Anthony Beers, Staff Writer
The worst thing that ever happened to the New York Knicks was James Dolan.
Dolan took over as chairman in 1999 and for a gruesome decade, Knicks fans have put up with some of the worst ownership in NBA history. Multi-million dollar contracts for failed players such as Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Eddy Curry and Jerome James are just some of the horrors Knicks fans endured for an entire decade without one playoff victory. However, hope has risen amongst Knicks fans over the past couple years, but Dolan’s business decisions continue to hurt the Knicks attempts of rising out of the darkness.
A lot has happened the last couple years in Knicks management. One of the best things Dolan ever did was hire Donnie Walsh as the team’s general manager in 2008. Walsh did what he could to overcome the ridiculous debt the Knicks were in as a result of various deals from players and coaches that Dolan overpaid. By summer 2010, the Knicks were ready to participate in what was known as a free agent frenzy. Unfortunately as Knicks fans know, LeBron James and Chris Bosh teamed up with Dwayne Wade and took their talents to South Beach. That left the Knicks with only one thing to do: ridiculously overpay Amar’e Stoudemire to become the face of the Knicks. Stoudemire received a five-year, 100-million-dollar contract, however, the team seemed to forget the fact that he has had an injury ridden career and never established himself as a premier defender in the NBA. They definitely forgot the fact that extra money could have been saved for cap space and additional players in the future. But despite Dolan’s ridiculous business decisions, in the 2010-2011 season the Knicks were a respectable club to start.
In March 2011 however, there was a huge distraction. Forward Carmelo Anthony wanted to become a Knick and James Dolan wanted him. Dolan did the only thing he could do and that was, despite knowing Anthony would be a free agent at the end of the season, he traded for him by any means necessary. The Knicks gave away young players such as Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and a first round draft pick in 2014. The Knicks also received a few players such as Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter and Shelden Williams only for them all to be off the team in a season. The real intent was entirely to get Anthony at any cost. At the end of the 2010-2011 season the Knicks got smoked by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
More distractions continued in the 2011-2012 season. The addition of dominant defensive center Tyson Chandler only made things more difficult for Stoudemire, who struggled playing the power forward position. Distractions arose as head coach Mike D’Antoni’s job was in jeopardy when the Knicks began to struggle. The outbreak of Jeremy Lin not only put the Knicks back into playoff contention but it temporarily saved D’Antoni’s job, following the spark of what was “Linsanity.” Anthony and D’Antoni had a new controversy every day, so it was only a matter of time before D’Antoni was gone. The Knicks played well following D’Antoni’s “resignation,” but suffered an embarrassing loss against the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs in 5 games.
This year Dolan is at it again. As everyone knows, Dolan allowed global attraction Jeremy Lin to sign with the Houston Rockets. He also signed players like the 38-year-old center Marcus Camby for three years for 13 million dollars. Camby only played 19 games last season and the Knicks traded away Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson, Jerome Jordan and two second round draft picks to get him. Camby isn’t worth five players when he’s 38, no matter who he is. Not to mention Dolan acquired the 40-year-old Kurt Thomas, the 39-year-old Jason Kidd, and they re-acquired Raymond Felton. Felton is back with the Knicks and is on his third team in the past year.
Every year Dolan never fails to make Knicks fans suffer with his stupidity. He inherited his father’s fortune as president of Time Warner Cable. He’s not basketball knowledge, he’s money. The Knicks are currently on their seventh head coach since Dolan took over in 1999. Knicks fans would be smart to remember Jeff Van Gundy’s surprising resignation in 2001; he clearly knew the horrors that were coming as a result of Dolan’s ownership. Today however, the Knicks are no longer the only New York basketball market. The Brooklyn Nets are about to start their first season in the Barclays Center, just one subway ride away from the Garden. The best thing that could happen to the Knicks is competition. Despite the Knicks lack of success, they have been a successful business as far as profit due to the tourist attraction and commercialism that is Madison Square Garden. If Brooklyn can draw attention, and maybe even have success, it could in a sense be good for the Knicks. It’s tough to say if this can cause changes for this struggling Knicks franchise, but it’s perhaps a start. Ironically, the Knicks season tips off in Brooklyn on November 1.