HoopsHype James Dolan rumors

March 17, 2014 Updates

Two other management sources who've had extensive dealings with the Knicks in recent years believe that the comically meddling and mistrusting Dolan will, at least initially, give Jackson free rein to make the changes he thinks are necessary. (Whether that will include the media policy that has, over the years, turned so many smart, capable folks who could help Dolan with his horrible public image into pod people is not yet known.) "Jim will try to make it work," one of them said, insisting that Dolan won't get in Jackson's way -- at least not right away. "... He will listen to Phil, just like he listened to Donnie [Walsh]," the other management source said. "Then he can't help himself and he will start fighting Phil and start listening to other people." NBA.com

In 1998, you applied to be the general manager of the Denver Nuggets—while working for the Post. This has always struck me as a conflict of interest. Tell me why I’m wrong. And do you think you would have/could have had a fruitful career as a GM. Peter Vecsey.: I was always told, you’ve got to have at least two conflicts of interest to be successful. Pro sports has plenty of former sportswriters-turned executives. The Knicks were started by Ned Irish. The latest example was John Hollinger leaving ESPN to become VP of basketball operations of Memphis. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to pursue front office or coaching, as long as it’s during the off-season? I tried to put together group to buy the Nuggets in the early ’80s … tried to get Rick Pitino to hire me as GM when he was running the Celtics … approached Larry Brown about helping him in Washington when he was close to coaching the Wizards … had an interview on tap as Hawks’ GM just before Stan Kasten left … and had a very brief interview with James Dolan to be Isiah Thomas’ GM. I am positive I would’ve been an asset to one and all. Jeff Pearlman

A group of New York Knicks fans planning to protest owner James Dolan and team executives' handling of the franchise hasn't been dissuaded by the hiring of Phil Jackson. The group plans to hold a protest prior to the Knicks' game Wednesday against the Pacers. "The rally is still on," Mark Griffin, one of the organizers of the protest, wrote in an email Sunday night. "As a group, we all share the same promise and hope that other Knicks fans have at the hiring of Phil Jackson. This is a good step, but it does not change our skepticism that Dolan will allow Phil the autonomy to bring a real competitor to Madison Square Garden. We've been sold the same promise and hope time again by this owner." ESPN.com

The fan group that has organized the protest -- KF4L (Knicks Fans For Life) -- cites issues with Dolan, the lack of communication from team president/GM Steve Mills and the team's ties to Creative Artists Agency as its main sources of contention. "We know Dolan's history of stubborn behavior and that nothing really changes unless he changes. We still want to let Dolan know that we hold him accountable for where things go from here," Griffin wrote in an email. "We support Phil Jackson and hope he has a lot of success. We at KF4L want to see Phil provided full autonomy." ESPN.com

March 14, 2014 Updates

Jackson’s deal with the Knicks is expected to be finalized within days and a press conference could be held at some point next week, just in time for James Dolan to upstage a fan protest that is scheduled to take place in front of Madison Square Garden on March 19. On Wednesday, both Kobe and Magic Johnson made public pleas to Lakers management to hire Jackson, but a Lakers source said that team VP, Jim Buss, has little interest in bringing back the Hall of Fame coach. New York Daily News

Oakley, though, thinks that owner James Dolan, who has a history of getting involved in his executive's basketball decisions, needs to give Jackson the "power" to shape the Knicks' roster the way he sees fit. "I think [Dolan] convinced Phil to come here [so] then to go back on what you said, it's going to look bad on Dolan's end because Phil is a guy who's got a lot of credibility and I think that the people in New York, they want something positive to happen," Oakley said. "If you sign a man for three, four, five years [and] if you tell him he's got the power and authority to make moves, I know it's tough to give someone power when you've had power for so long [and] you give it to a man whose done this and done that somewhere else. Now he comes in here and things don't start out the way you plan, you might get a little irritated, but you just have to bite you're tongue," Oakley added. "They told me many times throughout my career to bite my tongue and I told them my tongue's been bleeding since I was born." ESPN.com

March 13, 2014 Updates

It will be a fascinating culture clash: Dolan’s paranoid, iron-fisted autocracy vs. Jackson’s free-spirited individualism. Dolan is intolerant of dissent and known for profanely upbraiding anyone who challenges him. Jackson is candid, unfailingly outspoken and headstrong. No one tells him how to run his team—or when he can speak to the media. Dolan isn’t likely to be the first. Bleacher Report

