Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, December 22, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: DOLAN SPEAKS!

In the Mouth of Madness 7

 

I… just read the whole thing. The Isiah stuff is certainly going to really ring the media’s cherries (Isiah Day! Again! Yay!), but there are 3-4 other gobsmacking/downright weird things that James Dolan says in his interview with Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post.

This may be a tad hyperbolic, but from now till the end of time, November 22nd will no longer be known as the day JFK was shot, it is the day we actually got to peer inside the mind of the least self-aware, most blindingly self-indulgent billionaire/shitty musician on the planet. All emphasis is mine. Enjoy.

 

MV: How patient will you be with him? He understood when he took the job the expectations that go with it. Will you give him a long rope?

JD: I have a lot of confidence in Woodson, and one thing I can say about Mike is he has the respect of all the players. They all respect him. And he treats them fairly and relatively equally, and that’s part of where the respect emanates from. And those are hard things to get from a coach. When a coach loses a team … that’s when a coach is kind of done.

MV: You’ve shown tolerance as an owner; [GM] Glen Sather had a lot of empty years with the Rangers before he showed success. Do you feel you’re more patient than an average owner?

JD: I really don’t compare myself with other owners. I’ll bet you I’m more patient than Mikhail [Prokhorov] is of his team. Mostly, I think it does not pay to be impatient, because you destabilize your team. It’s not like the players don’t want to win, it’s not like the owner doesn’t want to win; everybody wants to win, so it’s a question of: Can you get there? With Mike, I think he can get us there. Mostly, I think Carmelo [Anthony] can get us there, and the other players can get us there, they’re going to have to jell and I think Mike can do a lot to get that to happen. Because he has their respect.

THAT’S FUNNY, MR. DOLAN. YOU’RE NOT SO MUCH ‘PATIENT’ AS WILLFULLY STUBBORN, BUT IF YOU WANT TO THINK SO, GO RIGHT AHEAD. ALSO, WAY TO BRING UP PROKHOROV WHEN HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUESTION, SAVE FOR YOUR OWN WEIRD, NON-EXISTENT RIVALRY/OBSESSION WITH ONE OF THE FEW DUDES THAT’S RICHER THAN YOU ARE. HAHAHAHAHAHA

MV: So this bad start …

JD: It’s going right according to plan (laughs) …

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

JD: You are not what you own.

OH GOOD. I REALLY WANT TO GET WATERED-DOWN FIGHT CLUB-ISH LIFE ADVICE FROM JAMES DOLAN. THAT’S EXACLY WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR IN THIS INTERVIEW. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

MV: A few days before training camp you changed general managers; why do that so close to the start of camp? Did something change from the start of summer to the end?

JD: I didn’t time it, per se, like that. I’m surprised other folks were surprised about this. The general manager’s work doesn’t really occur at that time of year. If you’re going to change general managers that’s probably the right time to do it.

YES. THAT MAKES TOTAL SENSE. CHANGE GM’S RIGHT BEFORE CAMP. YOU KNOW, AFTER THE GM YOU THINK ISN’T UP TO THE JOB HAS ALREADY BUILT THIS YEAR’S TEAM. GREAT IDEA, BOSS. LIKE YOU SAID, EVERYTHING IS GOING ACCORDING TO THE PLAN. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

MV: For Knicks fans there’s one word that riles their passion more than any other: Isiah.

JD: Amazing, isn’t it?

MV: And you surely know the panic that ensues when a Glen Grunwald gets fired and people wonder, “Is Isiah coming back?”

JD: I can’t control what’s in other people’s minds. I can tell you that he’s a friend of mine. We speak, but not as often as we used to because he’s really involved in other things now. We’ll message back and forth once in a while. We used to talk a lot more often. He seems to be moving into another phase of his life, he’s not as basketball-centric, he’s doing a lot of charity work, he got his masters [in education, from Cal-Berkeley], he actually uses me to bounce business ideas off of …

MV: Do you still consult him, too, about basketball ideas?

JD: Not really. For Isiah, I don’t know that he’ll ever be able to work in New York. I just don’t know that he’ll ever get a fair shake, going forward in New York?

MV: Do you think that’s unfair? He did lose a lot of games here.

JD: He lost a lot of games! OK. Do I think he deserves another shot? Yeah. It just can’t be here. And I think he’s talented. I think he’s particularly talented at finding basketball talent. But I think he’s probably dismayed at this point. But I don’t see him coming back to New York. I couldn’t do that to him, and I couldn’t do that to the organization. He would probably do it as my friend but I couldn’t do it to him or his family.

