What was the Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury beef like behind the scenes? Eddy Curry: They were neighbors. Literally, we all lived in the same neighborhood. Me, Stephon, Isiah. They literally were neighbors. Their backyards backed up to each other. They didn’t have fences. If Isiah went into his backyard to his pool, he could be standing right there shaking Steph’s hand if he wanted to. They were that close. Knowing Steph, he felt betrayed in a lot of situations. He felt like he had Isiah’s back in situations, and Isiah didn’t have his back in situations. Once that trust is broken, and somebody feels this isn’t about a team, everybody starts pointing fingers.
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Fred Katz: RJ Barrett on embracing the pressure of playing in New York: “What pressure? What pressure? Nah, it’s no pressure. It’s fun.”
Randle continued to express his desire to bring the Knicks a championship, but acknowledged the negative reactions from the home crowd was frustrating because they’re heard by his young son, Kyden, who often sits courtside at MSG. “That’s probably where most of my frustration comes from. I have my 5-year-old son that’s there who is obsessed with the game of basketball, loves the game of basketball and he doesn’t understand what’s going on,” Randle said. “That’s probably my biggest frustration — coming from him. The time I sacrificed from him to put into this game.
“He’s daddy’s little boy. He loves his dad,” Randle continued. “So for him to experience that and him being uncomfortable and having to leave the games and stuff like that, as a father, that’s what bothered me more than anything. But at the same time, you have to understand it comes with the territory. The narrative can always flip. I understand that. I understand it’s New York City. I understand how passionate our fans are. You just kind of have to live with the good and the bad.”
Sources contend a lack of leadership from Randle has hurt the club this season. One source said Randle sometimes dresses by himself in another area of the locker room.
Sources have indicated Thibodeau has been most offended by claims he mistreated Walker, who eventually shut it down at the All-Star break, and accusations he’s stunted Toppin’s growth because of a lack of playing time. Thibodeau’s reference that a player could make one brilliant play and nine bad ones could be a reference to Toppin, who hears “O-bi’’ chants after one showboat dunk. “I’m just saying, everyone has all the answers right after a game and often times, they haven’t studied,’’ Thibodeau said. “And I don’t want anything to divide our team. I want our team together. That’s how you win — as a team. You lose as a team.
But New York is no closer to getting the franchise-changing star — or stars — needed to compete for an NBA title. “The Knicks have done a lot of things fine, and I like a lot of their young players,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “But some of their veteran signings have not been great. I don’t know that they’ve constructed a coherent direction.”
But overall, it’s a mix that has worn some of the luster off any potential future package for an available star. “If they are going to give up their picks and swaps to get someone, it doesn’t matter who they are trading,” a Western Conference executive said. “But if their hope was to turn these guys into good players by themselves, I’d be hard-pressed to see a team thinking they’ll take that for a star.”
The Knicks’ fourth-quarter struggles reared their ugly head again Sunday against the 76ers, when they entered the final 12 minutes trailing by two points before losing 125-109. Tom Thibodeau’s crew even led early in the fourth quarter and then was down 106-105 with seven minutes left, only to muster just four points the rest of the way. “Our togetherness down the stretch is not good enough,” guard Evan Fournier said after the loss. “By togetherness I mean we are not tied together enough. Down the stretch, like I said, we have no confidence, so we are second-guessing at times. It should be second nature — boom, boom, boom, this is what we’re doing. As long as we are not doing that, it’s going to be hard to close out games against teams that are good. “It keeps happening and that’s what’s so frustrating.”
The Knicks’ net rating (estimated point differential per 100 possessions) in the fourth quarter over their last 10 games is -34.9 — last in the NBA, with the Rockets (-21.4) the next closest. Their fourth-quarter offensive rating (estimated points scored per 100 possessions) in that span is 85.5, well below the next-closest team, the Trail Blazers (100). “I feel like we’re in a position right now where we are down two or down three, teams get on a run, it’s like, ‘Oh s–t, again,’ ” Fournier said. “Maybe just a good win would help us more, more confidence would help.” Having a veteran point guard to run the offense late in games — and therefore instill some of that confidence in crunch time — would also help.
