Admittedly, New York Knicks owner James Dolan is no basketball genius. That’s why he hired one in Phil Jackson, and claims to have given full autonomy in front-office matters. The Knicks are doing all they can to retain soon-to-be free agent Carmelo Anthony, and it’d be wise for Dolan to be out of the picture during the wooing process given his, um, negotiating tactics. Per the NY Post and Yahoo!:
“Absolutely,” Dolan said after the press conference announcing Jackson’s appointment. “Carmelo wants to be on a winning team. I think Carmelo and rest of team felt they were going into the season with an excellent chance of going deep into the playoffs. Everybody was taken by surprise. I know Carmelo wants to be on a winner and it was getting hard here to see how this team was going to do that. I think bringing Phil on will clear a lot of that up.”
Anthony, who is averaging 28 points per game, can become a free agent at the end of the season. He has been frustrated by the Knicks losing season and has expressed an interest to test the free-agent market, though the Knicks can pay him roughly $30 million more than any other team.
“There’s no doubt about Carmelo being one of the top scorers in the league, maybe the best individual isolation player in the game,” Jackson said. “I have no problems with committing to saying Carmelo is in the future plans. I think there are a number of things I see Carmelo doing as he moves forward. And I think I was on record saying a year ago that I think Carmelo, as great a player as he is, still has another level he can go to. And I hope together, with the team we create, he can get there.”
When New York Knicks executives chased free agents in the summer of 2010, owner James Dolan made himself a part of the presentations. He isn’t the most engaging, enchanting man, but Dolan does fancy himself a musician. So, yes, there were player and agent meetings four years ago when Dolan delivered a parting gift on the way out of the room.
“He passed out copies of his CD,” said a source, who stuffed his copy of one into a bag and no longer remembers where it’s gone.
It featured the melodies of JD and the Straight Shot, Dolan’s corner-bar band that bought itself into the opening act on tour with the Eagles. Dolan’s world revolves around the Eagles, and no one has helped meld his fantasy camp/groupie life of bad teams and super groups more gloriously than notorious ball-busting Eagles business manager Irving Azoff.
Tuesday, here was Azoff, sitting with Glenn Frey at Madison Square Garden, taking bows, in the words of Dolan, for “brokering” and “negotiating” Jackson’s $60 million contract with the Knicks. It prompted Dolan to declare himself out of the business of the basketball front-office business, mumbling something about, “I am by no means an expert in basketball…”