WELL, ISN’T THAT NICE OF MR. DOLAN, PUTTING ZEKE’S FAMILY FIRST. MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST TIME TO BRING THIS UP, BUT THIS IS THE SAME ISIAH THOMAS THAT ATTEMPTED TO PUBLICLY BLAME HIS DAUGHTER FOR HIS OWN POSSIBLE OVERDOSE. AND YES, HE CERTAINLY DID LOSE A LOT OF GAMES. HE ALSO COST YOUR ORGANIZATION MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BECAUSE HE WAS SEXUALLY HARASSING ANOTHER EMPLOYEE OF YOURS AND HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA /dies.

That’s an amazing get by Vacc. It would’ve been nice if he could’ve asked about Jeremy Lin, but I’m sure there were certain topics that were deemed off limits. I’m also going to assume that half of the questions had to be about music, which was smart, since it seemed to loosen up our beloved-dictator-for-life, such that he’d wax poetic about matters of greater import to you or I. The piece closes with some talk about the Rangers and some fairly detailed chatter about the glorious future of the Knicks City Dancers, because of course it does. This is… I have no words. We’re so deep down the rabbit hole that we may never emerge, no matter how many inaccurately-labeled concoctions we imbibe.

Like Samuel Beckett wrote, “We are all born mad; some remain so.”

57 comments on “BREAKING NEWS: DOLAN SPEAKS!

  1. massive

    I also read the whole article, like I commented in the last thread. When he speaks about being impatient and its effect on teams, I think he was speaking from experience. I didn’t think he was oblivious to what happened or his shortcomings, either. The interview mentions that he has hired a consulting firm, that Grunwald was let go because the Knicks are changing from the “old school, eye test” way of doing things to decisions based on more advanced numbers. I don’t think it’s fair to not mention that, as Steve Mills also said similar things when he was doing an interview a month or so ago. It also goes with the trend of players the Knicks want to trade Iman Shumpert for (Faried, Rondo, and Asik).

    This interview gave me some (probably foolish) hope that Dolan can own a championship team. I was worried when he said that he feels owners must be involved (because we all know he shouldn’t do that ever), but all in all I didn’t cringe at his responses.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Frank Isola responds knowing that he would never be afforded the opportunity for this kinda thing. Probably his usual smug, annoying, disrespectful way. The usual.

  2. Robert Silverman Post author

    massive —

    1. If he’s ‘speaking from experience’ it would be nice of him to say, “I’ve been too impatient in the past” and not “other people are too impatient, as if he’d never made such mistakes.

    2. Every multi-billion dollar org hires consultants. The fact that he needs to crow about it makes him look clueless.

    3. w/r/t analytics, I don’t believe a word of it. I think Dolan/Mills are saying it because they know that it makes them sound good and it has zero to do with why Grunwald was fired. Sure, you could certainly take what they say at face value. In my experience, that hasn’t been a sound course of action.

    4. There’s been zero chatter about Asik to the Knicks. And yes, Rondo and Faried are nice shiny prizes to covet, but even teams that don’t use advanced metrics think they’re both boffo.

    5. I did cringe at his responses. Dolan is unable to correctly perceive reality.

  3. ruruland

    Robert, you honestly believe James Dolan is now making up talking points about using advanced stats to please a small percentage of the fanbase?

    How does that make any sense?

    I understand hating Dolan given what has occurred the last 20 years, but having read this interview, I don’t understand the extreme reaction.

  4. ruruland

    I actually think that Dolan came off smarter and more self-aware than he’s been described. I thought he gave a fair interview.

    Let’s be honest, it really wouldn’t have mattered what Dolan said, many people are going to read into it what they want.

    He’s been a pretty horrible owner in a lot of ways, and I’m not as informed as many here as to what’s transpired in NY the last couple decades, but I do think it’s likely he’s a bit more complex and intelligent than his caricature.

  5. ruruland

    1. Where did he say ““other people are too impatient,” ? Speaking in the second person does not seem odd in that context.

    2/3. Why is it “crowing” when he’s giving an explanation for why Grunwald was fired?

    So, he’s lying about changing the Knicks/Rangers approach to talent evaluation by hiring a consulting firm (using advanced statistics), but then’s he’s ALSO vainly bringing it up?

    Robert, that makes no sense.

