there was any uncertainty about that it would have demonstrated Dolan did not want him back. That would have shoved Walsh into retirement”

It’s about damn time. Walsh has done a masterful job of cleaning up Isiah Thomas’ mess and transforming it to a team on the rise with a 2 headed tandem of superstars that has the fan base excited for the first time in years. The next order of business is whether coach Mike D’Antoni will return next season. Next year will be the final year of D’Antoni’s 4 year 24 million dollar deal. Walsh loves D’Antoni so it’s assumed that he will return but you never know with Jim Dolan as the owner. While Walsh should have and is supposed to have full control, that may not always be the case. As shown the Carmelo Anthony trade, Dolan will not hesitate to overrule Walsh and jump into any basketball discussions. This does and should worry Knick fans because there’s no doubt, Dolan’s a moron. This is proven by his continual honeymoon with Isiah Thomas despite the fact that he hasn’t coached since the 2007 season.

Overall I believe Walsh’s return will ensure the return of D’Antoni barring any interference by ding dong dolan. Walsh is a master personnel man and Knick fans should be very encouraged that he will be back for the next couple seasons (details of the contract have not yet been released).

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State of the Knicks 5/30/11

Overview: The 42-40 New York Knicks had high hopes for the playoffs after qualifying for the first time since 2003. The Knicks battled key injuries as Amare Stoudemire was injured badly for games 2,3 and 4, while Chauncey Billups was injured late in game 1 and missed the entire rest of the series. The Knicks were swept by Boston 4-0. They go into this offseason of CBA uncertainty with optimism not seen by this franchise in many years. While Billups’ 14.2 million dollar option has been picked up, there is still plenty of work to be done in terms of working the roster. Of course resigning Donnie Walsh should be priority number 1, although that is said to be done sometime this week. Overall the team is headed in the right direction but needs some work with its bench as well as adding a big man or two. The Knicks select number 17 in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft

Guards: The point guard situation is filled with uncertainty. Billups’ knee is not all the issues we have. While it’s critical that his knee reaches 100% before the season (if we have a season) starts, the backup point guard position is just as critical. While Toney Douglas played that role well last season, his size suits him better as a backup shooting guard. The backup point guard position is a position that many expect to be filled with the 17th pick in the draft. Anthony Carter’s contract is up and it’ll be interesting to see if he is re-signed. The coaching staff loves his professionalism and leadership and I was impressed with his play down the stretch, especially in game 4 of the playoffs as he sparked a Knicks comeback that ultimately fell short. As far as the shooting guard situation, the bench spots will be determined by what happens in the draft. Landry Fields should be the starter next season, and it is imperative to the teams success that he finds his pre-carmelo trade form. If he cannot, then suddenly the Knicks have a gaping hole at the shooting guard position. While Bill Walker and Andy Rautins will both be under contract next season, I’m not high on either player. Everyone seems to think Walker is okay but I think he’s an oaf, in the playoffs he had like 6 offensive fouls. I’m not a fan. Rautins is a wildcard because we haven’t seen what he can do yet. He was a great shooter in college but we know that doesn’t always translate to the NBA. Roger Mason played well in the 2nd half of the year when he got minutes due to injuries to Walker. Mason also played decently in the playoffs when his name was called but he’s undersized and in D’Antoni’s doghouse. Roger Mason is the only shooting guard who’s contact is expired and he is expected to be let go next season.

Forwards: Armelo, Camare, Batman and Robin. Whatever you wanna call them, they are the keys to the 2011 Knicks season. How they mesh is absolutely key to the offense and how they evolve into 2 way players is key to our defense. Offensively, it has to be about ball movement. While Amare and Carmelo are both great isolation players, the key to their cohesion is going to be ball movement. Granted they are dominant scorers but they aren’t the only scorers on this team. Landry Fields, Chauncey Billups, Shawne Williams and Toney Douglas are all lethal 3 point shooters. In order for this team to make the jump to 50-60 wins next season, the offense needs to feature more than 2 players. Don’t get me wrong, they both need their touches on offense but the throw it to Melo, stand around and watch offense needs to be abolished next season. Same goes for Amare, although he was good at feeding Carmelo on cuts and screens when the plays presented themselves. It shouldn’t be a competition for points, rather a mesh of efficient offense that results in high percentage shots being buried by two of the top 10 scorers in our league today. Defensively, the Knicks are a work in progress. The Heat have shown us that defense wins in the playoffs. As much as I hate Miami, I give their guys credit, namely James, Wade and Bosh, for transforming themselves to a dominant defensive team as well as a quality offensive team run by the big 3 (or 2 depending on how you look at it). This transformation needs to be executed by Melo and STAT as well. If the Knicks can at least get stops when needed, the sky will be the limit for this team that is just loaded with scoring. In terms of the backups, Derrick Brown, Shawne Williams and Jared Jeffries are all free agents this summer. Renaldo Balkman, acquired in the Denver deal, is the only backup forward that remains under contract. I believe that all 3 are decent players but depending on who we get on the market, all 3 are extremely expendable. I love Jeffries but his lack of offense is just sickening to watch. If he’d come back, it would have to be on a veteran’s minimum and he’d have a very minimal role (I would hope). Derrick Brown is very interesting to me. As shown in the Toronto game at MSG, he’s incredibly athletic. He’s a guy we should try to keep for cheap and develop. His athleticism gives me reason to believe he can be a serviceable backup wing player much like Shannon Brown from the Lakers. The player I believe we are most likely to resign is Shawne Williams. While he, like Fields, crapped out a bit at the end of the year, he proved to be a versatile player (having guarded Dwight Howard at one point) and a potent 3 point shooter. I think he has the toughness that we need on this team. We need some Mason’s and Oakley’s that will enforce and I think Williams can be that sort of player.

Centers: Ronny Turiaf was the playoff starter and he’s likely coming back on his 4 million dollar player option. I like Turiaf but not at 4 mil a season. He’s a high energy game but any more than 18 minutes a game and he wears down. I’d like him on a vet minimum and coming off the bench, he’d be a nice piece. Jeffries and Shelden Williams were the other two players who saw minutes at center. While Shelden Williams played well in the season, he saw no minutes in the playoffs leading me to believe he will not be back. The big story for the Knicks at center is Jerome Jordan, the 7 footer we purchased from Milwaukee last summer. He played this past year in Serbia and played well averaging 9 points and 4 boards a game. He should be a strong piece coming off the bench, or maybe starting a la Timofey Mozgov last season. This, along with Point guard is a position that may be addressed with the 17th pick in the draft.

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