It could be time to start planning the ticker tape parade, New York. Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan is “laying the groundwork” to sell his NBA and NHL teams, according to a report by Crain’s New York. Forget LeBron, or Paul George, or free agency altogether; for Knicks fans, who have had to endure almost two decades of Dolan’s dysfunctional leadership, this would be as good as winning the NBA Finals.
The initial stages of this process began late Wednesday, when Dolan announced he would be separating the Knicks and New York Rangers from the rest of the Madison Square Garden Company. The two sports franchises would be spun off into a separate public company that would, in theory, make it easier for Dolan to sell off his ownership stakes. Shares of MSG have skyrocketed since Dolan’s announcement.
MSG released a statement later on Friday denying any interest in selling:
Madison Square Garden Company releases statement: “There are no plans to sell the Knicks or the Rangers.”— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) June 29, 2018
The report suggests that Dolan’s true interests lie in music (shouts to JD & the Straight Shot) and building entertainment venues.
“He wants to be more Elon Musk than George Steinbrenner,” an analyst told Crain’s in May. Musk has his own issues, but I don’t think even he would’ve hired Phil Jackson.
The Jackson saga isn’t even the worst of Dolan’s controversial decisions as team owner. In 2006, a former employee sued Dolan after she said she was fired for giving an account of sexual harassment by then-president of basketball operations and head coach Isiah Thomas. Thomas was replaced as president in 2008 by Donnie Walsh, but in 2015 he was named president of the New York Liberty, the WNBA team also owned by Dolan.
The Knicks under Dolan’s watch have not made the playoffs in five years, and haven’t come close to sniffing another NBA title since winning the East more than a decade ago. They are on their 11th different head coach since Jeff Van Gundy resigned in 2001. No coach has lasted longer than three and a half seasons.
Dolan inherited MSG and the teams from his father, Charles Dolan, in 1999. He has routinely been recognized as one of the worst owners in the NBA.
This piece was updated after publication on Friday with additional information