    4. There was chatter about Asik to the Knicks.

  6. Brian Cronin

    It wasn’t that bad of an interview. He’s still a moron, but the interview wasn’t that bad. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the whole point of the interview was to make him look good, ya know? So it shouldn’t make him look that bad.

  7. Nick C.

    I read the article almost to the end then they started talking Rangers . It was somewhat nauseating to hear a guy that was talking as if he is smart, creative and accomplished when his biggest obstacle was surviving childbirth, much less bragging on the Garden as if it was his invention. The reference more than once to “product” was off-puttingly insightful. This is a basketball team we are not selling shirts or cookies. His general mindset of some sort of superiority, when in fact he never did, earned or created anything on his own, is something I will never quite wrap myself around or appreciate.

  8. BigBlueAL

    What I didnt get was how he talked about last season’s team struggling as the season ended going into the playoffs and how they werent the same team as when they started 18-5 because Sheed was out and he apparently was doing everything for the team during its 18-5 start. Does he not know the Knicks ended the season 16-2 and were up 3-0 on Boston?? Yes the injury factor was a big deal and he mentioned that if they were healthy he thinks they wouldve beaten Indiana but he seemed pretty dismissive of the best Knick team under his ownership. Almost as if he kinda considered last season to be a fluke. Said the current team is better suited for the playoffs. Sounds like something Woodson believes.

  9. Nick C.

    The additions are Bargs, Beno and THJ, the losses Kidd, Novak, Cope, Sheed/Camby (who never played). If better in the playoffs means can and will dribble the ball and shoot then yeah the new guys are more apt. As an abstract concept sure but those guys, as well as they have done and surpassed my middling expectations, I don’t quite see it as this great leap forward (and yes I know how Kidd shot and ‘Novak can’t get open if they pay attention…Miami’).

  10. flossy

    What I didnt get was how he talked about last season’s team struggling as the season ended going into the playoffs and how they werent the same team as when they started 18-5 because Sheed was out and he apparently was doing everything for the team during its 18-5 start. Does he not know the Knicks ended the season 16-2 and were up 3-0 on Boston?? Yes the injury factor was a big deal and he mentioned that if they were healthy he thinks they wouldve beaten Indiana but he seemed pretty dismissive of the best Knick team under his ownership. Almost as if he kinda considered last season to be a fluke. Said the current team is better suited for the playoffs. Sounds like something Woodson believes.

    I mean, in a way, last season was pretty fluke-y. He’s not really wrong about that. We started out hot in large part because ye olde Jason Kidd and ol’ broken arm Brewer were shooting like 150% from 3, and Rasheed Wallace actually played basketball and did it fairly well. We also ended the season on a tear while playing 6’8″, 240 lbs-soaking-wet Kenyon Martin at center. We also hit literally the most 3 pointers of any team in NBA history, which is not something you can rely on being able to replicate.

    That’s not to say that we didn’t stumble upon some things that worked well–a 4-out offense, multiple playmakers, Melo as the 2nd “big.” But Dolan is actually not wrong when he says last year’s team was too old to get the job done and that last year was a bit of a fluke.

  11. KJG

    dolan has two wars to fight… cablevision is hemorrhaging subscribers and the garden fanbase is out for blood… give the guy a break………JUST KIDDING!

  12. thenamestsam

    It wasn’t that bad of an interview. He’s still a moron, but the interview wasn’t that bad. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the whole point of the interview was to make him look good, ya know? So it shouldn’t make him look that bad.

    Hit the nail on the head here. I think if any of us were somehow able to disentangle our emotions about Dolan otherwise from what is actually said in the interview and if it weren’t his first interview in god knows how long then people wouldn’t even blink at most of what he said here. I think he comes across as a big fan of his teams, and a guy who loves getting to own those teams. Really the only head scratcher for me was the stuff about the timing of firing Grunwald which, not coincidentally I don’t think, was really the only question that was even mildly critical of his actions. Which really gets to the bottom line – this is basically a fluff piece and that’s how it comes across.

  13. DRed

    Robert, you honestly believe James Dolan is now making up talking points about using advanced stats to please a small percentage of the fanbase?

    How does that make any sense?

    Oh, he’s absolutely not doing it to talk to us. It’s just consultant talk to provide cover for whatever idiotic reasons he had for firing Grunwald. Jimmy needs an explanation that sounds reasonable. The average Knicks fan doesn’t give a damn about advanced stats, but using computers and math and all that stuff sounds reasonable. It wasn’t Glenn’s fault, we just needed to move in a new direction as an organization. Hell, it might even be true. But the benefit of the doubt is among the many things Guitar Jimmy has not earned.

