James Dolan: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Written by Nicholas McGowan

I write this piece as not a defense for James Dolan but instead of a reason as why we as Knicks fans should appreciate what Dolan has done for us over the past few years. Dolan has made his fair share of mistakes. Let us begin with said mistakes:

-Handed out his band’s CD to free agents in the summer 2010 at the end of their meetings
- CAA apparently runs the organization, (Mike Woodson reportedly had to change his representation to CAA)
-Strict media policy limiting the amount that Knicks personnel can talk to media
-Rumor that he would trade Iman Shumpert if he did not play in the Summer League
-Has proven incapable of finding a GM who can make sound basketball decisions
-Can’t find consistent coach

These are just some of the many mistakes that James Dolan has made. His actions drove us to protest our beloved Knicks. While that action is justified; he isn’t as bad Knicks fans make him out to be. My aim is not to convince you that he is good owner, but my intention is to persuade you to be glad to have him as an owner. We could be worse off. Dolan through his decision to hire Phil Jackson and his never changing spending habits are the reasons of why we as fans shouldn’t be as angry as we are with him.

To see why we as Knicks fans should be happy lets begin with Dolan’s most recent decision as owner. He hired Phil Jackson for 12 million a year and has promised to let Phil run the basketball operations instead of butting in like in the past. A very good hiring in the eyes Knicks fans, sports personalities, and the overall sports world. This move may one day be seen as the move that turned our franchise around. The hiring of the Zen Master also came as a bit of a surprise, while Phil Jackson said that he might want to finish his career in New York most thought he would end up back in Los Angles due to his relationship with Jeanie Buss. Phil’s negative comments regarding our roster last summer furthered the notion that he would never come to New York. We need to give Dolan credit, despite at first sending Steve Mills instead of himself, he was able to shock the world and get Phil to come to New York. This move was finding the needle in haystack; it was unseen and smart, it shows that there is hope for Dolan as an owner.

The one aspect of James Dolan that we all love as Knicks fans is that Dolan does not really care about the price tag of anyone. He was willing to shell out 12 million per year for Phil and has constantly agreed to pay well beyond the luxury tax line. While Dolan is no Mikhail Prokhorov, he is still willing to spend $88,188,494 this year and is already committed to $91,216,515 next year. He has bought out several coaches’ contracts and as it looks now, he is going to spend another few million to get rid of Mike Woodson and his contract. Dolan also agreed to send $100 million Amare’s way in the summer of 2010 to bring some good news to Knicks fans. He overpaid Amare to make up for losing out on Lebron James. The Amare move is looked at with disgust when looking back on it, but we seem to forget how bringing in Amare let us lure Melo to New York. Remember when Melo and Cp3 to New York was a real possibility? I hate to bring up what could have been, yet I bring it up to demonstrate the fact that all of that would have been expensive, very expensive. Dolan would have never blinked and would have happily paid whatever the amount was. Let us consider the possibility that the Knicks had the Bulls ownership. Our team would be better constructed yet we would only be paying the $73 million that the Bull’s ownership is currently playing. Remember why Chicago traded Luol Deng? It was because the owners did not want to pay the luxury tax that came with Deng’s cap hit. Dolan has had no problem paying whomever he is asked to pay. Dolan’s spending to help the franchise is the reason why he is not the worst owner. The Knicks have the second highest payroll in the league and will continue to spend even more next year. The Knicks have made bad decisions under Dolan yet spend money and tons of it. Dolan’s spending is a huge positive for us as fans. He doesn’t limit the GM and because of his spending we have the capacity to quickly rebuild during free agency.

I don’t love Dolan but I appreciate the fact that he is willing to spend because he believes it will help us. Dolan seems to be getting better as owner (took him long enough), and as of now that is all we as fans can ask for. We will know in a short time whether Dolan has changed. If Dolan allows Phil to be Phil and rebuild our roster I have no worries about our future and look forward to one day competing for a championship.

*Salary cap numbers taken from http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm

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