Seemingly unable to wait until the offseason, the New York Knicks decided to show off their top-to-bottom organizational dysfunction this week. Pushing to trade Carmelo Anthony, fighting with their fans, angering Kristaps Porzingis, and getting into disputes with the NBA Player’s Association all in only one week. What is going on in Madison Square Garden?
Like most negative stories of the Knicks’ misfortune, this one starts with owner James Dolan. After ejecting and publicly feuding with Knicks legend Charles Oakley, eventually having him forcibly ejected from the Garden and banned from ever returning, stories of Dolan’s personal feuds with disappointed Knicks fans have cropped up left and right.
In early February, an lifelong Knicks fan wrote Dolan an angry email scolding him for his actions as owner and imploring him to sell the team if all he cared about was money. Dolan’s response, in a misspelled and hardly legible email, was to call the fan a “hateful mess” and “alcoholic” who has “made your family miserable.” Dolan then told the fan to “start rooting.for [sic] the Nets because the Knicks dont [sic] want you.” He has never apologized for this incident.
This week, it came out that a Knicks season ticket holder had been prevented from renewing his ticket plan after an argument with Dolan. Mike Hamersky saw Dolan outside the Garden and told Dolan to “Sell the team, Jim.” Dolan proceeded to call Hamersky an “a–hole” several times and attempted to have security block him from entering the Garden. Dolan has not apologized for this incident either.
This week also saw Dolan extend President Phil Jackson’s tenure by picking up a 2-year contract option with the former Bulls head coach. Jackson’s weak draft choices (outside of unicorn Kristaps Porzingis) and awful free agency pickups (72 million for Joakim Noah) have resulted in disaster for the Knicks. The awful trade for perpetually-injured and underachieving Derrick Rose capped off the building of Jackson’s “Superteam” that barely won 30 games this season.
After remaining silent throughout most of this year, Jackson decided to finally speak up after the Knick’s picked up his contract option. Specifically, after it came out that Knicks star Carmelo Anthony got into an expletive-laden argument with Knicks coaching staff during their loss to the Nets, Jackson announced that it would be best if Melo left the Knicks this year.
This was evidently done without consulting Carmelo at all, who posted a picture on instagram indicating his surprise with the statement shortly after the story broke. Carmelo received no ceremonial goodbye from Madison Square Garden, and Jackson didn’t even have the guts to tell him face to face about their intentions to get rid of him.
So the Knicks have decided to get rid of Carmelo Anthony, their star player and arguably the best player they’ve had this decade. They clearly want to rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis and tank to get draft picks, right? Wrong. Phil Jackson is seemingly in love with Derrick Rose and lays all the blame for the teams lack of success on Anthony and head coach Jeff Hornacek. The team was “impressed” by Rose’s performance and see mutual interest, even though the player averaged a meager 18.0 ppg this season and has never played more than 66 games since 2010.
The week of manic dysfunction on the part of the Knicks has led Kristaps Porzingis to skip out on his exit meetings with the Knicks and head straight back to Latvia. Porzingis, considered to be the future of the team, expressed dissatisfaction with the organization from top to bottom. He hated how Carmelo was treated, was annoyed by the media drama surrounding the organization, and expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the team’s emphasis on the triangle offense and inability to settle on defensive schemes.
The drama just keeps going for these New York Knicks, and the future doesn’t look very bright from here. If Carmelo Anthony is traded away and Kristaps Porzingis becomes frustrated enough with the organization to leave, the Knicks will be left with almost no consistently good players and very little in terms of possible development. James Dolan isn’t going anywhere, as he’s made clear that he is not selling the team anytime soon, and Phil Jackson looks like he’ll be sticking around unless there’s a massive organizational shakeup. The same unnecessary drama and dysfunction that plague the Knicks now will only hurt the team more as time goes on, keeping them out the playoffs and in partial rebuilding for the foreseeable future.
The Fourth String team