  14. Frank O.

    A truer statement has not been uttered than this:

    JD: I still have hope. You cannot ask for a guy to be more dedicated, more disciplined, than Amar’e. He does his rehab, he does his workouts, he does everything, he’s on it every day, and that’s worth a lot, too. If there’s justice in this world, his knee will heal up to the point where he can play more minutes and make the contribution he wants to make.

  15. DRed

    JD: Not really. For Isiah, I don’t know that he’ll ever be able to work in New York. I just don’t know that he’ll ever get a fair shake, going forward in New York?

    And this-I mean, what can you say to that? To recap, Zeke was a terrible coach, a disaster as a GM, cost Jimmy 11 million dollars by sexually harassing one of his employees for years, and now people in New York hate him. That sounds fair to me. That actually sounds just. And this dicknose doesn’t think Isiah will get a fair shake. For all the PR crafted spin in this ‘interview’, the Isiah stuff reveals the true Jimmy D. He’s incapable of understanding that Isiah got a fair shake, and was a disaster, not because of external circumstances, but as a direct result of the terrible decisions he made.

  16. Donnie Walsh

    If there’s justice in this world, his knee will heal

    Unfortunately, the fact that Dolan is giving an interview about the Knicks here in 2013 is proof positive that there is no justice in this world.

  17. thenamestsam

    And this-I mean, what can you say to that? To recap, Zeke was a terrible coach, a disaster as a GM, cost Jimmy 11 million dollars by sexually harassing one of his employees for years, and now people in New York hate him. That sounds fair to me. That actually sounds just. And this dicknose doesn’t think Isiah will get a fair shake. For all the PR crafted spin in this ‘interview’, the Isiah stuff reveals the true Jimmy D. He’s incapable of understanding that Isiah got a fair shake, and was a disaster, not because of external circumstances, but as a direct result of the terrible decisions he made.

    That’s a good point DRed. I glossed over that point the first time I read it because I can’t even think about Isiah without starting to get pissed, but that part really does give some insight into the Dolan that we’ve seen for years – a man who has no sense of responsibility whatsoever. To him, getting a fair shake means getting unlimited free passes – it’s what he has gotten his whole life.

    And to his mind his friends deserve that treatment. If he wants to bring Isiah back, a “fair shake” means that everyone should give him a fresh slate, irregardless of the fact that he led the franchise over a cliff once before. And if he screws up his second chance, well what are third chances for if not that? See, now I’m getting pissed just thinking about it.

  18. Zanzibar

    Competition’s a bitch and JD’s feeling the heat for the first time in his life on all fronts. Cablevision no longer has a monopoly and customers (many long-time Knick fans) are starting to leave. And he’s clearly worried about Brooklyn Nets. I found the part about him giving business advice to Isiah hilarious; I guess one good turn deserves another.

  19. Owen

    It’s a fluff piece. I skimmed it to keep myself from becoming enraged.

    I do wonder whether he actually believes what he says about Amare. The whole, we had to sign Amare to get Melo and Chandler narrative is so stupid. Coming out of his mouth or anyone else’s. The guy had uninsurable knees. It was a giant mistake. Clear then. Clear now. But I think he actually believes it, because it got him Melo, who he obviously is in love with.

    It just pains me to think about where this franchise would be if we had passed on Stat and at the very least waited for the offseason to sign Melo (though I wish had passed on him too obviously.)

    And is it me, or is the worse thing about it that he is a huge Eagles fan. (ahh yes, the “curveball question,” favorite Eagles song, you sly s.o.b Vaccaro)

    Seriously? You went to 25 Eagles show in the last 4 months Jimmy? REALLY?

    Nothing shakes my faith in the future of this franchise more than the revelation that our owner is an Eagles groupie….

  20. ephus

    I think the interview was strong, not a puff piece. You do not need to be confrontational to get a person to answer the questions. Vaccaro asked most of the questions that I wanted to see answered. Here are a few that I wish he had included:

    1. What was the reason Jeremy Lin was not matched? If the first offer from the Rockets had been signed, would you have matched that one? Do you regret not waiting until Lin had signed an offer sheet from the Rockets before Knicks personnel commented on the likelihood of matching?

