It is time for James Dolan to step down as owner and boss of the New York Knicks. In his tensure, from 1999 to the present, the Knicks have been abysmal.
Although the Knicks made the NBA finals in 1999, Dolan's first year in the helm (when he had much less influence), they only had one winning season until the 2010-2011 season. Numerous media and informal fan polls, including a recent Sports Illustrated poll, have ranked Dolan the worst owner in the NBA. In 2007, NBA Commissioner David Stern criticized Dolan's management of the Knicks, saying "they're not a model of intelligent management."
Examples of Dolan's poor management of the Knicks are abundant. In 2001, at a time when nobody else had offered more than $75 million, he gave guard Allan Houston a 6-year, $100 million contract. (After four injury-plagued years, with over $40 million remaining on his contract, Houston was gone.) In 2005, the Knicks signed head coach Larry Brown to a 5-year, $50-million contract. Brown was one of many "saviors" that Dolan had brought in (the latest being forward Carmelo Anthony). Brown coached one season before Dolan fired him and bought out Brown's contract for $18 million. The net result: Brown made a cool $28 million by coaching the Knicks for just a year.
Perhaps his most infamous decision was to hire Isiah Thomas as team president of basketball operations and general manager. He continued to support Thomas through five seasons as both President and then coach, seasons in which the Knicks made the playoffs only once. He even presented Thomas a contract extension despite his poor performance. What was even worse was his support of Thomas' treatment of Knicks executive Anucha Brown Sanders, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment. When she complained to Dolan about Thomas, he fired her, resulting in her successful $11-million lawsuit against Dolan and the Knicks in 2007.
Reportedly, Dolan still seeks the advice of Thomas as when he decided to make a controversial trade for Carmelo Anthony in 2011 against the advice of coach Mike D'Antoni and general manager Donnie Walsh. The Knicks' win-loss record has become worse, rather than better, since getting Anthony.
Most recently Dolan decided not to match the offer made to Lin by the Houston Rockets, and Lin was gone, along with the dreams of millions of fans. He had single-handedly led the Knicks back to relevance in the 2010 season. Why would Dolan let such a player go? That is the question I keep asking myself.
Throughout the weeks leading up to deadline for matching Houston's offer, the Knicks kept insisting they would match the offer and retain Lin. Then, when Houston sweetened the pot by offering Lin a three-year, $25-million offer, back-loading their offer sheet with a $15 million salary in the third season of the deal, the Knicks balked. The Knicks complained that if they matched Houston's offer, they would face a huge luxury tax in the 2014-15 season of between $30 to $40 million, because of other big contracts on their books. But underlying this was Dolan's feeling that Lynn had betrayed the knicks by hiring a publicity agent and by restructuring his contract with the Rockets to get more money.
When it comes to the Knicks, it seems as if "the inmates have taken over the asylum." Owners, like everybody else, can be subject to personality disorders. Dolan has a history of drug abuse. In 1993, he underwent drug rehabilitation at the Hazelden clinic in Center City, Minn. A person has to be psychologically well-balanced to run a team, just as he does to coach or play for a team. Dolan has not demonstrated that kind of balance. The way he runs the team is akin to how dictators run countries.
Dolan has never been a basketball person. In college he majored in music, and even now he plays in a band, which seems to be his main love.
Knicks fans, who have waited for another championship team since 1972, deserve an and owner and boss who knows what he is doing. We are asking James Dolan, for the good of the New York Knicks, to step down and give somebody else a chance to bring the New York Knicks back to the exciting level the achieved from 1969 to 1972. Step down James Dolan. For once, do the right thing.