Charles Oakley

Charles Oakley Files Suit Against Dolan, MSG

2.24pm: The Knicks have issued a response to Oakley’s suit, calling it “frivolous” and a way to get attention, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.

1:39pm: Former Knicks star Charles Oakley filed a civil suit today relating to his removal from Madison Square Garden in February, according to Victoria Bekiempis and Stephen Rex Brown of The New York Daily News. The suit accuses Knicks owner James Dolan and MSG of defamation and discrimination, saying they falsely smeared him as a drunk in the wake of the incident.

“One person who could not abide by Mr. Oakley’s refusal to meekly submit to people in positions of power was Defendant James Dolan,” the suit alleges. It also claims Dolan wouldn’t shake hands or make eye contact with Oakley, refused to invite him to fan appreciation gatherings and made him pay for tickets to games. Oakley was a frequent critic of Knicks management and had a strained relationship with Dolan before the public incident.

Their feud reached a boiling point February 8 when Dolan ordered security guards to remove Oakley from Madison Square Garden. Oakley resisted and claimed in the suit that he was “treated like a common criminal.” The clash was caught on camera and turned into a huge public relations fiasco for the team.

Oakley was arrested and charged with assault, but that was dropped in an August plea agreement that requires him to stay out of trouble for six months and avoid Madison Square Garden for a year. Dolan issued a lifetime ban from MSG for Oakley that was later rescinded and accused him of having a drinking problem.

“Dolan and MSG have caused irreparable harm to his name and career and discriminated against him based on the false perception that he is an alcoholic, all in a transparent attempt to denigrate his standing among Knicks fans,” the suit reads. “However, as he did throughout his playing career, Mr. Oakley has refused to walk to the bench in shame. Instead, holding his head up high, Mr. Oakley files this complaint to set the record straight.”

The suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court cites defamation, assault, battery, false imprisonment and abuse of process claims. Oakley is also suing under the Americans With Disabilities Act, along with city and state human rights laws, claiming Dolan and MSG denied him entrance to the Garden “based on their perception that he suffers from alcoholism, a disability.”

Knicks Notes: Rubio, Anthony, Oakley

A majority of the past few months has fixated on the Knicks‘ interest Ricky Rubio and several people in the organization want the team to continue pursuing the point guard, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes. Rubio, who will turn 27 in October, was linked to New York up until the trade deadline this past regular season, when a Derrick Rose-for-Rubio swap nearly completed.

Rubio enjoyed arguably his best season ever, posting career-highs in PPG (11.1), APG (9.1), and field goal percentage (40.2 percent) through 75 games. However, Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau has indicated that the team views 2016 draft pick Kris Dunn as a mainstay at point guard. Begley reported last month that the Timberwolves view the aforementioned Rose as a target in free agency, which would displace Rubio and make a trade more likely.

The Knicks — who own the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft — are also currently in talks with the Trail Blazers about potentially acquiring another first-round pick. So whether it’s Rubio or the draft, the Knicks figure to be one of the most active teams in free agency and the trade market this offseason.

  • In a separate piece for ESPN, Begley examines how Carmelo Anthony‘s $8.1 MM trade kicker impacts his value this offseason. The kicker would have different ramifications if he’s dealt on or before certain dates. If Anthony is traded before June 30, the kicker can be spread out over the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons; if he’s traded before July 1,  it’s spread out over two seasons; if he’s traded after July 1, the entire kicker is factored into his 2017/18 salary. Begley’s thorough examination also includes information on how several potentially interested teams would need to free up salary to accommodate the 10-time All-Star.
  • Knicks legend Charles Oakley appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday and rejected a deal to drop charges stemming from a February 8 incident at Madison Square Garden. Once again from Begley, Oakley’s trial date was set for August 4; he was hit with five charges after a physical run-in with MSG security, including two misdemeanors of assault, two misdemeanors of harassment and one misdemeanor of trespassing. Oakley, who played in New York a decade, has historically had a bad relationship with team owner James Dolan, who Oakley accused of unfairly kicking him out of The Garden.

Knicks Notes: Draft, Lottery, Jackson, Oakley

With the NBA draft lottery a mere hours away, the Knicks organization will soon learn where it will draft next month. The Knicks stands a 5.3% chance of grabbing the first overall selection and, at worst, will pick 10th overall. The team has trained its focus on wings and guards, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.

The Knicks delegation made up of Phil Jackson, GM Steve Mills, assistant GM Allan Houston, and head coach Jeff Hornacek interviewed Markelle Fultz, De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, and Frank Jackson, at the combine, per Zagoria. Fox beamed about his desire to play for the Knicks in another piece Zagoria wrote for FanRagSports.com.

