During this past NBA season it didn’t take long to see that the New York Knicks were not going to contend as by early December they were already ten games under .500. And as the losses continued to pile up for the Knicks, but the end of January, they were a paltry 10-40. At this point the Knicks management were attempting to sell their beleaguered fan base on the notion that they were going to attempt to get the first overall pick in order to draft Zion Williamson, while also having the salary cap space to sign small forward Kevin Durant and point guard Kyrie Irving to max deals which would once again make the Knickerbockers relevant. But for those who’ve seen a Knicks screw up or two over the past 20 years were not surprised as to how things worked out for this franchise over the past couple of months.
Last month when the order was announced for the NBA’s Draft Lottery, the Knicks had to settle for the third slot as the number one pick that they coveted so much was awarded to the New Orleans Pelicans which meant that Willamson would not be coming to New York. But the biggest blow for the Knicks came in Game Five of the NBA Finals last month when Durant suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon which changed their plans drastically. And if the Durant injury was not bad enough, the Knicks had to watch their rivals from the other side of the East River in the Brooklyn Nets come to terms with both the injured former NBA MVP and Irving, while the Knickerbockers will have to settle for striking it big in free agency with a trio of power forwards in Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson as these are not exactly names that will sell tickets at Madison Square Garden.
And as this is just another chapter in the Knicks long history of teasing their fan base, look no further than the man who signs the checks for this franchise as to why their dreams are once again shattered.
For nearly 20 years James Dolan has been the owner of the Knicks, and during that his “my way, or the highway” approach to business has only resulted in one playoff series victory since 2001, while one of the NBA’s once marquee franchises has sunk into they abyss of futility. And Dolan is the sole person to blame for that.
The main story is that the Knicks missed out on signing Durant due to the fact that Dolan was weary of Durant’s injury which is a legitimate gripe for him to have due to the fact that his Achilles injury is nothing to sneeze at (especially when he wants a max contract). But Dolan’s micromanaging of the Knicks and his past track record have come back to bite him yet again in the Big Apple.
Let us not forget that Dolan is the same man who literally had Knicks legend Charles Oakley thrown out of Madison Square Garden back in 2017, while also standing by Isiah Thomas during the sexual harassment lawsuit that was brought upon him by former Knick team employee Anucha Browne-Saunders in which he was forced to cough up $10 million of his money. And if this was not enough, Dolan had MSG security reprimand a fan earlier this year for suggesting that he sell the team, while last month he banned the Daily News from covering the Knicks during the NBA Draft due to the fact they don’t write favorably about him. Dolan’s banishment of the Daily News resulted in a $50k fine by the NBA towards his organization, but what is it going take for the league to realize that this tyrant is bad for business?
After watching Oakley treated like a rowdy bar patron, and the recent struggles of Carmelo Anthony attempting to be the face of the Knicks franchise, no worthwhile NBA player wants to wear the blue and orange as MSG is where careers come to die. Donnie Walsh and Phil Jackson have each taken their stabs at leading the Knicks front office, only to have the petulant child that is Dolan scare them away with his tendency to micromanage. Lenny Wilkins, Larry Brown, and Mike D’Antoni all took a crack at being the head coach of the Knicks, but when it was all said and done, it was just a stain on their respective careers as they soon realized that getting a check from Ayatollah Dolan was not worth it.
So now instead of welcoming Williamson, Durant, and Irving to the Garden, the Knicks will now have to convince their fan base that the law firm of Randle, Gibson, Portis and rookie Rowan Barrett are the right guys to turn things around for a team that had to work to just win 17 games last season. The Knicks put all of their eggs into the Durant basket and got nothing for their troubles as he and the rest of the stars of the NBA realize that being employed by him simply is not worth it.
The two saving graces for the Knicks is that they didn’t commit themselves to lengthy contracts in signing players so far this summer, while nothing is etched in stone in regards to things working for Durant and Irving in Brooklyn. But knowing the Knicks misfortune, this will be another summer that will marked in the franchise’s ineptitude under Dolan.