    2. Given that you do not regret signing Amar’e (because you believe it helped get ‘Melo to NY), do you regret using the amnesty on Billups rather than Amar’e?

    3. Do you consider the Knicks, Rangers and MSG to be inseparable? Could you imagine ever selling one without selling all?

  21. JK47

    Of course Dolan loves hanging out with the Eagles. Don Henley and Glenn Frey are two of the smarmiest, most insufferable assholes in the history of rock music. They’re probably Jimmy D’s besties.

  22. Owen

    Didn’t even see the Deadspin write-up, they were there first on the Eagles.

    Ruru – I think it’s time to move on beyond Melo and become chief cyber-defender of The Eagles.

    Edit- Not give up on Melo of course but just seek another, greater challenge….

  23. max fisher-cohen

    I agree with Brian that Dolan didn’t say anything outrageous, which isn’t surprising since I’m sure there were a number of topics that were off limits (Shumpert, Lin) and that MSG’s PR team was allowed to revise the interview to their liking.

    I just don’t understand why Vaccaro never asked questions about team building. At all. The Prokhorov comments from Dolan were a perfect segue as were the comments about the value of stability. Whether you think it’s smart or not, the Knicks have taken a tact in team building that is different from every other team in their extreme reliance on free agency and trades to build the team. That, more than anything, has been the trademark of the Dolan era. Younger players and picks get traded for veterans whether it’s Camby and Nene for McDyess, a pick for Marbury, picks for Curry, Ariza for Francis, Lee essentially for Stoudemire, picks and youth for Melo, Felton and Kidd essentially for Lin, a pick for Bargnani.

    Why not bring some of these up and ask Dolan to comment on how that fits into his concept of stability and patience?

  24. KnickfaninNJ

    Oh, he’s absolutely not doing it to talk to us. It’s just consultant talk to provide cover for whatever idiotic reasons he had for firing Grunwald. Jimmy needs an explanation that sounds reasonable. The average Knicks fan doesn’t give a damn about advanced stats, but using computers and math and all that stuff sounds reasonable. It wasn’t Glenn’s fault, we just needed to move in a new direction as an organization. Hell, it might even be true. But the benefit of the doubt is among the many things Guitar Jimmy has not earned.

    Speaking as a person who has spent time in the corporate world, I find Dolan’s explanation about why Grunwald was reassigned the most believable explanation I have read. Things like that happen with reasonable frequency in the corporate world. If an executive or director believes in one path and argues for it and then the decision is made the other way, often someone else is tapped to lead the team in the new direction. The movie “Moneyball” isn’t wrong. Questions of corporate strategy can be very emotionally fought.

    Speaking of Dolan as an owner, I share everyone’s frustration with him, but he clearly wants the Knicks to win. He’s not the first CEO to bring in consultants to figure out how to make his company do better. He also spent probably a million dollars to bring Sport Vu to MSG, when more than half the teams in the league didn’t have it and he’s willing to pay some luxury tax to have a better team. So he’s not all bad.

  25. JK47

    The picture of Dolan on Deadspin in his Jim Belushi “blues” getup is freaking comedy gold. There are just multitudes of wackness contained in that picture. The goatee, the fedora, the strange mincing expression on his face… That guitar he’s playing (well, holding) is probably like a $40,000 1962 Stratocaster.

    I just want to jump into that picture and punch him.

  26. JK47

    HIS BAND OPENED FOR THE EAGLES. I think we’ve achieved some sort of douchebag singularity.

    So not only do you have to shell out $900 for a ticket to see those creeps play their mediocre soft-rock, you also have to sit through a set of J.D. And The Straight Shot as extra punishment for your terrible taste.

  27. Owen

    “Speaking of Dolan as an owner, I share everyone’s frustration with him, but he clearly wants the Knicks to win.”

    Isn’t holding an owner to the standard of “does he want to win” a pretty low bar? And yeah, he spends money, I will give him that. But he spends it so stupidly.

    I use to take solace in the fact that the Clippers and Donald Sterling existed. But then they got Chris Paul…..

    I cannot believe JD and the Straight Shot opened for the Eagles. That’s embarrassing in so many directions….

  28. thenamestsam

    I think the interview was strong, not a puff piece.

    This is by far the most reviled man in New York sports (non-Isiah division), and he barely asked him one tough question and completely failed to follow up when Dolan gave B.S. answers.

    He didn’t ask about Lin, he didn’t ask about CAA, he didn’t ask about Melo’s impending free agency.

