New York Knicks continue to make headlines for the wrong reasons

NBA New York Knicks fans (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NBA New York Knicks fans (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks are once again making headlines for the wrong reasons

The New York Knicks just played one of their best games of the season, upsetting a red hot Houston Rockets team at home. RJ Barrett had his best game as a rookie and the Madison Square Garden crowd was rocking as always.

Once again, the playoffs are a long shot for the Knicks and they will be in the draft lottery, a place that has become a stable for them throughout the years. With this being said, it would have been nice to talk about the big game from Barrett and how the Knicks pulled out a hard-fought win but there was a different story that dominated the headlines after the game.

The headlines were all about Spike Lee and James Dolan’s decision to make him come to the arena through a different entrance. It is easy to see both sides here but it further insinuates the dysfunction that surrounds this franchise.

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The fact that this is even a story and getting the media coverage that is, shows the state of the Knicks for the past couple of decades. The media feeds off of the drama attracted to the franchise and they never fail to deliver. They have truly become one of the laughing stocks of the league.

Whether it was the Charles Oakley situation, Phil Jackson‘s tenure with the team, or the most recent situation with Spike Lee, the Knicks continue to prove that they are one of the most dysfunctional franchises in all of sports and at the head of it, is James Dolan.

Easily one of the worst owners in all of sports, James Dolan has been called out by many who proclaim he is the reason the Knicks have been bad for so many years. He is not the only reason they have stunk it up this century but he plays a huge role in their failure. Since taking over the team in 2000, they have made the playoffs five times and progressed out of the first round a grand total of one time.

The inability to attract free agents is the main reason Dolan isn’t viewed in a positive light by Knicks fans themselves. One of the biggest markets in the world along with the greatest arena in all of American sports, all goes to waste when Dolan is the owner. These public wars Dolan has fought with iconic figures does not sit right with the fans and has shed such a bad light upon the franchise. It would be surprising to see any star be a Knick through free agency any time soon.

Kevin Durant, who was one of the Knicks targets in free agency this past summer, came out and said he didn’t even see them as an option in his free agency tour. He ended up choosing the cross-town rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, who are now the preferred destination in the state of New York as of right now.

The Nets have a foundation and culture which attracted the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, while the Knicks are still looking for their first-star free agent to walk through the door. For the time being, as long as Dolan is the owner, that wait will have to continue.

Being an owner of a sports team and actually getting involved with the on-court operations is a hit or miss deal. In Dolan’s case, it has clearly missed. For example, in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys have an owner who is constantly in the news. Doing press conferences regularly throughout the year, Jerry Jones has made the Cowboys all about himself. Whenever you think of the Cowboys, the bus stops with Jerry Jones. Like the Knicks, the Cowboys haven’t tasted a title in decades and fingers can be pointed at their owner Jerry Jones.

There are also owners like Mark Cuban and Steve Balmer, who have adapted to today’s culture and been much more player-friendly. The Dallas Mavericks have a championship to their name in the last decade and it’s only a matter of time before the LA Clippers hang their first banner. Owners such as these two have shown the positive impact of being hands-on as an owner of a team, while Dolan has been the exact opposite.

Another reason why the Knicks haven’t been successful is because of entitlement to winning the Knicks and their fans feel that they have. It is easy to point fingers at the front office for not acquiring players but the structure of the team has played a huge role in the dysfunction of the franchise for years.

With New York being such a big market and one of the most popular cities in American sports, they’ve never had to rebuild the way a lot of the smaller franchises in the league have had to do. The general population of Knicks fans and even the front office, have this expectation that they have to be good every year and that resonates with the team that is put together and the reaction the fans give.

The young players have never developed the way people had hoped and that is because of the team that is put together every year. When drafting young players as the Knicks have done, you have to let them play and figure things out. One bad game and every fan is calling for that player to be benched.

The energy around the Knicks and their fanbase is extremely toxic, making it hard for them to ever succeed. It seems that the Knicks and their fanbase don’t believe in failing before they can succeed because they won’t allow the team to fail while rebuilding. They’ll go out and sign players like Elfrid Payton and Bobby Portis, who are solid rotation pieces but are taking away minutes from players that you drafted.

Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox Jr. Mitchell Robinson are all guys drafted by the Knicks are having their minutes taken away by players who are not helping them win either. It would be a different story if those players were leading the Knicks to the playoffs but at the end of the day, they’re hindering the growth of the youngsters and we’ll never get to see their full potential.

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This doesn’t mean letting the young guys play will make them playoff contenders right away but it further adds to the dysfunction and lack of culture with the organization. They don’t know how to rebuild because they feel like a couple of championships in the 1970s make them a great franchise. They are a great band but a great franchise? Far from it. There are many things stopping the Knicks from being great and if there aren’t any changes, which don’t seem to be coming, they will be stuck in dysfunction and go through the same cycle year after year.