Some players privately questioned how he handled the benching of Walker earlier in the season. Walker said that he and Thibodeau didn’t speak for a significant stretch after Thibodeau decided to bench him.
According to the source, two of the teams who had contacted the Knicks about Robinson got the impression they will lose him if he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. The source said the relationship between Robinson and the Knicks currently isn’t on firm ground.
According to an NBA source, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has admitted to associates he’s had more trouble getting Randle to play with a selflessness this season than during last season.
Some in the organization believe Randle’s signing the $117 million contract extension has made him feel he’s got to do more scoring to live up to the pact.
The Knicks encouraged Randle to write his apology on Instagram (likely written by his Creative Artists Agency team) after he told fans to “shut the f–k up’’ after the Jan. 6 victory over the Celtics. But Randle has refused to elaborate on it with the media, against which he seemed to declare war for negative coverage of his season.
New York Knicks star Julius Randle had no interest in talking any further about his decision to tell Madison Square Garden fans to “shut the f— up” last week. “I’ve already addressed it,” Randle said Tuesday afternoon, when asked where he hopes his relationship with the fans will go from here in the wake of giving the crowd at MSG a thumbs-down gesture during last Thursday’s win over the Boston Celtics, later saying the message from that was to “shut the f— up” and then apologizing in a lengthy Instagram post Friday.
Julius Randle apologized in a statement on his Instagram account on Friday, saying that his thumbs-down gesture to Knicks fans during Thursday’s win over the Boston Celtics as well as his postgame remarks were “an example of how sometimes you say things you regret to people you love.” “Just want to send a quick message to our fans and be clear — I love NYC and being a part of this team and this franchise,” Randle wrote. “And like most Knicks fans, I am really passionate about us being successful.
“My family and I love how the fans and New Yorkers have embraced and accepted us and have made us feel great about our decision to commit long-term with the team this past summer. This support means the world to us. “I understand that my actions also represent the league, this organization, and the city, and that I should have handled things last night differently and expressed myself with more professionalism and more appropriate language in the heat of the moment. My comment was an example of how sometimes you say things you regret to people you love, even if it came from a place of passion and deep love. “Nobody wants to win more than me and I will continue to show loyalty and dedication to my teammates, the entire Knicks organization, and the fans who have shown me and my family so much love. I am going to keep focusing on the future.”
In response to a follow-up question about whether this was because of the boos the Knicks heard throughout the first two-plus quarters of Thursday’s win, when the Celtics thoroughly outplayed them, Randle said, “You saw that. You saw what was going on out there.”
Following the loss in Boston, a reporter asked Walker if he wants to stay in New York, his hometown, considering he might return to the end of the bench once the Knicks get healthy. Walker cleared his throat before responding. “I want to play,” he said. “I don’t know. So it is what it is. I don’t know what the future holds. I do feel like I have a lot to give still. ”
One source believes locker-room leadership has started to become an issue. Randle is not a born leader, self-admittedly the quiet type, as is Derrick Rose. Other leadership candidates would be hard-pressed to be the team’s motivational speaker: Kemba Walker, banished from the rotation; Evan Fournier, the struggling French newcomer not known as an orator; Taj Gibson currently out of the playing mix. It’s up to Randle to lift this group out of the doldrums and one source said the forward can occasionally be a loner in the locker room. Randle, for certain, is moody with the media.
“When you look at the team, there really isn’t an outspoken leader,’’ one NBA source said. “You look at every team in the NBA, they have an outspoken leader. Is there an outspoken leader or is everyone being too respectful to each other and not wanting to voice their opinion?’’ Tom Thibodeau isn’t shy about voicing his opinion on anything but sometimes a winning group needs more than the head coach in the players’ ears. Thibodeau actually prefers leadership by example more than speeches from his core players. “We want a team of leaders,’’ Thibodeau said after Saturday’s practice.
