James Dolan

New York Notes: Dolan, Durant, Russell, Nets

With Kristaps Porzingis sidelined due to his ACL tear, the Knicks have lacked star power this season, something owner James Dolan observed this week, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News details. Drawing a line between the Knicks and the other team he owns – the NHL’s New York Rangers – Dolan suggested that his NBA club would “probably be competing for a playoff spot” if it featured a star player like Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Instead, the 10-30 Knicks are just two games away from having the NBA’s worst record. Although New York has been focusing on developing its young players at the expense of some veterans’ playing time, Dolan dismissed the idea that he’s in favor of tanking, per Bondy.

“You have responsibility to the fans,” Dolan said. “Fans pay for tickets and they deserve (the) best game you can give them. That’s probably No. 1. But when you go in and tell a team, even if you’re just telling the coach, to lose the game, you’re dispiriting your team. That hurts more than getting a better draft pick helps. It’s hard to reignite the spirit of the team.”

While Dolan publicly disavowed the idea of tanking, he did acknowledge that he hears from plenty of Knicks fans who want the team to lose in order to have a chance to draft “this kid out of Duke.” NBA executives generally aren’t permitted to publicly comment on college underclassmen, but the league isn’t expected to take action against Dolan for his oblique reference to top prospect Zion Williamson, tweets Bondy.

Let’s round up a few more items on the NBA’s two New York clubs…

  • Kevin Durant didn’t offer up any juicy comments today when he was grilled by New York reporters about the idea of joining the Knicks in free agency later this year, but he also didn’t seem to mind the back-and-forth, Bondy writes in a separate Daily News story. “I wish it was the other way where it was totally about the game, but I get it,” Durant said. “Our league has grown so much in popularity. The sexy thing is what happens in the summer moreso than what happens in the season – playoffs and free agency is the big thing now. I get it.”
  • After starting his 41st game of the season on Monday, Nets guard D’Angelo Russell has officially met the “starter criteria” for restricted free agents, as Bobby Marks of ESPN.com observes (via Twitter). That means that Russell’s projected qualifying offer ($9.16MM) and cap hold ($21.06MM) for this summer will remain unchanged — both would have been reduced if he hadn’t started at least 41 games or played 2,000 minutes this season.
  • Hamstrung for years by their infamous trade with the Celtics, the Nets aren’t in the same class as the C’s, who comfortably beat them on Monday, but Brooklyn’s future looks much brighter than it once did, says Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com.

James Dolan Won’t Rule Out Possibility Of Selling Knicks

While there are no indications that Knicks owner James Dolan plans to sell the franchise anytime soon, he didn’t entirely rule out the possibility during a recent discussion with Ian O’Connor of ESPN.com. Noting that his family has no interest in selling the Knicks, Dolan told O’Connor that he has a responsibility to his shareholders to keep that option open in case the right offer comes along.

“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,” Dolan said. “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,” Dolan continued. “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.”

When Forbes released its NBA franchise valuations early in 2018, the Knicks were once again viewed as the league’s most valuable team, with an estimated value of $3.6 billion. In his discussion with O’Connor, Dolan acknowledged that there have been some “feelers” of offers that would far exceed that number. However, those feelers never led to any concrete offers for the franchise.

“You hear numbers all the time,” Dolan told O’Connor. “… 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.”

Dolan also addressed a handful of other topics during his wide-ranging conversation with O’Connor, so the piece is worth checking out in full for Knicks fans.

Here are some of the other notable comments from the Knicks’ owner:

On Phil Jackson’s unsuccessful stint as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations:

“I think it was much more about this triangle thing. It was much more about his philosophy, that he couldn’t get the group to buy into it. And I think he got ‘yessed’ a lot. I think they’d be underneath their breath going, ‘This is not a great idea,’ and he got into conflict with some players over it. But I think he tried hard to get his system in. I just don’t think he ever got it in.”

