2. The Open Letter to James Dolan
Mr. James Dolan, congratulations on presenting the Knicks fan base with a team that is above .500 and currently in playoff position as the NBA nears the All Star break. The tide appears to be turning on a decade of ineptitude over at Madison Square Garden. Thank you for finally relenting to the Stewardship (imported from without) of Donnie Walsh. I don’t know you any more than a bump on a log deep in the woods but despite much negative press, there are many things that I do read and hear about you out in the airwaves, the dailies and the blogosphere that I can respect.
For one thing, I can admire the loyalty you afford your friends. It’s neat that you have maintained your friendship with Isaiah Thomas despite the slings and arrows lobbied at Thomas’ direction. Especially so, since “Zeke” fell on the sword for the organization. Fell hard, while desperately trying to retool the Knicks rather than rebuild them in the far off days before the multi star alignments of super teams and friends.
It’s also admirable that at a certain point you were willing to acknowledge your franchise’s disarray and ask for and accept help from without. And good help indeed from none other than Donnie Walsh. An old shark and the West’s very own version of a Zen Rock Gardener. It’s also excellent that you’ve thus far have given the old shark free reign to reconstruct the franchise. Even better that the old Soviet era media policy has been lifted like the iron curtain from Russia. Heck now the Knicks go viral with the likes of Landry Fields.
What’s even more admirable is that you’re combative and willing to fight to advance a position, defend your turf and defend your friend. It’s not just that you put your money where your mouth is to back Zeke up with what many in these hear parts label ABS (all bullsquat). Then there’s the battle against the construction of West Side Stadium to protect your home turf and back yard. Sure you don’t win em all but you do back your causes and take the fight to the adversary. Wholly admirable!
Now let fill you in on why I’m writing this letter to you.
Isn’t it unfair that when the Knicks finally play by the rules of cap space, roster flexibility and the solid draftsmanship of young assets that the league may just pull the rug out from underneath the model you’ve adopted under Walsh’s stewardship. I mean does a personal trainer pull out a monster buffet out in front of the winner of the biggest loser diet?
Aren’t you already about to pay a ransom to small and mid sized market teams because they all need that fat wad of cheddar from your lucrative media empire? That the league would consider pulling out the rug out from underneath the excellent fiscal and talent rehab job your organization has undertaken simply to feed the lesser franchise all while slapping big markets like yours with an all at once stringent new CBA is insulting and dasterdly. Your broadcast revenues in a more revenue sharing friendly league would support welfare franchises like Denver who are now asking for even more in exchange for Anthony. Playing you and your lesser big market rival Prokhorov against one another.
Denver appears to be playing divide and conquer from within with you and your management team. They are pitting you against rivals. Media outlets (and I’m sure the Nuggets) swing around the the threat of a new CBA with franchise tags and an all in at once implementation. This has always been there dark card of fear to play against Carmelo and the reason he may be fickle resulting in the different postures within your organization to sell the whole damn barn. But if you sell that whole damn barn for some very good seed won’t you end up like a sharecropper with nary an acre of land let alone a mule. Back to the drawing board? Two stars and no supporting cast? Seriously!
But the thing is that since you’re a fighter who has backed those in your corner, then why not now threaten to fight and fight if necessary the all at once new CBA that throws dirty and the best rebuilding effort the Garden has seen in a decade?
I can’t believe that your Knicks and all big market ownership with vast broadcast empires and revenues streams can look upon a franchise tag with warmth. Wouldn’t such a world under a harder if not hard cap, with a franchise tag be one that limits the free flow of Stars. The flow of Stars to the big Markets that are in best position to showcase such stars and generate more revenue off such talent
Then why not then back the hard poker playing man whose revived your team. Get Donnie back and bargains and fights the franchise tag and an all at once implementation of a hard cap. If the Nuggets are wielding fear like a wild berserker in an attempt to pit you against a rival and all the while fracturing your ownership group, then do the same. Divide ownership and gather your large market allies who also abhor an all at once hard cap and franchise tag. Take Denver’s biggest piece of fear induced leverage away from them.
If you have ever taken a stand for his team do so now. Stop being the obsequious weak link in the Knicks bargaining shop. Don’t offer the whole plantation for good seed to be left a sharecropper. Sure make a firm and fair offer (IMHO Felton, (one of Fields, Gallinari or Chandler) a first rounder from trading Randolph and another first rounder). But don’t give it all away. Most importantly stand united with your management team. Denver is looking to exploit weakness from within your organization.
Lastly fight it out if necessary to take out Denver’s biggest piece of fear inducing leverage, even if it means threatening or actually fracturing ownership. You and Madison Square Garden have done all Stern’s asked for to rebuild the Knicks and rehab its public image. Isn’t it about time he not pull the rug out from underneath you and work with your big market brethren to phase in the provision of a new CBA that undermine all the fine work your organization’s been doing.
Just blogging but I sort of mean it (as naive as that may be)!