The Knicks are making a drastic change at point guard. Head coach Tom Thibodeau announced Monday that Alec Burks will become the starter after a 23-point performance in his first start of the season during Saturday’s win in Atlanta. Bronx product Kemba Walker will be out of the rotation entirely, beginning with Tuesday’s game against the Nets in Brooklyn. “It’s a tough decision to make. But you always have to do what you think is best for the team,” Thibodeau said. “I’ve got great respect for who Kemba is as a person, number one, and all that he’s accomplished in this league…But I do what I think is best for the team.”
Michael Scotto: Knicks have a 116.3 defensive rating and a -13.3 net rating with Kemba Walker on the court, per @HoopsRumors. Coach Tom Thibodeau has benched Walker. Now, Thibs will start Alec Burks at point guard. New York has a +5.2 net rating with Burks on the court.
Derrick Rose didn’t play Saturday due to a sprained ankle and is questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Nets. “I just don’t like the way we’ve been trending, the inconsistency of our team and we’re gonna try to make a change,” Thibodeau said. “I want to get bigger…I want our defense to be more intact. So basically that was it I got to do something different.”
Knicks owner James Dolan sent a second email to staffers Tuesday to “clarify’’ his stance on why the club didn’t issue a statement regarding the police-related death of George Floyd, according to a source. Dolan attempted to pacify unrest within the organization with the Knicks just one of two NBA teams not to issue a formal statement on Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis that has sparked protests, riots and looting.
Dolan went on a rant against racism in his second email. “So let me be clear. We vehemently condemn and reject racism against anyone, period,’’ Dolan wrote. Dolan added, “Racism is born of ignorance.’’
James Dolan: Yesterday, I made a sincere attempt to provide my perspective on a very difficult issue, one that has no easy answers. I know how important this topic is to so many, and I do not want there to be any confusion about where I as an individual, or we as a company stand. So let me be clear: we vehemently condemn and reject racism against anyone, period. It is against every value that we hold dear.
James Dolan: My point yesterday was about actions, and the importance of living your values. At Madison Square Garden, we have worked hard to build an environment of inclusion and mutual respect and those are the values that we try to live every day. Racism is born of ignorance and it’s up to each of us to understand that the person working beside you is your equal without regard to color, or any of the other qualities that make us diverse. And any injustice to one person is an injustice to everyone.
James Dolan: This is how we at MSG fight racism. We start with ourselves, and through our actions, we define who we are. That is how we can be an example to the wider world. That was the point of my message yesterday. I am proud of the environment you have created here. I know that this is a difficult time, and that we will always need to communicate with one another on the hard issues. I will continue to do as much as I can to help make our community even better. I know you will also.
Crawford said his two favorite teams to play for were the Knicks and the Clippers. The first was because of the energy of Madison Square Garden, where the star power made him feel like he was on stage every game. The second was because, with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on the roster, L.A. was a legit title contender.
Power forward Julius Randle became the most polarizing Knicks player with the fans — and in the locker room. Randle’s traditional numbers are strong but bittersweet. If there are no more regular-season games due to the coronavirus pandemic, Randle will finish 32nd in the league in scoring (19.5), 14th in rebounding (9.7) while posting the 12th-highest total of double-doubles (30).
Nevertheless, some Knicks, including rookie RJ Barrett, were frustrated by Randle’s penchant for not distributing the ball quickly enough and overdribbling, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
Randle became less of a turnover machine in the final two months and became a little less clunky on the drive. Still, the on-court chemistry between Randle and Barrett, who is used to having the ball in his hands, bears major watching next season. For the most part, Barrett kept quiet about the Randle situation. “A lot of players felt like that with the exception of Elfrid Payton,’’ one NBA source told The Post.