    He let him say that the reason Isiah wouldn’t be welcome to return was “you know what the press would do here” without follow up.

    He let him say “Mostly, I think it does not pay to be impatient, because you destabilize your team” without follow up.

    He let him say that he likes this year’s team better than last year’s team and yet fired the GM who put together this team, without follow up.

    He let him say that the GM’s work “doesn’t really occur” prior to camp without follow up.

    I mean what would a puff piece interview have looked like in your eyes?

  29. KnickfaninNJ

    Wanting to win is indeed a low bar. I think most owners want to win. Spending more money than he has to is a slightly higher bar. There are many owners who don’t want to go near the luxury tax. My point was that at least he is willing to invest money in the team. If you want a worse owner, you could consider the Maloof’s or MJ. But those two are indeed a very low bar.

  30. DRed

    Frank Isola @FisolaNYDN

    Like I said, since last December MSG was looking for a Dolan Q&A but questions had to be submitted in advance & you must ask about his music

    Obviously, Isola, but this was about as puffy a puff piece as they come. Anyone who thinks Dolan would sit down for a real interview doesn’t know anything about the way the Knicks do business.

  31. DRed

    Not that there need be any other topic of discussion, but apparently Carmelo and Bargnani together isn’t working out.

    It’s a pairing built for the playoffs.

  32. ephus

    I mean what would a puff piece interview have looked like in your eyes?

    Let’s break it down. First two questions were about whether MSG will close in 10 years, as per current zoning. While couched in nice terms, it’s a solid question that gets Dolan to say he expects MSG to stay put.

    Next three questions were about “Fire Woodson” – I thought Vaccaro gave Dolan enough rope to hang himself, and he kind of did by comparing himself to Prohkorov. This type of question creates a baseline to judge Dolan against if/when he fires Woodson.

    Next two questions about the slow start and comparing it to last year were pure puffery. I can’t defend them.

    Questions asking why fire Grunwald and hire Mills were solid. Could have asked a pointed follow-up, but not a puff question. A puff would have been assuming that Grunwald had to be replaced or that Mills was the obvious choice to replace.

    Vacarro went through four puff questions (which seem like banter) to get to a real question, “Why do you think you are a good owner?” That sort of open-ended question lets Dolan hang himself, and I think he did. The most he can say for himself is that he is “present.”

    The four Isiah questions got Dolan to state that he still talks to Isiah and that he cannot see bringing Isiah back to New York. Vacarro’s “Do you think that’s unfair?” seems like a good pointed question to me. And Dolan basically answered, “Yes, I think it’s unfair that Knicks fans hate Isiah and would not allow him to return.” Puff would have been singing Isiah’s praises or embedding in the question that Isiah had been successful elsewhere (also, untrue).

    The Amar’e question is solid.

    The music questions are puffery, but that was the price of getting the interview. I don’t think it was too high of a price.

    Rangers – who cares?

    If they were going to get into the history of MSG, I wish he had challenged on old Penn Station.

    Dancers – I wanted…

  33. stratomatic

    I thought he did a good job. Apparently the problem is simpler than I thought. He simply does not recognize basketball talent or the people that do recognize basketball talent so he keeps making bad decisions trying to do the right things.

  34. KnickfaninNJ

    I am not sure the ESPN post proves anything except that the Knicks need a defensive minded big man on the floor. Of course, since Chandler is hurt, they don’t really have one. But we already knew that.

    For a different take on the Knick’s woes, you could listen to the beginning of the podcast at the link below. Jalen Rose’s opinion is that the Knicks are suffering because the team is not well matched and the whole is less than the sum of its parts. In particular, he thinks the point guard play is not good enough or not the right style to make the scorers on the team function well.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/grantland/player?id=10012805

  35. thenamestsam

    Ephus,

    That’s a fair response and I really appreciate the detailed breakdown. I’d say you convinced me that it’s not as pure puff as it initially struck me. Still, as a Knicks fan I would consider the following topics to be the most interesting/important to discuss with Dolan (in no particular order):

    1. What happened with the Jeremy Lin situation: completely unaddressed.

    2. What is the overall role of CAA in the organization: completely unaddressed.

    3. What’s the current situation with respect to Isiah: I do think the follow up could have been tougher here, but I do think this is the one place where he really pushed him at all, so credit given.

