New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan spoke about the past present and future of the organization and he provided us with a little bit of everything.
Owner James Dolan is widely loathed by the New York Knicks faithful. He is sure to create headlines anytime he gives comment on the state of the organization. Marc Berman of the New York Post spoke with Dolan on Wednesday.
While fans will be quick to pile on Dolan for some interesting comments in this report, there are good, bad, and ugly parts to this.
“I think we have a great player in Porzingis. We just have to build around him.”
It doesn’t matter how much you may hate Dolan, there is no way to spin that quote into a negative. Porzingis is the guy and the more people in the organization who say it, the better.
Regarding Porzingis’ timetable for his return, Dolan was a bit more ambiguous:
“I’ve been told everything from December to him being out for the season, so I don’t know what to expect on that,” Dolan said. “But we can’t just sit on our ass while he’s away. We need to develop a team and then integrate him into it when he comes back.”
So usually the words “don’t know what to expect” would be a red flag, but in this case, it’s not.Next year is already looking like a lost season and this shows that Dolan and the organization won’t needlessly rush KP back into the lineup.
This quote may turn out to be ugly, but only because of the faint hints at a tank-in-progress. I may be reading into this too much, but holding Porzingis out for an entire year would almost surely put the Knicks in the top five of the 2019 lottery—and that may be an organizational goal in this day and age of the NBA.
But for the moment, we have to take this quote at face-value. Bottomline: The Knicks are going to be cautious with their star player. Ostensibly, that’s a good thing.
Dolan also spoke about the recently fired head coach, Jeff Hornacek. These comments are a bad look for the organization, no doubt. Dolan told Berman:
“I think Hornacek had the same kind of issue that Phil did in that he didn’t grasp how different the players are now in the way they think and deal with management and the coaches. I think he was way behind on that. But I think Jeff is a good coach and he’ll do well when he’s hired by another team.”
To be fair, Dolan finds himself in a catch 22. On one hand, people want candid and honest answers to these types of questions. But conversely, it’s not a good look to talk about how Hornacek was “way behind” on player management and how he did not “fully grasp how different the players are now” right after you fired the man.
The candid responses are appreciated, but anything that can be construed as throwing shade at a former coach may not be the best idea when you’re in the midst of a search for the next man or woman who will be taking over that role.
With Dolan, things always have to turn ugly. In his most recent comments, things turned ugly when the conversation veered towards Phil Jackson. Dolan told Berman:
“Everybody who wants to talk about the Knicks wants to ask me about Phil Jackson,” Dolan said, smiling and shaking his head. “The entire market wanted to me to hire him and when I did, the entire market said it was a great move. The only thing was, everyone said that I shouldn’t interfere with him.
Three years later, everyone wanted to know when I was going to do something about Phil. The same people who told me not to interfere wanted me to interfere. But that’s OK. I just think that Phil underestimated the job.”
So it’s not quite clear just how much involvement Dolan will have with the newest regime. He may have left that purposefully left that uncertain, which may give Knicks fans everywhere pause. Despite the calls for him to get involved during Jackson’s tenure, his best course with Steve Mills and Scott Perry will be to back off and let them do their jobs.
And forgive me for diving into semantics, but isn’t the word “interfere” concerning in this context? Any competent owner would probably refer to their role in basketball operations as involvement, not interference. If he’s planning on “interfering” with Mills and Perry, this organization’s future could get ugly.