“You can’t argue with his productivity,’’ an Eastern Conference personnel man told The Post. “But he was in the wrong role. He absolutely should not be your No. 1 or even No. 2 option, maybe not even No. 3 on a serious contender. He doesn’t have a good enough feel, [and is] much too ball-dominant. I don’t trust his decisions with the ball. As sixth man, he would fit perfectly because I don’t think he gives you much defensively either. That’s more in line with a sixth-man role.”
Knicks officials denied any fan was “ejected or escorted’’ out of the arena for chanting “Sell the team!’’ A source said security, under the code of conduct policy, talked to the fans about the chants. A video surfaced of four fans talking to security by an elevator with a police officer pictured. The last time fans chanted “Sell the team’’ on Jan. 31, The Post reported a teenager was escorted from his seat to a room for questioning.
Stoute, the newly hired branding manager, appeared on ESPN Tuesday and stated he’s looking forward to a new coaching staff next season to develop some of the team’s young potential stars. The remark got Stoute in hot water with the administration for essentially firing Miller prematurely. It is believed an apology was given at the fan charity event, “Kicks and Cocktails’’ when Miller met the entertainment mogul for the first time. “I saw Steve at the charity event,’’ Miller said, said before the Knicks played the Wizards on Wednesday night. “We spoke over there. We had a private conversation.”
One NBA source said acting president Scott Perry, whose future still is up in the air, was particularly bent out of shape by Stoute’s comment. Asked if team brass or ownership spoke to him to put him at ease, Miller said, “I speak to Scott every day. I just left speaking with Scott. It’s really not necessary. There’s really no reason to put me at ease. I’m at ease. We’re getting ready to play in MSG and I’m coaching the Knicks tonight. We get to play basketball. It’s basketball season. “I don’t really have a reaction to it. “I’m locked into doing what we do here. My job is to get the team ready to play Washington. My focus is on the players.’’
You have a long history in both the music and basketball industries. I agree with those who say Stoute overstepped his bounds when talking about the Knicks coaching situation (on Tuesday). But given your perspective, what do you think about what Steve Stoute can bring to the Knicks? KLEIMAN: “Steve Stoute is a winner, straight up. He’s not phased by what happened (on Tuesday). I’m sure whatever’s happening behind closed doors is to be kept behind closed doors. But someone like Steve Stoute knows exactly what his role is. He will deliver and then some and the Knicks will benefit greatly from it. When there’s nothing really to talk about in terms of wins and success right now (with the Knicks), which is to come, people will be quick to harp on what they feel like is not the traditional thing to say. But Stoute has never done anything the traditional way. So you will see the benefit that the team will reap from his position in that organization. And he knows what his role his and he’ll deliver. I didn’t think twice about (what happened Tuesday). I know what Steve’s doing.”
Ian Begley: Knicks interim HC Mike Miller said he spoke to NYK branding exec Steve Stoute at a Knicks charity event last night. Miller referred to it as a private conversation.
Mike Vorkunov: Knicks released a statement about Steve Stoute, saying that personnel decisions will be made by new team president. “While Steve Stoute is a valued contributor to the Knicks’ marketing and branding efforts, he does not speak on behalf of NY Knicks personnel & basketball ops.”
A few notes in the wake of the Knicks’ removal of Steve Mills as team president: We know that there was some division in the organization over the direction to take at the NBA trade deadline. Some wanted to remain patient, hold on to draft picks, and preserve cap space. They felt that was the best way to build out the roster, generally, and to remain in play for top free agents in future summers.
Both Morris and Payton said they didn’t have an issue with Crowder’s steal, but the three-pointer was “disrespectful.” Morris made his feelings clear. “I think the dude plays the game a different way,” Morris said. “He has a lot of female tendencies on the court, flopping and throwing his head back the entire game. It’s a man’s game. You just get tired of it. Obviously at the end, that was very unprofessional. …He got the steal, it is what it is. But when you step back and shoot a three and rub it in that they’re winning, it’s just unprofessional. It’s soft. His game is soft. He’s soft. It’s just very woman-like.”
