Dear Knicks Fans: Removing Phil Doesn’t Address the Real Problem
Waking up this morning, as a Knicks fan, you would have thought that the New York Knickerbockers franchise was awarded a retroactive title based on the celebrating that was occurring.
Turns out, it was just an abundance of joy at the fact that James Dolan fired Phil Jackson.
Jackson, who has been mercilessly mocked this offseason for a variety of foibles and failings, went 90–171 during his tenure as President of Basketball Operations. He tried to shoehorn his preferred offense, the Triangle, onto a squad and a coaching staff that was not completely bought in. He feuded with his big money star player (Carmelo Anthony) AND his up and coming rising star (Kristaps Porzingas).
He gave a big money free agent contract to Joakim Noah and the fork sticking out of Noah’s back.
Allegedly, he is difficult for other executives to get in contact with; getting Phil’s cell phone number is apparently the 13th labor of Hercules. He apparently fell asleep during a workout for a prospect during this draft season.
Phil was, to be blunt, an unmitigated disaster. It is probably a good thing that he is gone.
However, Phil’s departure doesn’t address the actual problem.
James Dolan is still the owner of this woebegone franchise.
The same James Dolan who called a long-time season ticket holder “an asshole”.
The same James Dolan who had beef with Knicks legend Charles Oakley that ran so long and so deep that he had Oak thrown out of Madison Square Garden on national television this February.
The same James Dolan who is apparently so smitten with former Pistons guard Isiah Thomas that he allowed Zeke to come back to run the New York Liberty after years of piss poor management of the Knicks and a sexual harassment lawsuit.
The same James Dolan who decided to go ahead and give Phil Jackson an extension earlier this year before dropping the axe on him today.
The same James Dolan who decided that he would rather play a gig with his shitty band than be around during the draft last Thursday.
Yeah. That guy is still running things. That guy is still signing the checks. That guy is still making the critical decisions. And now there is a power vacuum as the franchise heads into free agency on Saturday morning.
Look, in basketball, it is easy to get rid of the coach. It is easy to get rid of the general manager or the president of basketball operations. It is relatively easy to get rid of many of the players (unless your deposed president of basketball operations did something stupid and gave your unhappy major star a no-trade clause).
It is almost impossible to get rid of the owner.
So, Knicks fan need to hope that Dolan either decides to sell the team of his own volition (which isn’t going to happen), or hope that there is a bitter mistress somewhere that has tapes of Dolan making some extremely racist remarks.
The alternative, at this point, would be to pull all support from the team. Don’t buy tickets. Don’t renew season tickets. Stop buying merchandise. It would require complete collusion of all Knicks fans everywhere to pull that off. It just doesn’t seem feasible, though. It’s also hard to predict if it would impact Dolan’s wallet enough to make him consider selling the franchise.
Of course, it could be worse, Knicks fans.
He could decide to give Phil’s old job to Isiah Thomas again.