“I don’t know too much about the triangle,” Fox said. “Everyone says it’s hard to learn but if I go in there I’ll have to learn quickly. And Porzingis, he’s amazing, watching the NBA this year. I really paid attention to the NBA this year knowing I’m about to go into this business; I had to stop watching it as a casual fan and start thinking of it as a business aspect. He’s great and if I get to play with him, I feel like we can do something special.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Phil Jackson is furious about the coverage he and the team are getting by the New York media, but it is Jackson who must take accountability for his failures for the Knicks culture to improve, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. In particular, Jackson should question the effect of his treatment of star players on the team, argues Isola. Jackson claims that NBA commissioner Adam Silver agreed that media coverage has become problematic when the pair recently met, but Isola is skeptical.
  • Jackson has tempered his expectations for the lottery and the draft, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Jackson knows that there are no guarantees and is approaching the draft in a holistic manner: “We don’t expect a whole lot. Even our franchise, the New York Knicks, deigned to draft guys back in the ’90s, went with all veterans, gave up a lot of their picks. There’s that feeling too. As this talent pool is narrowed, it really is important to have both draftable players, tradeable players and free agents. We want to look at all these options before we get into it.”
  • Lonzo Ball and Fultz top the list of Knicks possible targets, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. That’s no surprise, as those are considered the top two prospects in the draft by nearly every expert.
  • Charles Oakley is still facing charges stemming from his infamous February expulsion from Madison Square Garden and says that James Dolan should have been fined or suspended, writes Ted Berg of USA Today Sports. Oakley made his comments on the For the Win podcast.

Knicks Notes: Chemistry, Rose, Oakley

Many factors contributed to the Knicks’ disappointing season, though team chemistry belongs near the top of the list, Ian Begley of ESPN.com notes. Earlier in the season, Rose went missing for a game and he addressed his teammates on the following night, apologizing for putting them in a bad spot. Begley hears from a source that after Rose concluded, no one said a word and the scribe believes it’s a testament to the team’s lack of cohesiveness.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Prior to Derrick Rose‘s latest injury, the Knicks were still considering him as an option had they missed out on bigger free agent targets, such as Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague, Begley writes in the same piece. Coach Jeff Hornacek recently said the team won’t close the door on a Rose return.
  • Rose would be happy to get another shot with the Knicks, but he’s excited to hit free agency for the first time in his career, Lonnae O’Neal of The Undefeated passes along. “I would love to stay here,” Rose said of New York. “I love my teammates, I love the coaches, I love the front office. But this will be the first time that I will hit free agency, so I want to take advantage of everything and just see what the free agency system is all about.”
  • Charles Oakley has been arraigned in court on charges stemming from his ejection from Madison Square Garden earlier this season, ESPN.com relays. Oakley has maintained his innocence and declared that he’ll fight the charges.
  • Carmelo Anthony is reportedly leaning toward waiving his no-trade clause this summer. Unless he and Phil Jackson can reconcile, New York will look to deal him.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Simmons, Fultz, Oakley

Aside from the mercurial debut by Joel Embiid, the most important thing to happen for the Sixers this season has been the development of young players, Derek Bodner writes on his websiteDario Saric, Robert Covington, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell have all seen significant playing time and should be important components of the team going forward. Bodner adds that coach Brett Brown is living up to the reputation that he had as a player development specialist when former GM Sam Hinkie hired him in 2013.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Brown is dismissing rumors that rookie Ben Simmons has grown two inches during the season, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. That story apparently started with a comment made by World B. Free on a Cavaliers broadcast last month. “I can feel comfortable saying no, he has not grown to 7 feet,” Brown said. “I wish he had.” The first pick in last year’s draft, Simmons missed the entire season after breaking a bone in his right foot during training camp.
  • University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz, a possible top pick in this year’s draft, is visiting Madison Square Garden today to watch the Knicks, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. New York, which occupies the sixth spot in our latest Reverse Standings, is hoping for some lottery luck to have a chance at Fultz.
  • Former Knicks star Charles Oakley will appear in court Tuesday for charges stemming from his February run-in with team owner James Dolan that resulted in his ejection from the arena. Oakley, who is charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal trespass, told Dan Gelston of The Associated Press that he has no regrets about the incident. “I would have done everything just the same way,” Oakley said. “I didn’t do nothing. I was only in the arena five minutes. I didn’t know you could get in that much trouble in five minutes. I’d take my chances and do the same thing again.”