Marcus Morris: “I apologize for using the term ‘female tendencies’ I have the utmost respect for women and everything they mean to us. It was a heat of the moment response and I never intended for any women to feel as though in anyway I’m disrespecting them. Again I apologize for my comments.”
Mike Vorkunov: A loud “Sell the team” chant rises up at MSG with Knicks down 18 and a fracas on the court just broken up. MSG starts piping in loud music to break it up. Things are not going well in New York tonight.
Kristian Winfield: Ja Morant says there’s no hot water and only 3 drops of water coming out of the Knicks visitor showers. “This is beyond me,” he said. The Grizzlies are actively trying to get both hot water and water pressure to take showers right now. “I’ve taken cold showers before, but at least I had water pressure.” “I’ve taken cold showers before, but at least I had water pressure.”
The Knicks held a players-only meeting to rally support for their coach. But there was one problem: Fizdale was fired just hours later. Sources confirmed that Marcus Morris, who has been Fizdale’s top supporter in the locker room, led the session prior to Friday’s practice. It came on the heels of the Knicks getting blown out by the Nuggets on Thursday at the Garden.
Morris, according to a source, preached accountability and playing unselfishly, pointing the finger at himself as well as teammates, specifically Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. The message was well received by the players, a source said. Fizdale then conducted practice at the Tarrytown facility and was promptly fired afterwards.
Barbara Barker: Knicks coach David Fizdale on Knicks woes: “Right now, I think it’s much more mental than technical.”
James Dolan had hired McKinsey & Company in the summer of 2013 in hopes of reorganizing how the Knicks and Rangers operated. He told the New York Post that the Grunwald firing was a result of the addition of McKinsey, whose employees worked around the team and, ostensibly, audited it. It was a unique circumstance. Professional sports teams are notoriously secretive — about proprietary information, about practice, sometimes even about starting lineups — and bringing an outside party into the inner sanctum raises eyebrows. It was no different around the Knicks. “It was a little bit of an elephant in the room for the coaches and the players,” said Cole Aldrich, a center on the 2013-14 team. “It was kind of where did these people fit in? They’re around but they’re not part of us but they kind of are. Like, what? Because I know at the end of the day, Dolan was spending a lot of money to have these people consult for him and the franchise. It was curious because they were there, but what were they doing?”
“All that stuff was bad,” said one former Knicks staffer who was part of the 2013-14 team. “Now you bring in the McKinsey group. They’re traveling with us. Who are these guys? We never heard of anything like this in our life. They’re questioning everything.” No one seemed to quite know what McKinsey was brought in to do. A spokesperson for McKinsey & Company declined comment. The Knicks declined to detail the work the firm did for the franchise. “Both the Knicks and the Rangers have worked with McKinsey, and other consultants, in the past,” a spokesperson for the team said. “We are happy with the work they conducted and will always look for ways to improve our teams.”
At one point during the season, Hopla remembers taking a photo of his hotel room on the road because he couldn’t see the floor underneath the stoplight sheets and the daily reports. He needed two rooms, he joked — one for him and one for the reports. “It was crazy,” he said. “If we would’ve took all the time writing reports when we could’ve worked the guys out — we missed the playoffs by like one game that year. It had nothing to do with basketball. It was filling out form after form. I wrote a book and I never wrote as much as I did with the New York Knicks.”
One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach. Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN: The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.
Despite their frustrations following the loss at Chicago — one in which they turned the ball over 18 times and were outscored 52-46 in the paint — Knicks players were still adamant in their support of the second-year coach. “We’ve got 9-10 new guys? We’ve got 10 guys that have not played together at all and me who hasn’t even been in the league yet,” said rookie RJ Barrett. “You’re gonna have some challenges, but you’ve got to keep pushing, keep pushing through everything. That’s all I can really say. You’ve just got to stay together. “He’s up to the challenge. We believe in him,” he continued. “We’re staying together, and like we said, we’re all-in with him and are just gonna keep fighting together.”
