James Dolan Rumors
In an appearance on Mike and Mike’s ESPN Radio show, Jackson was asked about his sentiment GM Steve Mills sat on the lottery dais because he’s the future and will be with the Knicks organization for the long term. Jackson said Monday he expects Mills to be his successor, but he isn’t close to bolting. “I have a five-year contract and I just finished year one,’’ Jackson said. “I anticipate it will take awhile to turn this around and I want to be here through that phase. That was my commitment with Jim Dolan. He was trying to find a brand for our franchise in which people know how we play and identify the style of ball we play. I’ve had part of that history of coaching in the NBA. It allows you to take players to fit into the system that works well and had success. As time goes on, I can allow Steve to take over the whole operation. I don’t anticipate that’s going to be a big deal.’’
Were you consulted before Thomas was brought in? Phil Jackson: Jim Dolan had talked to us about it over dinner, maybe a month before it happened. We said, “Are you cognizant of the fact that this at least has the look of putting the fox in the henhouse?” Is that a good term? In reviewing the history of it, we were told what the approach was by the Garden and how it went down. Jim said, “If you have any suggestions that you want to come back with, I’m open.” And not being in that field, I didn’t have any information. It’s not where my head is at. So we’re not giving them any advice, and it’s going both ways.
Liberty guard/forward Essence Carson said she’s had a handful of interactions with the Hall of Fame point guard. “My personal experience with Isiah has been nothing but professional … and I expect it to remain the same moving forward,” Carson said. “And I would expect it to be that way for players 1 through 12, 1 through 15 and the entire office on the Liberty side.” Carson added: “I trust the company wholeheartedly and entirely that they made the right decision. Again, my time here has been nothing but the utmost professional and I expect moving forward for it to remain the same and nothing to change, nothing to alter that.
New York Liberty owner James Dolan and new team president Isiah Thomas met with players on Saturday to address a jury’s ruling that Madison Square Garden improperly fired a female executive who accused Thomas of sexual harassment. “They were very open and honest,” veteran Swin Cash said. “That’s what I appreciated … to really address all the issues and not just be politically correct. So that’s I think, as players, what we really appreciated the most.”
There are sources close to the situation who insist Dolan is frustrated because the Liberty continue to lose money, and he’s decided only Thomas can help, supposedly because he is an “excellent judge of talent” and could draw more fan interest in the team.
Yet there’s a concern that makes all of this even more insidious, if that’s possible. Thomas also was made a partial owner of the Liberty, so he must be approved by the WNBA’s Board of Governors. And if that doesn’t happen, what if Dolan threatens to pull the plug on the Liberty? Sources I spoke to around the league have expressed concern about that. This could turn into a kind of extortion. It appears the Liberty are a pawn in something that shouldn’t even involve them or the WNBA. That’s the “game” of getting Thomas officially back into the fold at MSG. Dolan might have decided that this is a sure-fire way to secure that: Use the Liberty as a bargaining chip.
Isiah Thomas is back at Madison Square Garden. Thomas has been hired to be president of the New York Liberty of the WNBA. Thomas also will have an ownership stake in the team. Garden CEO James Dolan, who owns the Knicks and Liberty and is an unflinchingly loyal Thomas supporter, said he began discussing the role with Thomas in the fall and he has been pleased with the results. “Now, we’ve agreed that it is time for him to take a lead role with the team as president, and through his ownership interest. He’s an excellent judge of talent, and I’m confident that he will put all of his energy and experience into making the Liberty a perennially competitive and successful team,” Dolan said in a statement.
Knicks owner James Dolan has been dedicating more and more time to his band in recent years, but apparently has been using his music behind the scenes for years. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dolan was asked about a rumor that during a negotiation he got out a guitar and played a song called ‘Lockout Blues.’ Dolan replied: “That was during the NBA lockout. I was on the negotiating committee.”
Yes, you emailed a fan and told him off and suggested he might be an alcoholic. Do you regret what you wrote? James Dolan: I don’t believe what I said was wrong. I believe responding to him was wrong. I believe what I said was absolutely correct. But that’s the thing — why engage with people like that? That was a mistake.
Jackson has said he was assured by you that there wouldn’t be any interference. But at what point does the leash get tugged? James Dolan: I don’t see it happening. Phil is a brilliant basketball guy, and he and Steve [Mills] are working together great.
Jackson predicted a playoff appearance this season but began to dismantle the roster by January as the losses mounted. Plan B now includes a lottery pick in June and cap space to sign free agents in July. “And this is when the real work starts,” said one rival executive. “When you bottom out like the Knicks have, it is not easy to get yourself out of it. It takes time.”
The 74-year-old Walsh, back in Indiana as the team’s consultant to basketball operations, is remembered for clearing cap space, bringing in Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, but leaving the Knicks’ cupboard bare. It wasn’t necessarily by his choice, as multiple sources said Walsh didn’t want to give up all those assets to Denver for Anthony in February 2011 but was encouraged by star-struck owner James Dolan. Walsh declined to sign a contract extension, leaving in 2011 after three seasons. “My feeling was we had to build a good team beyond the stars and so I never did that because I left,’’ said Walsh, sitting courtside at Bankers Life Field House. “That’s what will have to be done. Good players and great players. You can’t just get a couple of great players and say, ‘OK, we’re done now.’ ’’
MSG and Cablevision boss James Dolan wants to buy the New York Daily News and has a team of bankers exploring the possibility, Page Six has exclusively learned. A source tells us Dolan’s interest in the tabloid is a natural extension of Cablevision’s current ownership of Newsday. But Dolan and MSG have been locked in a 10-year feud with the News, which could put some of the paper’s editorial staff in a precarious position if he becomes the buyer. The feud between Dolan and the News dates back to ’05, when the paper backed a plan by former Mayor Mike Bloomberg to build the West Side Stadium. Cablevision, with Dolan as CEO, opposed the move, as the new sports venue would have competed directly with MSG.
According to an NBA source, when Dolan heard he was being displaced, the seating change was a concern. But the issue was rectified as the owner still sat on the opposite baseline. NBA officials — not Garden brass — are in charge of seating for the All-Star Game.
Knicks owner James Dolan had to move from his regular seat for Sunday night’s All-Star Game in his building, but his seating issue was nothing compared to the 1,000 or so fans in Sections 111-115 who had obstructed or no view of the entertainment stage. During the pregame and halftime shows and pregame introductions, large video boards were raised behind the stage. Fans behind the basket could only see the back of the video boards and not the stage or court.
Last year, a judge with the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Cablevision officials had threatened to reduce workers’ benefits and deny training if they unionized. The company unlawfully fired 22 technicians in Brooklyn who supported the union. This struggle appears to have a happy ending. On Friday, the union announced, after more than three years, it had reached a tentative contract settlement with Cablevision. The fate of a union leader, fired for challenging management, remains uncertain. The union declined to comment.
The Communications Workers of America organized Dolan’s Cablevision workers. The workers voted to join a union, which is a fundamental American right. Except not really. Dolan hangs out baseline at the Garden and slaps palms with his wealthy unionized athletes. In the low-rent precincts of his empire, where broad-shouldered men and women climb poles and crawl through basements, he prefers nonunionized sorts. His officials labored to break the union.