Charles Oakley To Join BIG3 As A Player/Coach

Charles Oakley is the latest addition to the BIG3 basketball league, joining the “KILLER 3s” team as a player/coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The KILLER 3s will be comprised of Oakley, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, and two other players.

Ice Cube, the BIG3’s co-founder, and Oakley each expressed their satisfaction with the signing. “The players and coaches are our central focus at the BIG3,” Ice Cube said in a statement relayed by Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. “Charles Oakley is an NBA legend, who deserves and has earned respect, and will get just that in our league.”

“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this league,” Oakley added. “Everyone seems to realize we are about to make history together as players. What an exciting opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best ever.”

Oakley, 53, most recently played in the NBA with Houston in 2003/4, scoring nine points over seven games.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Raptors, Oakley, Lin

Sixers center Joel Embiid claims he’s “more surprised than everybody else” how well this season has gone after he was sidelined two seasons by foot injuries. During the interview with ESPN Radio, Embiid admits he entertained thoughts of retiring during those lost seasons. “I was such in a dark place, I wanted to quit basketball,” Embiid said.  “I just wanted to go back home and just leave everything behind.” Embiid pines for the Rookie of the Year award, saying it would be validation for the sacrifices he made to get back on the court. He’s hopeful of returning soon after the All-Star break after missing the last 11 games with what he describes as a left knee bone bruise, though he reportedly has a partial meniscus tear.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The  Raptors do not want to part with young assets now that they’ve made a big move by acquiring power forward Serge Ibaka, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Toronto would prefer to hold onto Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell and Fred VanVleet, Smith continues. They could still package Jared Sullinger‘s expiring contract, a 2017 first-rounder and one of their backup point guards to make another move, Smith adds.
  • Charles Oakley doubts his issues with Knicks owner James Dolan will ever be resolved, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach relays via a Sports Illustrated interview. Despite a meeting with commissioner Adam Silver and Dolan earlier this week, Oakley is still fuming over his forcible removal from Madison Square Garden and arrest on February 8th.  “My life is going to change a lot because it’s just like getting a DUI sometime or going to jail for murder,” he told SI. “It’s something on my record. If you Google my name, it’s going to come up. And that hurts.”
  • Nets point guard Jeremy Lin is expected to return to action immediately after the All-Star break, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Lin practiced on Tuesday without any setbacks, according to NetsDaily.com. Lin’s season has been wrecked by hamstring woes. Signed to a three-year, $36MM contract last summer to be the team’s No. 1 point guard, Lin has appeared in just 12 games.

Knicks Notes: Oakley, Roster, Carmelo

It’s been an eventful week for Charles Oakley, who was arrested at a Knicks game last Wednesday, and was subsequently banned from attending future games at Madison Square Garden. According to an ESPN report, the Knicks have since lifted Oakley’s ban, but the former All-Star is in no rush to attend another game as James Dolan‘s guest. Instead, he’d like an apology from the organization.

“It’s not about being at the Garden,” Oakley said. “It’s about the fans. … I love the fans in New York. They’ve been supportive. One of the things I told the commissioner, I want to have a press conference and I want him to apologize to me and the fans.”

Per ESPN’s report, along with Oakley’s comments to Dan Le Batard and Jeff Goodman, Dolan has apologized privately, and Oakley’s camp and the Knicks have discussed the possibility of having a “Charles Oakley Day” at MSG. However, that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon, since Oakley isn’t quite ready to forgive and forget, as he told Le Batard: “Some things hurt. Some things just don’t walk away. A dog who broke his leg isn’t just going to walk away.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • While the Knicks have been at the center of several trade rumors this season, head coach Jeff Hornacek is heading into the All-Star break expecting to start the second half without any real roster changes, per Mike Vorkunov of The New York Times. “I think this is going to be our team,” Hornacek said. “We have had good stretches, bad stretches; we are trying to build something here before we go into the break, so I anticipate we have the same team.”
  • Asked again today about his no-trade clause, Carmelo Anthony said he hasn’t thought about it lately, since management hasn’t talked to him about any potential deals (Twitter link via Ian Begley of ESPN.com).
  • The Knicks are stuck in the NBA’s version of no-man’s land, and aren’t working toward a clear destination, writes Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders. According to Beer, New York doesn’t necessarily have to make major changes this month, but will have to decide this summer whether to remain in win-now mode or to take a step backward and commit to a rebuild.
  • Earlier today, we passed along a Forbes report which indicated that the Knicks remain the NBA’s most valuable franchise. Forbes placed a valuation of $3.3 billion on the team.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Hernangomez, Noah, Oakley, Dolan

Bobby Marks of The Vertical covered the Knicks in his trade deadline preview series. The Knicks, Marks writes, are a big market team dealing with adversity (to put it lightly). Marks explains the ways in which the Knicks have limited assets on paper; both Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings are on expiring contracts, and Courtney Lee will gain trade value over the summer, due to a weak shooting guard free agent class. Joakim Noah‘s expensive, long-term deal won’t attract suitors, and the team’s younger assets- Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez– aren’t thought to be available.

