NEW YORK KNICKS: James Dolan didn't care Isiah Thomas ran his team into the ground. So why does he care so much now without him?
First...It's Never Easy Saying Good-Bye.
We hardly knew ya but you will be missed.
The Fans' favorite Knicks team over the last eight or nine years has been disassembled before they could even finish a season together. Since last November till now, this season's Knickerbockers have done everything short of winning a Championship to earn back the respect and admiration of the fans. Truth is, they only achieved a slightly better than .500 record together, but it was a spirited and entertaining first half (plus) of the season and an effort we were appreciative of, as it made us forget our miseries suffered over the previous decade.
There were players spread-out across the floor in Knick uniforms that were building fresh, new fan followings. The two players drafted by the Knicks we enjoyed watching fill-out and mature; Dalino Gallinari and Wilson Chandler will be missed. No one feels good about trading away one of your own. And Raymond Felton..., a two year underdog singing, turned out to be a little Super Hero for five months. Even Mozgov found comfort with the fans. That's why perhaps the big trade news is leaving Knicks fans a bit melancholy despite the team hooking one of the biggest fish in the NBA.
Last night those guys were traded away for Carmelo Anthony and others. He and Amare' Stoudemire now comprise a fearsome twosome on the offensive side of the ball for the New York Knicks. In a star-driven League, the Knicks now have two of them.
Did the Knicks empty out the roster to make this trade happen? Yes.
Was the price we paid for Carmelo Anthony too high? No.
Wilson Chandler was a goner anyway. Raymond Felton was a stop-gap point guard until we had a shot at acquiring Chris Paul or Deron Williams. So, was Gallo and the rest of the package worth it for 'Melo? You betcha! You secure a guy like 'Melo when you can; especially when you can pair him with a talent like Amare' and continue trying to upgrade from there. You do it because this is what Donnie Walsh has spent the last two-plus years working towards.
DOUBTERS BE DAMNED. JUST STICK WITH THE PLAN!
Carmelo Anthony is a Knick today because Donnie Walsh's plan was followed. He asked for two years and that he be judged based on year Three. If the Knicks wound up not getting Melo, many in the Media were calling for Donnie Walsh's job. He dumped salaries and freed up Cap space in a miraculously short time. Yet, some in the Media called that feat simple and easy. He added short-term upgrades to the roster and turned them into assets. In Felton's case, the Media kept insisting he was a product of Coach D's system. He then signed Amare' over the summer. The Media then said the plan was to land LeBron and that Donnie was lucky to outbid the Suns by a year for Amare's services. That's wrong! LeBron was never the plan. Donnie never said it was. LeBron was available as a coincidence to the plan. The Plan was to be in a position to sign Max-Contracts. And now he has two after completing the trade for Carmelo Anthony with said assets and said cap flexibility.
For Knick Fans, you can start believing it now...., a plan actually came together for us.
There was a ton of speculation as to how much Isiah Thomas played a part in the negotiations to bring Carmelo Anthony here. There is also rampant speculation as to whether James Dolan was intent on making this deal happen in defiance of Donnie Walsh' working model as the club's GM. I was one of the skeptics..and still am. I am not convinced Zeke's days with the Knicks are through. Regardless, Donnie Walsh laid many of the rumors to rest when he said he believed Carmelo Anthony was more intent on securing an extension before the CBA expires as opposed to becoming a free-agent. That meant Anthony would have surely signed a more lucrative extension with the Nuggets or even the Nets than he would have otherwise. Donnie Walsh believed that to be so...because Carmelo Anthony said so! That's why Donnie said they signed off on the trade (while he was in Indianapolis and James Dolan in Los Angeles).
The trick now is to build a supporting cast around these two players. The Knicks have about four years to accomplish this. By no means is this a finished product just because 'Melo arrives tomorrow. The need was and still is to play better defense and finding a quality Center to protect the paint. We still don't have a Center and we certainly won't be playing any Defense now just because it's Tuesday.
The Knicks would be better served by getting Amare' back to his natural position and away from Center if they want him and 'Melo playing through a handful of injury free years together.. Additionally, someone needs to pull down some rebounds for this team. This team can't even pull down a window shade as presently constituted. Ronnie Turiaf obviously is not an answer at Center and he shouldn't even be a thought anymore. You don't pump Regular into a Cadillac. We've up-graded now and Center should be our next area of concern.
Chauncey Billups keeps the plan at point guard the same. We're just waiting for other players to become available. He isn't going to give us much defense either, but I have the utmost confidence he can still orchestrate from the point and set-up Amare' and Carmelo with smart professionalism. That's all I'm really expecting from him. Let's face it, we haven't been right at point guard since we traded Mark Jackson, so there's no reason for us to start snivelling about it now.
It's a TURF WAR. It's as Simple as That.
But do you really want to know my unofficial, real reason why Carmelo Anthony is a Knick today?
As I eluded to in my recent post, Knicks-Nets; Tug Of War Spurs Rivalry , James Dolan all of a sudden has an active interest in his team? With Dolan, it's never that easy.
James Dolan was never one to interfere in Isiah Thomas' affairs for the whole time Zeke ruled his Knicks. A sexual harassment case brought against MSG, etc...was hardly enough to splinter James Dolan's support for Thomas. Isiah had run of the ranch. The only time James Dolan sprung to action is when a proposed West Side Stadium for the Jets was on the City's planning table. James Dolan and MSG committed vast resources to thwart that from happening and preventing such a Stadium from infringing upon his MSG/Arena monopoly in the area. Successful at blocking that project, he had no problem letting Isiah Thomas destroy the Knicks for as long as fans kept showing up to MSG with his monopoly intact. In a city like N.Y. with it's immense population and tourism, not to mention arena events, an MSG void of fans or visitors is hard to pull off.
James Dolan never seemed troubled Isiah Thomas turned the Knicks into an unmitigated disaster. Never. The only thing that troubled him was that West Side Stadium and he threw loads of money at that problem. James Dolan is only recently so concerned about his Knicks because:
ONE: Like I said, he's a mess without Isiah.
TWO: Being an owner of a crappy club never bothered James when Zeke was here, so why should he start caring now? The biggest and real reason James Dolan all of a sudden cares about the Knicks and was seemingly so willing and desperate to trample over Donnie Walsh to get at Amare' Stoudemire; and why he pushed over baby-carriages and knocked over old ladies trying to get at Carmelo Anthony was because of.....
....Mikhail Prokhorov and the threat of Brooklyn infringing on his NYC monopoly.
It's all Owners really care about. They are all about the Capitalism aspect of it. It's all they know and a good businessman can recognize a threat when he sees one. Another team and another arena within the city limits is why to some extent Amare' and 'Melo are Knicks today. I'm not saying Donnie Walsh or a good Exec wouldn't have made these moves as Knicks GM. I'm just merely saying the only reason why James Dolan all of a sudden seems so preoccupied with the Knicks, unlike he was with Zeke around, is because his business is being threatened just like it was when the West Side Stadium talked popped up. And just like then, he's throwing a ton of money at this problem. Salary Cap, Shmalary Shnap ~ When Capitalists feel threatened, they throw money at their problems.
It doesn't matter who in the Knicks' Front Office collaborated on the Melo trade. It doesn't matter if Zeke was in on it or not. James Dolan the Entertainment Mogul was looking out for his business that's about to be faced with stiff competition. For James, It's all about paying for a seat at MSG. He didn't seem to care when the Knicks sucked and he was the only game in town though.
Prokhorov hasn't spent anything yet. But from one business man to another, Dolan knows his day is coming.