NEW YORK KNICKS: James Dolan Never Wanted David Stern's Henchman In The First Place.
Way back when, I did not at all criticize hiring Isiah Thomas. The Patrick Ewing era had ended and the Knicks were gladly moving on under Zeke after having suffered through Scott Layden. I think I remember most Knicks' fans looking forward to the changes Isiah Thomas would no doubt initiate. Back then, that was all fine and well and not what this big point is all about.
But since the day Donnie Walsh assumed his position with the Knicks, James Dolan has done everything an owner can do to step on another executive's toes. Now Dolan finally got what he wanted all along; which is Donnie Walsh; David Stern's henchman; gone.
Thanks for rebuilding my organization I let Isiah Thomas destroy. Now beat it!
Welcome To MADISON SCARE GARDEN; The World's Most MEDIEVAL Arena!
Knick fans, say good-bye to the former GM "slash!" President, James Dolan never wanted in the first place.
Once upon a time, the atmosphere inside Madison Scare Garden had become so polluted and wreaked of hot garbage that when Commissioner Stern caught a whiff of the sexual harassment lawsuit against Isiah Thomas and MSG, David Stern decided his New York franchise had fallen to an all-time low and instigated the replacement of Isiah Thomas with Donnie Walsh.
When you're the most powerful Commissioner in North American Sports, you get what you want. And so, the Knicks (namely James Dolan) got Donnie Walsh. But behind the scenes, the Knickerbockers (namely James Dolan) never got rid of Isiah Thomas entirely. Dolan allowed Zeke to lurk in the shadows. Now if you're James Dolan and you're favorite Teddy Bear just got taken away from you, how do you covertly take out your frustrations and seek revenge on your oppressor? Answer - Corporate Passive Aggression.
And James Dolan, in his actions, insulted Donnie Walsh at every turn.
When Isiah Thomas was MSG's one man gang and running this franchise into the ground, his boss, James Dolan, never even so much as said Boo! Isiah had Card Blanche. And James Dolan blindly and loyally believed/believes everything Isiah said/says. James Dolan assumed operating control of his Daddy's Knicks in 1999. Once he settled on Isiah Thomas to run his operation, James Dolan pretty much disappeared from the picture, minus the time when Latrell Sprewell..... ahhhh. Why bother.
Dolan made one huge splash, albeit an inconspicuous public protest under the guise of MSG to block and successfully drown any chance of the West Side Stadium from being built along the Hudson River on top of the West Side Rail Yards. That was James Dolan the entertainment mogul and capitalist protecting his business interests. That's fair.
Other than that, and up until the sexual harassment suit brought against him, Isiah Thomas, and MSG, we never ever heard from James Dolan. And never once did he inject himself, or intercede in Isiah Thomas' affairs as President and GM of the Knicks. Committing the Knicks to Salary Cap high holy hell, and not to mention letting Stephon Marbury run amok, meant little if nothing to James Dolan. Isiah Thomas was free of interference from his superiors. For Dolan, business was still good.
But the person James Dolan trusted most; Isiah Thomas; was taken away from him by the big bad Commissioner. And, it couldn't have come at a more worse time for James Dolan and MSG. Up until now (in relative time) everything was fine at MSG as far as James Dolan the Capitalist was concerned. MSG was always packed no matter the incremental destruction Zeke wrought on his team.
So why is the taking of Zeke away from Dolan at this particular junction in Knicks history so bad as I say? It has everything to do with the Nets and their move to Brooklyn.
James Dolan the Capitalist is scrambling to fortify his defenses because he knows Mikhail Prokhorov means business. And the closer the official move date to Brooklyn comes for the Nets, the more erratic James Dolan has become leading up to right now. Fallout? - The scripted stepping down of a one, Donnie Walsh.
Fighting the West Side Stadium was a natural for Dolan as a business man. But now with one of his Entertainment Empire's Jewels; MSG and the Knicks; in direct threat of competition from the Nets in Brooklyn, James Dolan finds himself fighting a two front battle against business and basketball.
