A lot of people are sending out images of Jimmy Dolan, the idiot owner of the Knicks, and Isiah Thomas today, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a logical way to go. But right now, one image sticks with me.
I held on to the Daily News from the day of Carmelo AnthonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s debut against the Bucks at the Garden. The picture on the back cover featured Carmelo just kind of looking around, while Dolan claps moronically like one of those clapping monkey toys with the cymbals. Jimmy is sitting next to his wife, Kristin, a Cablevision executive who as usual looks somewhat embarrassed to be pictured with him.
It was perfect.
Anyone who had watched the disgraceful press conference earlier knew that in JimmyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head, he alone had brought Melo to the Garden! — as if that was some sort of endgame.
Meanwhile, it was president Donnie WalshÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stellar ability to do his job that allowed the Knicks to collect the quality assets that not only had them competitive for once, but gave them the ability to make deals for upper-level talent. Walsh also knew he had leverage in negotiations for Carmelo Anthony, as it was pretty clear he was only going to play for the Knicks.
In one horrible All-Star Weekend, Dolan shot it all to hell. When I heard Jimmy had made the trip out to Los Angeles while Walsh sat at home, my heart sank. And Dolan proceeded to tear down several years of patience, hard work, progress and competence.
The night the Knicks traded for Carmelo Anthony, I stayed up until about 4 a.m. taking calls from people — mostly my friends, irrationally excited that Carmelo was coming to town — and writing this, about how it was effectively the end of the Donnie Walsh era. It was one of those Catch 22s when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re 100% certain youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re right, but hope to God youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re somehow not.
The fact remains, and this is something Mets fans are all too familiar with, no matter what else is going on, your team is only as good as its owner.
Though I had full confidence in what Walsh was attempting to do, I knew deep down Dolan would never let him get there. Giving Walsh full autonomy was out of the question for Dolan; Donnie wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enough of a sycophant, and Jimmy wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t getting enough of the credit for all that stuff he had nothing to do with.
So Walsh had to go. According to Frank Isola, Jim DolanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s contract offer included a 40% pay cut that there was less than zero chance he would accept. Basically, Jimmy wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t confident he had ensured that the working conditions were such that Donnie wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stick around, so he lowballed the hell out of him.
What are we left with? Glen Grunwald is the interim GM. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know much about him, except that he goes way, way back with Isiah Thomas. In fact, he followed Isiah as general manager of the Raptors after being hired as assistant GM byÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Isiah.
Have you ever seen Glen Grunwald, by the way? He looks absolutely preposterous. From his name, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d expect some older guy with glasses, maybe looking like ESPNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s John Clayton. Instead, he looks sort of like a grown-up version of Johnny from the Cobra Kai, which sounds about right.
I would assume theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to turn the whole thing over to CAA, who represents current team consultant Mark Warkentien. Warkentien won Executive of the Year once on the strength of shrewdly trading Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups. Of course, that move came after having traded for Allen Iverson.
Or maybe Allan Houston gets the gig. Houston was a good shooting guard; I have no idea if he has any sort of acumen to be a basketball executive.
I guess maybe I should be inspired by Jimmy DolanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heartwarming rise to the top, overcoming a raging drug and alcohol problem in the early 90Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s to quickly resume his corporate climb, being named CEO of Cablevision in 1995 by his daddy. Jimmy fought tooth and nail for everything he has in life, including the record contract gifted to his horrible blues band by his friend, Universal CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., the music and liquor version of Jim Dolan.
In all seriousness, if thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one good thing about watching a sports team youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve loved since you were a kid be so horribly run into the ground by its owner, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s that it makes the daily annoyances of life seem a little more trivial. That guy constantly and inexplicably outside my apartment with his dustblower — every single day! — well, at least heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the guy ruining the Knicks.
Dustblower guy, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re all right with me.
Jimmy Dolan? That guy can go straight to hell.
So why exactly did I hold on to this Daily News with a cover that enrages me? It was to keep me grounded. Every time I started to get into a Knicks game down the stretch, I looked at that newspaper and was reminded to not invest myself too much in a team owned by a blithering, nepotism-fueled idiot.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure Jimmy will be courtside again for certain games next year, maybe when the Heat are in town, clapping and grinning like an idiot.
Just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect me to be there with him.