Fizdale didn’t seem fazed by the speculation during Tuesday’s shootaround, telling reporters, “It’s always a media firestorm in New York, so for everybody else this is a big deal, but for us, it’s a normal environment. So, our guys are focused, they’re connected.”
Knicks owner James Dolan spoke with team president Steve Mills and others in management on Monday, the day after Mills and GM Scott Perry held an impromptu press conference to express their frustration with the Knicks. Dolan speaks with Mills and other top decision-makers regularly, just as most NBA owners do, but this conversation seemed to carry a little more weight. Sources familiar with the conversation told SNY that management came away with the impression that their jobs would be secure as long as the Knicks ‘showed progress’ this season.
Despite another defeat, there was a clear attempt to calm roiling waters surrounding Fizdale. Sources indicated Mills and Perry felt their unprecedented James Dolan-inspired press conference Sunday came off as too harsh in the form of pinning the blame on the coach.
Sources told SNY that, in addition to Fizdale, Mills and Perry are also ‘on notice’ in the wake of the Knicks’ slow start. Regardless of what happens with Fizdale, opposing executives expect Mills and Perry to be given the remainder of the season to show Dolan that the team they put together can be competitive.
Several people familiar with the matter told SNY on Monday that Mills, Perry and Fizdale are all under greater scrutiny amid New York’s 2-8 start. “Everyone’s on notice,” one source said. So the notion that Mills, who has served as either president or GM of the Knicks (under Phil Jackson) since 2013-14, would be immune to the consequences that would come of New York continues to underperform is inaccurate.
Ian Begley: David Fizdale says management has been supportive of him when asked about ESPN report that president Steve Mills has laid groundwork to fire him. Asked if he’s gotten any assurance from management, Fizdale notes that he has 2.5 years left on his contract.
Ian Begley: Steve Mills, Scott Perry and David Fizdale talking after practice today. Fizdale said he met with Mills and Perry this morning, as he does almost every morning. When asked about it, Fizdale said he feels he, Mills and Perry are together in sharing blame for Knicks’ bad start. pic.twitter.com/0yi21paf5s
No matter who he plays on a given night, there will be several players left out of the rotation who came into the season expecting to play. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that, per SNY sources, there has already been some grumbling about minutes/roles. Players not being thrilled about their minutes/roles is pretty common in the NBA. All coaches/teams deal with it to a certain degree. But the idea that the Knicks have so many players who – from the outside at least – can make a case for a spot in the rotation makes this something to keep an eye on.
“Not many people know that, but players talk. From different teams, they talk,” Kanter said on the Full 48 podcast with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. “I’m not blaming anybody. I had an amazing time with the Knicks. But other teammates I talked to or if they’re on different teams, they always said, ‘Amazing city, MSG is amazing. Everything is so good. But the ownership.’ They always keep saying, ‘But the ownership.’” “I always tell them, the Knicks are amazing. It’s the Garden, it’s the Mecca. If you win in New York, you’re the king of the world. Some of the players are I guess scared to come here and don’t even want to deal with that.”
There were probably a dozen other reasons the Knicks struggled that year. But when Hopla talked to SNY about his time with the Knicks and that frustrating 2013-14 season, he pointed to another factor in the Knicks’ shortcomings: He said McKinsey & Company, a worldwide management consulting firm hired by Madison Square Garden to work with the Knicks and Rangers, had a negative impact on the coaching staff and was the source of confusion and paranoia among some players. The firm’s influence led to decisions like not having coaches watch film with players and filling out seemingly endless amounts of paperwork, according to Hopla. “We got so fed up with them,” Hopla said of McKinsey & Company, which declined comment for this story when asked about their work with the Knicks in 2013-14.