For evidence that James Dolan the businessman knows how to fight a good business fight any time, anywhere, look no further than the notorious Battle of the Billboards. That's good stuff right there. James can fight that fight. But when his Basketball enterprise is topic one, he always has, as he still does, run to Isiah Thomas for direction.
I'm not so sure Isiah Thomas would have been allowed to mismanage the Knicks much longer had Commissioner Stern not insisted on the change as the Nets move to Brooklyn drew closer. James Dolan might have made a move for that very reason IF Zeke didn't have things turned around by "now"... We are three years after David Stern saved the Knicks and their fans from Zeke AND Dolan. And now the reality for James Dolan and the Nets in Brooklyn is officially one more season away, once the Finals conclude this month.
So when it comes to Donnie Walsh, James Dolan Did This:
* Originally wanted to retain and pay Isiah Thomas to be a team/personal consultant to James Dolan.
* Pure speculation? Sure! Dolan is convinced Zeke would have landed LeBron James and blames Donnie.
* Tripped all over his own Capitalist hooves in a free-agent signing frenzy trying to secure players before Mikhail Prokhorov did. Stepped all over Donnie's toes and involved Isiah Thomas in their attempt to sign Amare Stoudemire.
* Tripped all over his own Capitalist hooves in a trading deadline frenzy trying to secure Carmelo Anthony before Mikhail Prokhorov did. Stepped all over Donnie's toes and INVOLVED Isiah Thomas, whether directly or indirectly, in their attempt to secure Melo from Denver. Dolan would have given Denver more had they just asked. Walsh never had a chance to ply his negotiating craft.
* Did not allow Donnie Walsh to hire Chris Mullin on two separate requests. James Dolan tells Walsh he'd rather re-hire Isiah Thomas instead. The two have a concentrated disagreement over the matter.
* James Dolan concluded the Melo Trade Press Conf. by stating Donnie Walsh's contract extension would be settled in very time. But no press conf. would have; could have; ended without at least one more mention of Isiah Thomas.
I say again, in all the years Isiah Thomas ran the Knicks, James Dolan said and did nothing to Isiah Thomas regarding the state of the Knicks. That's when New York City was still a one team town. If you don't think Brooklyn will have an impact on James Dolan's enterprise, you are mistaken then. James Dolan is in full panic mode and is making his fan base pay for the renovations to keep up with the Jone's....er, Mikhail Prokhorov and Barclays Center.
Because James Dolan knew he needed those two stars badly, he practically beat down Donnie Walsh on his way to snag Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. And the Melo deal epitomizes my whole point. Dolan didn't allow Donnie Walsh to negotiate a more responsible price for Melo. But that's because James Dolan, like many execs in the NBA, is subscribing to the Two/Three Star Method, and are distancing themselves from team oriented Basketball at light speed.
Due to the plethora of players given to Denver for Melo, the Knicks were left with a roster barren of capable cagers after the third name down the list. But James Dolan doesn't care that Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are incompatible players or that his bench sucks. He just cares that he has stars. After all, he is a Media Mogul. He knows star power and the draw they have.
The best hands this organization have been in since the days when Dave Checketts roamed the hallways of what will soon be the "Newer MSG" are now waving good-bye to the fans as he says Good Luck to us on the way out. Because we'll need it.
If they were building a baseball only stadium in Brooklyn, do you think James Dolan would have cared? No, he wouldn't have. And as a result, maybe his renovation of MSG may have come farther down the line. You know what they say; - Necessity is the Mother of all Invention.
With the NBA sporting a second team within the borders of New York City, and not just the "Metro Area" anymore, James Dolan is scrambling. As such, he didn't let his GM do his job to the best of his ability. Dolan never wanted Walsh, thus he never trusted him. James Dolan continually ran back or phoned Zeke.
In spite of all Dolan's panicing because the Nets are coming, Donnie Walsh still managed to straighten out James Dolan's Basketball operation. And this is the thanks he gets.
Donnie Walsh never had a chance. James Dolan just wants his teddy bear back. He did to Donnie Walsh like what the Yankees did to Joe Torre. They insulted and made him feel unwanted enough to make him want to leave.
What comes next for the Knicks is anybody's guess. A safe bet to take is the Knicks' near future involves a Yes Man.
To that I say, "Oh No!"