    4. Chris Smith situation/JR starting, were there promises made to JR, does that relate to CAA: completely unadressed.

    5. Grunwald firing: Discussed, but personally I found the follow-ups completely unsatisfactory here. Basically Dolan says that it’s a perfectly logical time to fire a GM (Follow ups: Why do no other teams fire GM’s then? Why let him completely construct this year’s team if you were unsatisfied with his work?) and that McKinsey effectively told him to fire Grunwald (Have to press for more specifics here).

    6. Melo free agency:completely unaddressed.

    7. Woodson’s current status: I agree with you that he did fine here, so again, credit given.

    So of my 7 big questions (and granted those may not be everyone’s big questions, but I feel like they certainly hit on the most discussed issues on this board at least) that’s 4 completely untouched, 2 handled well, and 1 handled weakly. Not complete puffery, but not exactly hard hitting either.

  36. DRed

    Ephus, Dolan knew in advance what the questions were, so he and his PR team could come up with answers. That’s why it’s a puff piece. It’s not actually an interview.

  37. ephus

    As I wrote above, I wanted to have the Jeremy Lin situation addressed, and suggested some questions. That was a missed opportunity.

    I would not expect to get any useful answers on CAA or ‘Melo free agency, so I do not mind not covering the issues.

    On Chris Smith, as a Knick fan, I just do not want more of a spotlight shining on this situation. If asking good questions leads to losing the 2015 first round pick, I do not want them asked.

    BTW, Larry Coon confirmed to me that Chris Smith is costing Dolan over $3 million:

    Ephus
    In CBAFAQ, you write that non-drafted free agents who make less than 2nd year minimum are taxed at that level. Doesn’t that mean Chris Smith is costing Knicks over $3 million ($488k salary plus 3.25 x $788k (or is $884k))?
    Larry Coon
    Yep. Not such a bargain any more, don’t you think?

    Read more at http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-salary-cap-chat-with-larry-coon-11222013#OZQsWkWZw28Qjo4W.99

    My fondest hope is that Dolan sells the team. That is why I wish Vaccaro had asked whether there was any chance that Dolan would split up MSG/Knicks/Rangers.

  38. Frank O.

    We have had terrible PG play.
    We ranked 18th in the league overall, according to rotogrinder.com.
    They rank 26th in assists.
    26th in TOs.
    17th in FG%
    3rd in FG attempts.
    18th in 3pt made
    2nd in ppg

  39. ephus

    @DRed, I agree that the interview loses some of its power because the questions were approved in advance. And Vacarro (or his editors at the Post) should have included that in the story. Isola should not have been the one to share that news. The story ideally should have included the topics (if any) that Dolan would not discuss.

    But, given that Dolan has not sat for an on-the-record interview in seven years, this was a solid piece (with flaws). If you want a touchstone for what a puff piece entails, listen to Suzyn Waldman interviews of George Steinbrenner. I don’t think Vacarro was at that level.

  40. pablopilot

    Funny. From the “interview,” which was more like an extended Mike Vaccarro ass-kissing:

    JD: When it comes to criticism I always think, OK, let’s look back at which New York sports owner was loved by the fans when they owned the team? Do you know any?

    Vaccarro references Steinbrenner in response. Steinbrenner?!?! How about Sonny Werblin, the Tisch’s, the Wilpons (before they got screwed by Madoff and had to cut costs), arguably Woody Johnson? It’s never universal, but I think all of these owners got a lot of acclaim for at least part of the time they owned their teams. Let’s forget for a moment what a lame position this is in the first place: “NY fans hate every owner, so why try?” The big problem is, its not even remotely true!

  41. nicos

    I don’t think it’s realistic to expect Dolan to answer questions about Lin or CAA. I would have liked Vaccaro to specifically ask him how involved he involved he is in day to day operations and personnel decisions and how much autonomy he believes a GM should have. I think he had an opportunity to ask something pointed about this when the subject of other owners came up- the Giants ownership (who are looked on pretty favorably by fans I think) tend to hire good people and then stay out of their way. I honestly don’t know how much of an activist owner Dolan is in terms of personnel decisions- yes there are odd cases like Lin and seemingly now Shump where he wants to run a guy out of town and certainly he’s going to be involved in major roster decisions but how involved was he in the signings of guys like Pablo or Brewer or even the Bargnani deal- is he micro-managing every detail? He gives a very general I’m involved in everything quote at the beginning of the piece but I’d really like to see a more detailed answer (and I think he’d have given one if asked, unlike the Lin or CAA stuff).