McKinsey & Company’s influence continued throughout the season. Hopla said the consulting agency advised coaches to stop watching film with players at one point during the year. “The players were like, ‘Why aren’t we watching film?’ (We said), ‘the McKinsey group told us,’ ” Hopla recalled. Hopla said the consultants also told members of the coaching staff to fill out paperwork documenting how players performed in all workouts, a process Hopla felt was time-consuming (a second source confirms that coaches were asked to fill out the paperwork).
Members of the consulting firm attended practices and games at home and on the road, which, according to Hopla, led to concerns from the players. “The players started asking who they were,” Hopla said. “…. They were worried about maybe they were writing reports about them. They were paranoid.” Hopla questioned why a firm without significant experience in pro basketball was allowed to influence how Knicks coaches approached aspects of their jobs. “If the McKinsey group came in and it was Hubie Brown, Bob Knight and John Thompson, you’d listen to them,” he said.
Utilizing his bottomless wealth and familiar bully tactics, James Dolan has attempted to derail the development plans of a low-income city in California and influence its mayoral election from across the country. But as Dolan-led MSG has pumped money into lawsuits to protect its investment in The Forum, Dolan testified in a deposition he knows little about the City of Inglewood that he’s suing, the contractual issues in dispute over a new Clippers arena, or the religious conservative candidate he backed to prevent the community from securing a new NBA arena. More than anything, Dolan, from his deposition, seems comfortable with letting his attorneys, lieutenants and buddy Irving Azoff handle the carpet bomb that he’s bankrolling.
Among the revelations from Dolan’s deposition in November, from a lawsuit MSG filed against the city of Inglewood, as reviewed by the Daily News, and according to sources close to the situation: Dolan said he barely knew the Inglewood mayoral candidate he supported with nearly $1 million.
Dolan said he twice attempted to get Jeanie Buss to consider relocating the Lakers, who last played in the Forum regularly in 1999, to Inglewood.
In the article, it is alleged that Dolan is attempting to “derail the development plans of a low-income city.” The MSG Company offered the following statement in response: “It is common knowledge that the Daily News has a vendetta against MSG. This is attributable to a disgruntled former employee that was fired by Mr. Dolan from his position at Newsday. That employee was Timothy Knight who is now CEO of Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Daily News. This story, based on cherry-picked portions of a deposition that are grossly misleading, is just the latest evidence of how low they are willing to go with their attacks.”
Dolan, who is known to berate underlings in meetings, has inserted himself into basketball decisions and spent lavishly to try to create a competitive team. Most agree that in recent years he has left the reins to Mills, but still the most desired players won’t take his money. A spokesman for the Knicks declined to comment, saying the team is prohibited by N.B.A. rule from discussing free agency until July 6.
Players around the league also took notice when Dolan went after a former Knick. He had security personnel forcibly remove Charles Oakley, a Knicks power forward from the 1980s and ’90s who was a fan favorite, from the Garden two years ago. Oakley is liked and respected by current N.B.A. players; he posted a picture of himself with Durant on his Instagram account a few days before Durant announced that he would sign with the Nets.
Oakley, who has a lawsuit pending against Dolan over the incident, said players understand the Knicks landscape. “You see the fire burning, you don’t drive into it,” Oakley said in a telephone interview this week. “It’s as simple as that. They know what’s going on. They have more awareness these days, and they can make up their minds on their own.”
Yet interviews with agents and other basketball executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing any future business with the Knicks, bear out the perception that players would rather not deal with an organization seen as dysfunctional, though there are more nuanced explanations for the radioactivity of the team, as well. The Knicks have had very high payrolls and bafflingly low productivity for nearly two decades, a sign of mismanagement in the view of outsiders. But there is also the remote location of the Knicks’ practice facility — in suburban Westchester County, nearly 30 miles from Manhattan, which complicates living arrangements — and most recently there has been the surprising success of the Nets.
Players around the league, according to the agents, have taken note of the Knicks’ instability: There have been 10 coaches since Van Gundy left in 2001 and almost as many top executives, some with impressive résumés, like Isiah Thomas, Donnie Walsh and Phil Jackson. Now Mills and Scott Perry, the general manager, are at the helm.