On Jeff Van Gundy telling ESPN that he had interest in the Knicks’ head coaching job this past spring:

“I never heard that. He wanted the job? Look, I’ll do whatever’s necessary to help the team. If [GM] Scott [Perry] and [president of basketball operations] Steve [Mills] said Jeff’s the right guy, fine, but it was really their call. I didn’t meet anybody else other than [David Fizdale]. They said, ‘Look, he’s our pick, I want you to meet him.’ So I did. I wasn’t involved in the selection process at all.”

On whether he has any regrets about having Charles Oakley ejected from Madison Square Garden during a 2017 game:

“He was out of control. Anybody else who went even half the way that he went would have been ejected from the venue. It just got too bad. He had to be taken out.”

New York Notes: Randle, Stauskas, Knicks, Turner

The Nets are among the teams interested in signing Lakers forward Julius Randle to an offer sheet, according to an article on NetsDaily. Brooklyn would like to reunite D’Angelo Russell with Randle, who is a close friend and one of the few Lakers who showed support for Russell when Magic Johnson publicly questioned his leadership abilities. They also share the same agent in Aaron Mintz.

A few things will have to break the Nets’ way for them to have a shot at Randle. The Lakers will have to land both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, limiting what they would be willing to spend on their restricted free agent, and the Mavericks, who are also known to covet Randle, would have to use most of their cap room to sign DeAndre Jordan.

Even if those dominoes fall into place, the Nets still have to trim some salary to come up with an offer sheet that starts in the $12MM to $15MM range. The article states that sweeteners such as up-front money and trade bonuses could be included to make it more difficult for the Lakers to match. To create cap room, the author adds, the Nets would have to get Dwight Howard to accept a buyout in the next few days and trade either Jeremy Lin or DeMarre Carroll.

There’s more today out of New York:

  • Even though the Nets decided against a qualifying offer for Nik Stauskas, that doesn’t mean he’ll be in a different uniform next season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn views Stauskas as a lower-cost alternative if Joe Harris leaves in free agency, where he is expected to get a deal three to four times higher than his $1.5MM salary for 2017/18. Mark Bartelstein, who serves as the agent for both players, isn’t sure the decision will come down to one or the other. “We’ll see how things play out over the next two days,” he said. “We’ll be keeping the lines of communication open for the next few days. I know the Nets like Nik a lot. We’ll see how the roster shapes up.”
  • Pacers center Myles Turner could be the Knicks‘ top free agent target next summer, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Turner will be a restricted free agent if he doesn’t sign an extension with Indiana this summer. His family lives in New York, and he and Kristaps Porzingis are friends. Begley lists Terry Rozier and Malcolm Brogdon as other names to watch in 2019.
  • James Dolan has denied rumors that he is thinking about putting the Knicks up for sale, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Madison Square Garden Company released a statement Friday night saying, “There are no plans to sell the Knicks or the Rangers.”

James Dolan Talks Porzingis, Jackson, Hornacek

Kristaps Porzingis‘ recovery timeline following his ACL surgery remains somewhat unclear, but he almost certainly won’t be ready to start the 2018/19 season, and his absence could extend far beyond opening night. Speaking to Larry Brooks of The New York Post, Knicks owner James Dolan admitted that he still doesn’t have a clear idea of when Porzingis might be ready to return.

“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.”

With the Knicks facing a big offseason that will see them name a new head coach and make the necessary roster moves to move forward in their rebuilding process, Dolan spoke to Brooks about a number of topics. While he touched on the team’s plan going forward, the Knicks owner also revisited the past, discussing a pair of former Knicks employees in Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek.

Here are a few of the most notable comments from Dolan:

On hiring – and eventually firing – Jackson as president of basketball operations:

“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.”

On why Hornacek was fired:

“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.”

On the Knicks’ current coaching search:

“The coaching search for the Knicks is similar in a lot of ways to the (NHL’s New York) Rangers. I think the teams are in similar spots. We’re looking for people to develop players and to create a winning team. We have our lists of candidates, but the lists are still open.”

