D.A.: James Dolan Will Prevent Knicks From Landing Superstar Players

James Dolan doesn't play, coach, or roster-build, but he has poisoned the Knicks' entire organization, Damon Amendolara says

Damon Amendolara
March 15, 2019 - 1:57 pm

He doesn't play. He doesn't coach. He doesn't build the roster. So how is it that James Dolan stands in the way of the Knicks ever winning a championship? It's because he poisons the entire organization, a noxious fume that permeates all rooms of Madison Square Garden. And people with options – good, talented, successful people – would prefer to run to the Staten Island dump than work for him. 

This week, Dolan dealt with the fallout surrounding his blowup with a fan by, of course, making it worse. Instead of simply admitting an error and being diplomatic, he doubled down on his paranoia and tyrannical ways. Dolan claimed it was an "ambush" as the fan set him up. This is all quite charming coming from a son of a billionaire who never did anything on his own to actually own the Knicks and Rangers. Daddy handed him the keys to two professional franchises and the most famous arena in the world as a graduation present, and now he's looking for sympathy. 

The worst record in the NBA over the last 15 years belongs to the Knicks, which is nearly impossible to believe until you think about the owner. Franchises with half the resources, far smaller markets, much worse arena deals, have won more. All of them. The Suns, the Timberwolves, the Magic have all gone through massive stretches of losing in that time. The Nets had all of their draft picks stolen by the Celtics. The Sixers created a plan to try to lose as many games as possible for years. None of them have been as bad as the Knicks. 

This is because Dolan has a broken radar on hiring the appropriate people. Steve Mills has overseen years of disasters yet remains employed. Phil Jackson was looking to barely work while collecting a massive paycheck. Isiah Thomas became an NBA pariah, a punchline to endless jokes, and was embroiled in a sexual harassment case. He is unemployable around the NBA, except for Dolan. 

As for the people who are good at their job? They are run out of town for challenging Dolan's idiocy like Donnie Walsh. Those with options would prefer to avoid his ignorance like Steve Kerr. Which brings us to this summer's free agent bonanza. The Knicks have positioned themselves to be major players in the Summer of the Max, clearing space for a pair of monster contracts. The idea is simple: to offer as much cash as possible to as many stars as they can, and hope to get two to bite. This is so classically Knicks it's beyond delicious. Take the roster work out of the equation because they keep butchering that. Eliminate needing to evaluate draft picks because they're atrocious at that. Just dig a deep enough hole of money for two players to fall into, then throw a net over them. 

But for great players with decent options, why would they choose the Knicks and an organization of instability and dysfunction? Are Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson going to willingly enter into the MSG mess? Fat chance. More likely, second-tier players like Kemba Walker or Tobias Harris will have to do for the Knicks' front office – and tortured fan base. Guaranteed it will yet again not be enough to win. Players and agents around the league are well aware of what dealing with the Knicks disaster entails. The ones only looking for a quick cash grab will rationalize and sign on the dotted line. And yet again, those will not be the types of players it takes to drag the carcass out of the fire. The great players will flee elsewhere, to teams and cities with far less historical cache. They will do so because they don't want to deal with the Dolan Delirium, and who can blame them? The disgrace of the Knicks will happen in perpetuity, until the real problem finally sells the team. 

Damon Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show,” from 9:00AM-12:00PM, ET, across the country on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. “The D.A. Show” is known for its unique perspective on sports, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, colorful listener interaction, and candid interviews with athletes and coaches. Amendolara also appears regularly on NFL Network as part of the “NFL Top 10” documentary film series, CBS television and SNY TV. He is a Syracuse University grad and native of Warwick, N.Y.