  42. EB

    Frank O.
    November 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm
    We have had terrible PG play.
    We ranked 18th in the league overall, according to rotogrinder.com.

    Thats 12 spots too high

  43. KJG

    Jimbo is waiting for the day some other company gobbles up Cablevision so his sole focus can be our NYK FOREVER…

    His PR team handled the interview well… I’m treating it as a non-event… pretending it didnt happen… its def. a fluff piece… an appeasement of sorts, whether its fact-based or not.

  44. thenamestsam

    I would not expect to get any useful answers on CAA or ‘Melo free agency, so I do not mind not covering the issues.

    On Chris Smith, as a Knick fan, I just do not want more of a spotlight shining on this situation. If asking good questions leads to losing the 2015 first round pick, I do not want them asked.

    You may be right about both of these things, but in terms of assessing the interview as a piece of journalistic work they are absolutely horrid excuses for not asking the questions. The things that the guy doesn’t want to answer or that might get him in trouble are exactly the questions that a serious journalistic interview are going to try to probe and the fact that Vacarro didn’t even ask those things, either because Dolan pre-rejected those questions or because he just didn’t, is why people are calling it a puff piece.

  45. ephus

    I think my difference with those who have been calling the Vaccaro interview a “puff piece” is definitional. For me, a “puff piece” is an article that provides virtually no useful information and serves only to improve the reputation of the subject. I think the Vaccaro interview, flawed as it is, rises above that standard.

    If you define “puff piece” to mean an interview that is non-confrontational and leaves some of the most important questions unanswered, then the shoe fits. And I think it was extremely shoddy for Vaccaro and the Post to neglect to include that (1) the questions were submitted in advance and (2) Dolan insisted that music be part of the interview.

    Despite these flaws, I feel like I have a better understanding of Dolan’s psyche after reading this article.

  46. dtrickey

    Interesting article. Could have gone a little harder on some questions, but there was some good insight. A few contradictions here and there, but I don’t think there was enough there to totally castrate him.

    One point I actually agreed with was his answer to the question on the fans. There’s so much we don’t know that goes on behind closed doors that forces us to come to our own conclusions and prejudices about the team. Maybe if he were more open (like say Cuban) we might better understand the decisions the front office makes. Whether we agree is another thing, but at least we can be better informed.

    All that said, I’m still not willing to go into bat with him fully (I wouldn’t be upset if he sold the team).

  47. Owen

    Wouldn’t be upset if he sold the team?

    All i know is that the day he sells the team Mike is going to need a battalion of riot police to deal with the celebrations in Knickerbloggerville…..

  48. Z

    I feel like I have a better understanding of Dolan’s psyche after reading this article.

    Really? I feel like I have a better understanding of the PR incompetence he pays top dollar to. I mean, he had the questions in advance, so, presumably the PR people filled in the answers. And yet he still answered questions with heavy hands: (like saying “I don’t compare myself to other owners”, then going on to comparing himself to other owners; and saying Isiah made a lot of good decisions; and saying that the best time to fire a GM is a few days before the season starts…).

    His judgement of what passes as “good work” is what scares Knick fans most, and this “interview” does little but reaffirm that fear.

  49. DRed

    If you’re going to change general managers that’s probably the right time to do it. The next available trade date is Dec. 15.

    What the fuck does that even mean?

  50. thenamestsam

    If you’re going to change general managers that’s probably the right time to do it. The next available trade date is Dec. 15.

    I mean I guess he’s referencing that free agents can’t be traded until 12/15 so there tends to be a lull in the trade market because lots of chips are off limits, but…he definitely manages to make it sound like he doesn’t know the way the rules work…and of course no follow up from Vacarro.

    Per Vacarro, the questions were NOT submitted or approved in advance:

    That’s interesting but I feel like he almost has to be evading there. There’s no way that free to ask anything he wanted Lin’s name wouldn’t have been mentioned, right? So whether the questions were pre-approved, or Dolan was free to turn some down off the record or whatever I find it almost impossible to believe that the interview we read represents free reign from Vacarro with no interference. If it does then it calls into question his competency as an interviewer in my opinion.

  51. DRed

    If Vacarro was free to ask any questions he wanted during Jimmy Guitar’s first interview with the press in 7 years and he decided to ask questions about the fucking Eagles and the Knicks City Dancers he should be fired.

    still, pretty remarkable that Dolan had his iPod handy and queued up to the right spot to segue from the concert questions to his guarantee.

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