By Sam Rubenstein

Wow! NBA lesson #1A) New York Knicks owner James Dolan does not give a f–k! The guy has shown an uncanny knack for terrible judgment over the years – I don’t need to bring up the dirty laundry list now – but at a time when the Knicks are shall we say receiving more negative coverage than positive, he has chosen to remind us all of the big mistake that got the ball rolling. Some say it was trading Patrick Ewing for a handful of dead weight contracts. Maybe so, but really it goes back to the Allan Houston contract.

Nobody else was going to give Allan more than $75 million. James gave him $100 million. That was 2001. I like to think of it as not only a salary cap nightmare in itself, but a precedent setter. The New York Knicks have become content to give ludicrous amounts of money to basically anyone even if there wasn’t an established market for that person, and the Houston contract pioneered that trend. If only life worked out like that for all of us. We should all be able to work for James Dolan, except without all that “other stuff.”

Much like Mark McGwire, I’m not here to talk about the past. Houston the player had his flaws, but he did have some amazing nights after signing the big deal. He scored 50 on Kobe in L.A. He earned his spot as an All-Star in his prime, but the contract was always the thing. In baseball it wouldn’t (or more accuratley shouldn’t, but it still is) be as big of a deal cause there is no salary cap, but the investment the Knicks made in Houston put them in an impossible spot when trying to lure superstar free agents. NBA superstars like being the highest paid player on their team. It’s a respect thing for them. When a jump shooter, destined to become a second option is making the big money, it’s hard to lure a true “superstar.” So Dolan threw a bunch of money at a never-ending string of players, hoping that they would blossom into true stars once they got here. It hasn’t worked out yet, but again I’m not here to talk about the past.

This is a much more affordable Allan. He always has been a “good character” player, take that for whatever it means to you. The Knicks have had an interesting off-season to say the least, and they could use a nice fluff story. His contribution to the team on the court is to um… hope someone gives him the ball when he’s wide open? Wait behind the line for Z-Bo or Eddy Curry to draw the double team and kick it out? Good luck with all that. I’m sure they’ll say this is a locker room move, to get a respected veteran presence and so on. It’s really a PR move, and I have to say, not a bad idea.

The Knicks have a home game tonight vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, and this gives a nice distraction from all the Isiah booing or whatever happens. Sherman Johnson, who wrote yesterday’s Sacramento Kings season preview, will be in attendance and he’ll have his game notes tomorrow.

I just find it amusing that while people are making their lists of James Dolan’s biggest mistakes, he’s happy to show them the living embodiment of one of the worst he’s made. Nicely done, Jimmy! Your defiance knows no limits. Respect.

Alright, busy day today. I’m taking a day off from the season previews cause we have a big feature thing ready to go and it gives those of you who haven’t turned in your previews to handle that over the weekend.