The dream scenario this offseason for most Knicks fans goes something like this: They win the draft lottery and land the best prospect in years, Duke wunderkind Zion Williamson. Then top free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving decide to join forces in the media capital of the world, giving the Knicks a powerhouse trio and turning them into instant championship contenders.
As those fans know all too well, it’s dangerous to think that way. Their hopes have been consistently dashed over the past two decades, due to poor management decisions and wayward ownership.
The current front office has managed to do some positive things. The Knicks have shed a lot of bad contracts in recent years to the point where they have less than $22MM in guaranteed salary commitments next season. Whether they did the right thing by trading away injured young star Kristaps Porzingis remains to be seen, but there’s an undeniable problem for the franchise: the reputation of owner James Dolan.
Dolan is on the short list of most unpopular owners in professional sports and he recently made headlines for banning a fan who urged him within earshot to sell the team. Paranoia has filled the air around Madison Square Garden under Dolan’s stewardship, poisoning the franchise’s relationship with media, fans and former players.
Porzingis’ unhappiness stemmed in large part from his skepticism that the franchise could ever thrive again under Dolan. As Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today points out, Dolan fails to comprehend that the ultimate owners of a sports franchise are the team’s fans.
All that being said, there’s still a lure about playing in New York City. Coach David Fizdale has done his best to change the culture around the team and develop young players. And if the Knicks win the lottery, Williamson will create an added allure to the franchise.
That leads us to our question of the day: Will distaste for owner James Dolan prevent the Knicks from landing any top-level free agents this summer? Or will they go to New York regardless of how they feel about Dolan?
Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input