James Dolan says that he would consider a “bona fide offer” for the Knicks, but there is much more to it than that.
James Dolan is a key figure in the New York sports landscape. The owner of the Knicks and Rangers sat down with Ian O’Connor of ESPN and discussed everything New Yorkers wanted to know. But the headline that is gaining traction is that Dolan is open to selling the team.
This is true, but it’s important to contextualize the quote itself. O’Connor asked Dolan about whether or not he was more willing to sell than his family members:
“I love the Knicks and Rangers, right, but you still have a responsibility to your shareholders. They’re not there because they’re fans. You don’t invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a stock because you’re a fan. You do it because you think that the business is going to increase in value, that the stock price is going to go up. You have a responsibility as the guy who runs the place to deliver on that for them, that’s being open and transparent. And so in that position, I could never say that I wouldn’t consider selling the Knicks. Now, my family is not in that position, and they are the majority shareholders. They hold the majority of the vote. … As a majority owner, I don’t want to sell, either. As the head of the public company, you can’t say you can’t sell, because then you’re telling your shareholders that your own personal feelings about your assets are more important than their money. And they won’t invest with you if you do that.”
That certainly doesn’t sound like someone who is jumping at the chance to sell his team. It sounds like an owner who approaches the team as a business and that’s perfectly fine.
We all know that sports are a business and it’s perfectly understandable to approach it from that perspective. Dolan is open to the idea of selling the team for a “bona fide offer” and he confirmed to O’Connor that the feelers around buying the Knicks are at $5 billion.
“No one has come through with a bona fide offer. You hear numbers all the time. … I think people have sent feelers out, but never any that were pursued. Yeah, [the feelers are] around that number [$5 billion], but those things, it’s like a stock price. It’s only important if you’re going to buy or sell.”
Again, it doesn’t sound like there is much intent to sell the team. Either way, fans took to social media to make jokes about starting a gofundme or asking Jeff Bezos to step in and buy the team. But Dolan reiterated that there are no plans to sell through a team spokesperson (via Chris Iseman of NJ.com):
“As we have previously stated, there are no plans to sell the Knicks.”
So Knicks fans may be worked up about the idea that a sale is possible, but it’s important to understand that a sale is highly improbable.
This was the part of O’Connor’s story that is gaining the most traction, but there are a lot of interesting parts to Dolan’s story. The dynamics of the Dolan family are explored, along with the fallout from Charles Oakley’s ejection from a game in February of 2017, the team’s front office, and much more.
The story is definitely worth your time and not just because of the headline-making comments about the possibility of selling.