“I was on the worst team in the league, and I wasn’t even playing because they thought I was too old to play,” Kanter said. “The situation and all the drama, it was so frustrating because all I wanted to do was go out there and just win. A couple of days ago, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Man, I’m blessed to be here with an amazing organization and amazing teammates that trust in me.’ It definitely feels amazing, and it’s definitely a blessing.”
Trier admitted last week he’s “absolutely’’ hoping the Knicks can land his mentor from Oklahoma City, where the Arizona product attended two years of high school. However, according to multiple sources connected to the Knicks, Trier’s lack of popularity among his veteran teammates was something of a concern in the locker room. Maybe Durant can help him if he comes.
Trier’s self-proclaimed nickname is “IsoZo” and Knicks coach David Fizdale levied praise on him as a bright spot, lauding his work ethic and overachievement as an undrafted player. Trier turned a two-way G-League contract into a spot on the 15-man roster in December. But there were warts. “His play on the court was cancerous,” one NBA source said. “A lot of guys didn’t like the way he didn’t play team ball. He cared about himself too much. He looked guys off who were open.’’
Another NBA source familiar with the situation said when players would choose sides for pickup games before or after practice, he often was one of the last chosen. The Knicks players wanted to play with guys who passed to the open man.
The same fans who continue making a huge emotional and financial investment every year when common sense tells them otherwise. Dolan has rewarded their loyalty with one playoff series victory since 2000. And if you don’t like the job he’s doing, you’d better keep that opinion to yourself or run the risk of being banned. That goes for reporters, former players and paying customers. “The commissioner needs to step in and do something, suspend him, something,” Charles Oakley told The Athletic. “He can’t keep getting away with it.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kristaps Porzingis left the Knicks with the impression that he prefers to be traded, league sources tell @Ramona Shelburne and me. Knicks are expected to commence discussions on moving him ahead of next Thursday’s deadline.
Porzingis, sidelined for nearly a year with an ACL injury, can become a restricted free agent this summer. Increasing tensions on both sides could culminate with the Knicks initiating trade talks prior to Thursday’s trade deadline or in the offseason to move Porzingis out of New York, league sources said. His uncertain standing with the Knicks has been the focus of multiple teams around the league, who’ve wondered if there would be pathway to acquire him, front office sources told ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Reporting with @ZachLowe and @RamonaShelburne: In meeting with management today, Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis expressed his concern with the losing, franchise direction and an uncertainty that a culture is developing that will enable sustainable organizational success.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Porzingis wants to play for a winner in New York, but is searching for clarity on his future role with the team and Knicks direction. Porzingis — out with an ACL injury — can be a restricted free agent this summer.
Mike Vorkunov: David Fizdale says he likes how Knicks handled this on-court dust-up btwn THJ & Trier. “I praised them in the locker room after the game, it was the first time that we had a blow up, and by the time I got to the timeout, into the huddle, it was over. That’s a growing moment.” pic.twitter.com/xU7RoAScGI
Jordan Schultz: Tim Hardaway, Jr. is not pleased w/Allonzo Trier… pic.twitter.com/NN7t4YfnCO
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May 24, 2022 | 5:01 pm EDT Update
Zach LaVine underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Chicago Bulls executives are in Los Angeles to attend various agency pro days in advance of next month’s NBA Draft and were in close contact with the two-time All-Star guard, who is expected to begin a short rehabilitation period shortly. In a release, the team termed the surgery “successful” and said LaVine is expected to make a full recovery.
Anthony Slater: Gary Payton II beginning to increase his activity level. Still limited to right-armed shooting, but workouts are amping up. Finals return seems like a possibility.
LeBron James: My thoughts and prayers goes out to the families of love ones loss & injured at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX! Like when is enough enough man!!! These are kids and we keep putting them in harms way at school. Like seriously “AT SCHOOL” where it’s suppose to be the safest!