March 12, 2014 Updates

James Dolan and Bill Bradley could not be any different in terms of education, background and career paths. But the billionaire Knicks owner and the Hall of Fame player known as “Dollar Bill” do share a common goal: bringing Phil Jackson to New York. The Daily News has learned that Dolan has solicited the help of Bradley, Jackson’s former Knicks teammate and longtime friend, to serve as an intermediary in the club’s negotiations with the Hall of Fame coach, who is contemplating a lucrative deal to run the Knicks. New York Daily News

The source claims that reports of Jackson being offered an annual salary of $12 million are erroneous and that Jackson could be looking at a deal that pays him in excess of $15 million. The person close to Jackson also indicated that the two sides have had preliminary discussions about Jackson possibly owning a minority stake in the team. New York Daily News

March 11, 2014 Updates
March 10, 2014 Updates

But the payroll starting two summers from now is the NBA version of a blank canvas (only $12.6 million committed salary at present with a salary cap of $58.6 million and a luxury tax threshold of $71.7 million), and the chance for impact players to flock to New York and follow Phil's lead would help immensely so long as he can avoid all the infamous pitfalls that always come with working for owner James Dolan. In a recent interview with USA TODAY Sports, Jackson alluded to these sorts of opportunities when he said, "There are winners and losers in the NBA, and a lot of people are trying to reclaim their position or change their culture." If he was talking about Dolan's Knicks, he was being overly generous. USA Today Sports

Jackson is probably contemplating how much time he wants to spend in New York, away from his fiancée Jeanie Buss, the co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, and away from West Coast. Take Jackson's personal situation and the Knicks' history, you wonder if this is really the job Jackson wants. This could just all be an early spring flirtation with Jackson angling for something bigger and a little closer to home. USA Today Sports

Now, the Knicks are negotiating a front-office deal with Phil Jackson. He's pushing for a monumental salary, understanding the leverage his Knicks championship roots and 11 NBA titles as a coach give him in a courtship gone public. One more famous name punches the code into Dolan's Garden ATM, with full understanding the transaction fee is a guarantee of a most unhappy ending. "Nobody will ever have full autonomy," a high-ranking league official told Yahoo Sports. "Donnie had it in his deal, and when he questioned it, it was, 'See you later.' " Yahoo! Sports

Respected officials doubt his desire to spend the necessary time evaluating talent, constructing a staff beyond those indebted cronies forever at his NBA side. They wonder about his commitment to investing time into the small, mundane assignments that are necessary to turning a loser into a contender. How much time will Jackson even spend in New York? The Knicks are low on draft picks and assets, long on bad contracts and bad knees. For even the most elite of front-office executives, this is a challenging job – never mind a 68-year-old who'll find little of the adulation of championship-level coaching, and far more the criticism and second-guessing that comes with a rebuild. Yahoo! Sports

Eventually, Jackson will want to explain himself – defend his mistakes, revel in his successes, whatever – and that'll be the beginning of the end for him. Won't matter if he's winning, or losing: The wall of silence at the Garden trumps everything – sellouts, stars and playoffs. In the end, this tells you so much about the pathology of the owner, so much about the trail of clues that assures of a doomed Jackson-Dolan partnership. "The biggest issue for [Dolan] is the no-talk policy with the media," a high-ranking league official said. "Everybody signs on, except for Walsh. And after that [Dolan] said, "Never again.' " Yahoo! Sports

While owner James Dolan will pay Jackson handsomely to make basketball decisions, Dolan is still expected to maintain a voice in terms of decision making, the source said. Bringing Jackson aboard could move the Knicks away from their ties to Creative Artists Agency, the player and coach representation firm that many league insiders, including some Knicks players, believe has an inordinate amount of power within the franchise. Assistant general manager Allan Houston, coach Mike Woodson, player personnel director Mark Warkentien and superstar Carmelo Anthony are all CAA clients. ESPN.com

March 9, 2014 Updates

According to an NBA source, Garden chairman James Dolan has met with Jackson about a potential return to the franchise with which he won the Knicks’ only two championships as a player. Jackson also won 11 titles as a head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers but apparently has no interest in coaching the Knicks. New York Daily News

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