New York Notes: Lee, Porzingis, Crabbe, Russell

With Tim Hardaway Jr. expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks – and possibly longer – the Knicks’ performance during his absence may go a long way toward dictating the team’s approach to the trade deadline, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com. If New York can tread water and remain in the playoff hunt during that time, the front office could stand pat or even attempt to bolster the roster in February. If not, perhaps the Knicks will become deadline sellers.

In the event that the Knicks do decide to move veterans, Courtney Lee is one player to watch. Lee, who scored 24 points on Wednesday, continues to draw interest from opposing teams, league sources tell Begley. Lee’s contract, which is guaranteed through 2019/20 at about $12MM per year, is somewhat onerous, limiting his trade value, but his shot-making ability (.465 3PT%) should certainly appeal to teams around the NBA.

Here’s more on the two New York teams:

  • Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis was represented by Andy Miller, who relinquished his certification as an agent this week, but his primary agent is his brother Janis Porzingis, who also works at ASM Sports. As such, Porzingis is expected to remain at the agency with his brother despite Miller’s situation, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.
  • Knicks owner James Dolan was named as a defendant in a civil suit filed against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Begley has the details at ESPN.com.
  • Nets guard Allen Crabbe was fined $15K by the NBA after throwing a ball at the basket stanchion on Monday (link via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today). Crabbe is set to earn more than $19.3MM this season, so the $15K hit to his salary is a drop in the bucket.
  • While Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson didn’t provide an official update on D’Angelo Russell‘s recovery timetable this week, his comments suggest that Russell’s return isn’t exactly imminent, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Irving, Perry

The Knicks have come up as a possible landing spot for disgruntled Cavs guard Kyrie Irving but Fred Kerber of the New York Post wonders if the asking price for the All-Star may be a little too high.

The Knicks were one of four teams on Irving’s short list of preferred destinations but league sources say that New York is reluctant to part with young building blocks Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez.

Whether the franchise would actually let the inclusion of Hernangomez be a deal breaker or not, remains to be seen. Per one unnamed league executive, the Knicks would be wise to ultimately deal the Spanish big man if necessary but lumping Porzingis in with an outgoing package is another story.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Recently hired general manager Scott Perry has yet to meet his boss. Ian Begley of ESPN writes that the former Kings executive has yet to officially meet Knicks owner James Dolan.
  • As long as Kyrie Irving doesn’t go to the Warriors, Celtics forward Marcus Morris is happy. Per CSN New England, the recently acquired forward tweeted “Just don’t go to Golden State” shortly after news broke the the guard was looking to be traded.
  • For the third year in a row the Celtics may have a battle for their final roster spot, 16 players have guaranteed rosters for the 2017/18 season. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England breaks down how the roster looks after the addition of point guard Shane Larkin.

James Dolan Weighing Phil Jackson’s Future With Knicks

Knicks owner James Dolan is weighing the future of team president Phil Jackson in New York, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. According to Wojnarowski, a final decision on Jackson’s future has not been made, but Dolan is “harboring uncertainties” about the job the Hall of Fame coach is doing in the Knicks’ front office.

Jackson’s performance as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations has been increasingly questioned within the last year as he became entangled in a public feud with Carmelo Anthony. Despite the fact that the star forward holds a no-trade clause, Jackson has publicly suggested he’d like to move on from Anthony, creating an unusual standoff as the new league year approaches.

The Anthony situation – along with a series of questionable roster moves that included a four-year, $72MM+ commitment to Joakim Noah – wasn’t enough to stop Dolan from exercising his side of Jackson’s option to keep him under contract through 2018/19. However, according to Wojnarowski, the Knicks owner has become “increasingly concerned” about Jackson’s fitness for the job and for the long-term future of the franchise.

