James Dolan

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.

Adam Silver Discusses Rest Issue, 2019 ASG, Dolan

NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke today at the league’s Board of Governors meetings about a few items of interest, including the subject of teams resting healthy stars, which he called the most important issue facing the league at the moment (Twitter link via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today).

According to Silver, the NBA hopes to avoid having teams play four games in five nights next season and will also aim to further reduce back-to-backs in general (Twitter links via Frank Isola of The New York Daily News and Zillgitt).

Noting that the issue is a “complex” one, Silver added that owners agreed teams should avoid resting multiple players during nationally televised games, and the league’s preference is to rest players for home games rather than road contests (Twitter link via Howard Beck of Bleacher Report).

Adjusting the 82-game schedule is one potential idea that has been thrown out as a potential solution to the issue of teams resting players. While Silver acknowledged that it’s possible the league, at some point, could come together and agree to reduce the number of regular season games, that’s not on the table for now and wasn’t discussed this week (Twitter link via Isola). The commissioner pointed out that there’s also no hard data indicating that slashing a few games from the schedule would help improve players’ health or eliminate the rest issue (Twitter link via Beck).

The rest issue wasn’t the only one addressed by Silver, who also said that Charlotte is back in the running to potentially host the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. Per the commissioner, North Carolina’s adjustments to the so-called “bathroom bill” don’t entirely resolve the league’s concerns, but Charlotte will still receive strong ASG consideration (Twitter link via Chris Mannix of The Vertical). The Hornets issued a statement this afternoon expressing enthusiasm about the possibility of hosting the 2019 contest.

Finally, Silver also discussed Knicks owner James Dolan, who recently had a verbal altercation with a fan who told him he should sell the franchise. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com details, the commissioner didn’t seem particularly concerned and didn’t suggest the league would get involved. Dolan “is as frustrated as any Knicks fan” with the state of the team, Silver said (Twitter link via Isola).

New York Notes: Porzingis, Dolan, Nets, Bogdanovic

With just three games left in the season and his team long eliminated from playoff contention, head coach Jeff Hornacek said late on Thursday night that the Knicks will be “careful” with Kristaps Porzingis down the stretch this season. As Ian Begley of ESPN.com tweets, Porzingis – who has missed the club’s last two games with back spams – may ultimately sit out those final three games as well and focus on getting healthy for the summer.

As we wait to see how the Knicks proceed with Porzingis, let’s round up a few more notes on the league’s two New York teams…

  • In the wake of a report that Knicks owner James Dolan confronted and yelled at a fan who told him to sell the franchise, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News and Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post take Dolan to task. Isola suggests that the Knicks owner ought to focus more on ways to improve his struggling team rather than protecting his own image, while Bontemps argues that Dolan hasn’t learned a thing since he assumed ownership of the team in 1999.
  • A year after aggressively pursuing – and striking out on – multiple restricted free agents, the Nets are expected to be in the RFA market again. With that in mind, could Brooklyn target Bojan Bogdanovic just a few months after sending him to Washington? Brian Lewis of The New York Post explores that subject and gets some quotes from a noncommittal Bogdanovic, who says he remains focused on basketball for now.
  • Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders makes the case that, if they want to move forward as a franchise, the Knicks need to ditch the triangle and adopt a more modern offensive system.
  • Earlier today, we passed along Brandon Jennings‘ comments on how this year’s Carmelo Anthony trade rumors took a toll on the Knicks.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Hornacek, Ewing

As we learned earlier today, Derrick Rose underwent an “uncomplicated” left knee arthroscopy to handle his meniscus tear. He’s expected to resume basketball activities in roughly three to six weeks. Here’s more on the 2010/11 MVP as well as notes on his current team:

  • The Knicks have left the door open on Rose returning to the team, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.“Derrick did a lot of good things for us this year, with the way he can break down the defense,” coach Jeff Hornacek. “We’ll take a look at it and see if we can bring him back.’’
  • Mike Vorkunov of The New York Times isn’t optimistic about Rose’s future with the Knicks. The scribe believes the franchise should be able to replace Rose with a prospect through the draft.
  • Patrick Ewing recently agreed to become Georgetown’s head coach, but that may be the first stop on his way to becoming the coach of the Knicks, Berman writes in a separate piece. A source tells Berman that Ewing’s relationship with Knicks owner James Dolan is “fully repaired.”
  • Berman notes (same piece) that Ewing had a chance to interview with the school 13 years ago. The Hall of Famer previously said that he didn’t “want to go back to college.”
  • Rose’s injury is likely to limit his options in free agency, George Willis of the New York Post argues. If Rose hadn’t suffered his latest ailment, Willis believes he would have had several multiyear offers from teams around the league. As it stands, the former MVP may have to settle for a one-year deal.