Pessimists, cynics and rightfully frustrated Knicks fans can list volumes of the franchise’s two-plus decades of failed personnel moves—involving coaches, players and front office executives—illogical and foolish contracts, and public disputes and confrontations that have created an image of the organization as dysfunctional and incompetent.
Local and national media seized on the opportunity to forward the aforementioned narrative with the latest incident involving Knicks’ owner James Dolan. Last Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden after the Knicks were defeated by the Sacramento Kings by 115-108, a fan yelled at Dolan “sell the team” as he was heading into a tunnel exiting the court.
Dolan, in what in hindsight was an unwise decision, stopped to engage the man replying “So you think I should sell the team?” in a relatively calm manner. “You want to not come to any more games?” Dolan then asked.
When the patron then maintained “It’s an opinion,” Dolan, clearly agitated, slapped down on the railing separating him and the fan with his right hand and countered “No, it’s not an opinion. And you know what, enjoy watching them on TV” implying the fan would be banned from future games.
In an interview Tuesday on the “Micheal Kay Show” on 98.7 ESPN New York, Dolan asserted “the whole thing was planned” and the fan’s intent was to sell the video to the tabloid news website TMZ. The episode further illuminated the Knicks’ seemingly never-ending battle to gain respectability both on and off the court.
This season marks the sixth in a row they haven’t made the playoffs and at 13-55 are at the bottom of the NBA standings with the league’s worst record. Beginning tomorrow in San Antonio against the Spurs, the Knicks have 14 games left this season, nine of which are at MSG.
They should be endeavoring to leave a positive lasting impression—as much as a team currently 42 games under .500 can—on the home crowd heading into a critical offseason during which the Knicks hope to add cornerstone pieces through the draft and free-agency that will decisively alter the course of the franchise.
While Dennis Smith Jr. has yet to show he is that level of player and DeAndre Jordan’s days as an elite NBA performer are behind him, since being acquired in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks for Kristaps Porzingis last month, the pair has been a model of what the franchise wants to represent. Jordan is a selfless veteran who has unconditionally mentored the young players, particularly 20-year-old Mitchell Robinson. Smith is a raw athletic talent who has embraced learning the cerebral nuances of the point guard position and building his utility.
They have been a little light in a season that otherwise has been devoid of much sunshine.