The highlight of Jackson’s tenure with the Knicks so far was his pick of Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft. However, even that success story has taken an unexpected turn in recent months.

Frustrated with the Knicks’ dysfunction, Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with the franchise at season’s end, and Jackson responded by making the big man available in trade talks leading up to the draft. While Porzingis remains a Knick, Jackson’s willingness to seriously entertain trade possibilities appears to have been a red flag for Dolan.

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Knicks sources expect clarity on Jackson’s future to come in some form on Wednesday morning. If the team does decide to shake up its front office, the timing will be less than ideal — free agency officially gets underway in less than 72 hours.

Knicks Rumors: Dolan, Ntilikina, Kennard, Carmelo

Appearing on Fox 5 this week, Knicks owner James Dolan was asked about his involvement in basketball decisions, and maintained that he has no role in that side of the business. According to Dolan, who has been more hands-on with the basketball operations department in the past, people ask him all the time about the Knicks’ roster, and he tells them to “ask Phil [Jackson].”

“It’s all Phil. It’s all [GM] Steve [Mills],” Dolan said, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com. “I’m working on my music, they’re working on the basketball team.”

Here’s more out of New York:

  • The Knicks reportedly have interest in French point guard Frank Ntilikina, and it appears that interest is mutual. Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke to Ntilikina, a probable lottery pick, about his potential fit with the Knicks, the idea of playing with Kristaps Porzingis, and more.
  • Former Duke sharpshooter Luke Kennard is another player the Knicks figure to consider with the No. 8 overall pick, and he worked out for the team on Monday, writes Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Kennard is currently considered more likely to be picked outside of the top 10.
  • With the Cavaliers looking to find a way to add more firepower to compete with Golden State, Carmelo Anthony may find his name linked to Cleveland in the coming weeks. However, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, that scenario would probably only be viable if the Knicks bought out Anthony and he was willing to play on a discounted contract in Cleveland. In other words, a trade isn’t likely.

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.

Reaction To Phil Jackson’s Press Conference

Feedback continues to pour in from Phil Jackson’s press conference on Friday, and almost all of it is negative. The Knicks president covered numerous topics in his first meeting with reporters since training camp, including the future of coach Jeff Hornacek, Derrick Rose‘s desire to stay with the team and whether Kristaps Porzingis is ready to be a franchise player. But the headlines revolved around the ongoing Carmelo Anthony dispute, with Jackson saying Anthony would be happier elsewhere.

Here’s a sampling of reaction from the media:

  • Jackson is undermining Hornacek by announcing plans to do more “mentoring” next season, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Jackson suggested that he would rather still be coaching than handling front office duties and blames a vacation he took for the team falling apart. He also defended his triangle offense and insisted that any failures were caused by resistance from players “at the top,” which sounds like another swipe at Anthony.
  • Jackson is blaming everyone but himself for the Knicks’ failures, charges Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Jackson “emerged from his ivory tower,” Bontemps writes, and insulted Anthony, undercut Hornacek and alienated Porzingis, who skipped his exit interview on Friday. Bontemps also blasts Knicks owner James Dolan, who had a chance to cut ties with Jackson this week, but instead picked up his option for two more years.
  • Jackson’s remarks toward Hornacek means the coach will be on a “short leash” starting next season, claims Marc Berman of The New York Post. Hornacek will be on the second year of a three-year contract and will be sharing control of the team with Jackson and assistant coach Kurt Rambis, another triangle advocate who served as interim coach before Hornacek was hired. Jackson cited “some disconnect at times with this team” at the press conference, and Berman states that discontent grew in the locker room as the season soured.
  • The Knicks’ offseason may turn out to be worse than the regular season, suggests Al Iannazzone of Newsday. In 49 minutes, he writes, Jackson managed to lower Anthony’s trade value and scare off any prominent free agents who may have been considering New York. Iannazzone sums up Jackson’s strategy as making sure the triangle is emphasized and turning over the roster one more time.