Trading Carmelo Anthony will be a “serious challenge” for the Knicks front office, who need to decide whether Anthony’s value would grow over the offseason. Marks put together a hypothetical trade that would work financially for all parties, in which Anthony would be dealt to the Clippers in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, and Wesley Johnson. Of course, any deal involving Anthony would require the nine-time All-Star waiving his no-trade clause.

More from The Mecca…

  • Magic Johnson revealed on CBS This Morning that he’s had opportunities to “run the Knicks,” according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. Johnson specified that he’s had four offers to run or own teams, including the Knicks, before he joined the Lakers as a basketball and business adviser.
  • Knicks president Phil Jackson views Hernangomez and Porzingis as the team’s “starting frontcourt tandem of the future,” according to a report from Marc Berman of the New York Post. While coach Jeff Hornacek has still discussed starting Noah when he returns from injury, the team’s frontcourt plans could change if Hernangomez maintains his stellar performance.
  • Anthony has no qualms with being snubbed from the 2016/17 All-Star roster, citing the need to “just get away from everything.” “I could utilize this break,” Anthony said. “If they call me, I’d consider it, but I would love to utilize this break.” Anthony, who wouldn’t entertain trade talks with Fred Kerber of the New York Post, discussed the honor of passing Charles Barkley on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (23,775).
  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement today, calling the Charles Oakley/James Dolan situation “beyond disheartening.” According to Frank Isola of the Daily News, Silver and Michael Jordan conducted a conference call with Oakley and Dolan in an attempt to resolve their feud. “Both Mr. Oakley and Mr. Dolan were apologetic about the incident and subsequent comments, and their negative impact on the Knicks organization and the NBA,” Silver said. “I appreciate the efforts of Mr. Dolan, Mr. Oakley, and Mr. Jordan to work towards a resolution of this matter.”

Knicks Ban Charles Oakley, Won’t Opt Out Of Phil Jackson’s Contract

In the wake of the incident at Madison Square Garden earlier this week, the Knicks have banned Charles Oakley from attending games at the arena, team owner James Dolan said today. Michael Kay first reported word of the ban (Twitter link), with Dolan confirming it in an appearance on Kay’s show this afternoon.

According to Dolan, it won’t necessarily be a “lifetime ban” for Oakley (Twitter link via Marc Berman of The New York Post). However, while the Knicks owner is concerned about fan backlash, he says his priority is maintaining a safe environment, adding that Oakley was abusive and vulgar and came to the Garden on Wednesday with an agenda (Twitter links via Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News).

Since Wednesday’s incident, the Knicks have issued multiple statements explaining why Oakley was ejected from the stadium and arrested. The team also shot down Oakley’s account, in which the former NBA big man insisted that he wasn’t the instigator in the situation. The Knicks continued the PR assault on Oakley today, publicly releasing more than a dozen first-hand statements from MSG staff on the incident (Twitter links via Ryan Field of WABC).

At Hoops Rumors, we typically focus on stories that relate to trades, free agency, and other forms of roster moves and player movement. So what does this story have to do with that? Well, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets, the Knicks are becoming a “toxic” destination for free agents based on this incident and Phil Jackson‘s behavior toward Carmelo Anthony. According to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (Twitter link), the Knicks have “enraged” people around the league in the last 48 hours with their handling of the Oakley situation.

Dolan may have intended to explain his side of the story with today’s radio appearance, but he only made matters worse when he told Kay that Oakley has anger problems and that he “may have a problem with alcohol, we don’t know” (Twitter link via Bontemps). With Dolan making unfounded claims about a former Knicks star and Jackson repeatedly criticizing a current Knicks star, it’s hard to imagine many players around the NBA viewing the team as an appealing franchise to join.

The Knicks owner also said today that he won’t meddle in basketball decisions and that he doesn’t intend to exercise the club’s 2017 opt-out on Jackson’s contract (Twitter link via Bontemps). So barring a surprise, the duo doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

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