Isiah: No one more committed to Knicks than me
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#1 Jan 8, 2008
An open letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern:
Dear Mr. Stern,
You may remember a time when the NBA had a flagship franchise in New York City. Games between New York and Baltimore, or Boston, or Milwaukee, or the Lakers, and later on, the Bulls and the Rockets, were major events. They were preceded by lots of media hype. Players were celebrities who wrote books, and fans actually read them.
I'm sure you've noticed, because you're a pretty smart fella, that things aren't going so well in New York these days for the NBA. It isn't just that the team is losing - all teams go through stretches where they are terrible - it's that there is no hope of things improving. Sweetwater Clifton's Knicks lost, but at least they played well at times and we knew they cared. Spencer Haywood's Knicks lost, but at least they gave some effort and were in shape.
But, worse than the players not caring and being woefully out of shape (except for a few with precious little talent), there is an unmistakable reek of stupidity around the Garden these days. Messrs. Thomas and Dolan continue to pay premium prices for bargain basment talent, locking themselves in to long term contracts that allow the team to be held hostage to the league's salary cap rules, assuring that not only can't the team turn the corner this year, it won't be able to turn the corner next year, or the year after, or the year after that.
The team has a coach who has no clue how to coach. But since he is also the team president, he (as president) has decided that he (as coach) is doing just fine and is the best man for the job. And they were both given a 4 year contract extension as a reward for finishing with a losing record last year by an owner who is equal parts stupidity and arrogance. He thinks everything is fine, too.
You would know far better than I what having such a pathetic franchise in the largest city in the league is costing the NBA, but it has to be big money. I also can't imagine that the other owners are all that thrilled by the Knicks' propensity to richly reward mediocrity. We won't even talk about that ridiculous sideshow last fall in the courts.
So, what are you going to do, Mr. Stern? The league may still be healthy, but it's got to be feeling the effects of the Dolan Flu. Maybe it's time for intervention by the league. For the good of the league, place the Knicks under league supervision until a new owner can be found. Allow the team to buy out contracts of its worst nonproducing players and charge it all against the payroll tax this year, instead of each year the contracts are in force. That would assure that the franchise would be attractive to a new owner (since the new owner would not be impaired by the stupidity of the former one).
Who knows? You might one day see a winning NBA team in New York.
Yours in Hoops,
Since: Mar 07
#2 Jan 8, 2008
I don't go as far back as Sweetwater but I did go to the last game ever at the old Garden where the Knicks beat the next NBA champion Sixers. A rookie by the name of Walter Frazier had his first start as a knick and put up the first of his many triple doubles.
The sorrow and the shame that I feel can only be equalled by a person like yourself who has loved this team for two generations.
I really don't think Stern can do anything about the situation. He has already spoke to the father James and was told to mind his own business, that he had more important things on his mind.
It seems, that for the time being, this sickening situation will not be resolved. Thomas and Dolan will continue to ruin the Knicks and their great legacy. Red Holzman must be turning over in his grave.
#3 Jan 8, 2008
Why wouldn't Isiah be committed to the Knicks? He is one of the highest paid coaches in the league, with one of the worst records. I wish I had a job like that, poor performence higher pay. Only in Dolan's world is this possible.
If Dolan cared at all about New York and the Knicks, he would sell the team to someone that has the passion to win. At least the other New York teams have a passion to win, but not Dolan. He doesn't have to care, because the Knick sell out all the time. The people of New York should stop watching and going to the Knick games and then maybe will will get some change in the ownership of a lost franchise.
#4 Jan 8, 2008
I would say there is nothing Stern can do, but there is precedent.
The only time that I recall where the league stepped in and detached a franchise from its owner was with Cleveland and Ted Stepien. Like Dolan with Marv, Stepien fired the team's play-by-play man for criticism of the team. Sound familiar? Stepien also went through coaches at a breakneck pace (even faster than Dolan, but with less money paid out). In addition, Stepien traded away high draft picks for lesser talent (no need to go there, but Dolan has done this through both Layden and Thomas). The "Stepien Rule" was born when he traded away consecutive first round picks (somehow, Thomas avoided breaking this rule despite forfeiting consecutive lottery picks for Curry).
Anyway, with the team losing its fan base and hemorrhaging money, and with Stepien considering a move to Toronto, Stern forced the sale of the Cavs to Gordon Gund. Of course, the Knicks are not losing their fan base, they're just alienating them. Plus, the team is still profitable and will not be moved. Stern has gone to Charles Dolan to try to appeal to someone who may positively influence the situation, but anyone who has followed Cablevision's power struggles over the past decade knows that son Jim has won many battles with his father and has become firmly entrenched as the company's leader. You can call Jim Dolan many things, but as Stern has learned, you can't call him another Stepien.
#5 Jan 8, 2008
Thomas is holding the knicks hostage until somehow he finds a way to save face. He doesn't want to leave and be remembered as one of the worst coaches in the NBA's history. 3 years from now, he could finally turn the team above .500 and the only thing he'll claim is how great he did by turning this pathetic team around. He is the one who created it from scratch and will be the one to drive it into the ground for many years to come. It's a shame but the once proud franchise for many many years has become the laughing stock of the league in just a short 3 years under him. It took him just one year to bankrupt the EBA.
He won't bankrupt the Knicks but unfortunately, he is incapable of realizing that HE is the problem and until the league steps in, we Knick fans are in for a long long time before we see a winner in New York.
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