SNY: How a consulting firm’s influence led to confusion and paranoia on the Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks

Ian Begley has a batshit insane story about a consulting firm Dolan hired back when the Knicks had their last actual good season. This fucking guy, they were actually doing WELL and he looked for reasons to fuck it up!

There were probably a dozen other reasons the Knicks struggled that year. But when Hopla talked to SNY about his time with the Knicks and that frustrating 2013-14 season, he pointed to another factor in the Knicks’ shortcomings: He said McKinsey & Company, a worldwide management consulting firm hired by Madison Square Garden to work with the Knicks and Rangers, had a negative impact on the coaching staff and was the source of confusion and paranoia among some players. The firm’s influence led to decisions like not having coaches watch film with players and filling out seemingly endless amounts of paperwork, according to Hopla.

In other news, the Knicks won’t have a Christmas game for the first time since 2015-16! 2008-09 was the previous time they missed the Christmas Day game. That’s a shame, but at least it’s not unprecedented.

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55 thoughts to “SNY: How a consulting firm’s influence led to confusion and paranoia on the Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks”

  1. Interesting discussion yesterday about the incremental approach. I’m not sure single payer is the best system. Maybe, maybe not. A corporation if it wanted could be its own “single” payer and eliminate insurance companies and their profits to cut costs. Or groups of corporations could organize and create a non profit entity which would administer insurance for the group. That to a certain extent is already happening. The federal government would continue to require all corporations of a certain size provide health insurance which meets a minimum standard to their employees.

    That said, I think Obama and Democrats missed an opportunity to fold individuals working independently or for small business into the single payer Medicare infrastructure. Everybody would have automatically been covered; an individual could have chosen from something like 3 plans (bronze, silver, gold) and “premiums” would be deducted from their paycheck (if working for small business) or they would sign up on federal system if independent. Drug prices for all plans in Medicare infrastructure would be similar to European and Canadian pricing. More nurse practitioners would be the primary care option. Computers would be better able to identify fraud when doctors service a large swath of patients on a common electronic system. All of those actions would have gone a long way toward reducing costs. States would not have been involved.

    Would that have been politically feasible at the time? Apparently not because they couldn’t even get a “public option”. Insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, doctors would have organized against it. And then there are people who don’t want to be “forced” to pay for insurance and use the emergency room for their healthcare. The result is the inefficient, klugey system we have today. Better than the alternative of no insurance but nowhere near optimal.

    That brings me to the real problem….

  2. If Bernie wants to make real change, he’d be a single issue candidate. He should offer a constitutional amendment that would cover campaign financing, gerrymandering, voting machines. And he’d challenge lawmakers of all parties to sign a “pledge” to vote for the amendment. He should have a team of people from various disciplines take a first cut at the amendment and place it on the internet for comment from anybody. Some public financing of elections would be involved so he would need to calculate the tax.

    Polls show 80%+ of people want all of this money out of politics. They hate gerrymandering. These are issues that have widespread support across all parties. An amendment which states only “individuals” may contribute to federal candidates up to a certain amount adjusted for inflation would have widespread appeal. No corporate or fat cat money influencing politicians. People would have to believe that the ultimate benefit to them would be much greater than the tax they would pay to finance federal elections.

    That’s the bomb Bernie needs to drop before any kind of meaningful – even incremental nowadays – change could take place on other issues. His candidacy otherwise is just a wasted opportunity.

  3. Reposted because of new thread

    Healthcare costs so much here because it’s profit driven.

    JK, you are sort of agreeing with me. Since no one promoting single payer is saying anything other than it will just pay the incredibly high prices that already exist, it’s clear that it will be very expensive. And of course, they say we will raise taxes only on the rich because they know that almost no one thinks of themselves as rich. So one expects they will actually be the one to pay the new taxes when a candidate phrases it that way.

  4. From the story it sounds like Grunwald could have fired because of the consultants. That is amazing, but since his firing was so mysterious, it could actually be true.

  5. The guy who traded for Bargnani absolutely should have been fired, but Mills seems like the kind of jargon spewing mediocrity a consulting firm would recommend

  6. Mills probably went along with using the consultants while Grunwald pushed back

  7. Trading for Bargnani was bad, but as errors go, it was sort of normal Knick’s management. Consider hiring Noah, trading real stuff for a washed up Tracy McGrady just to supposedly put fans in seats, trading for Jerome James, need I go on?

  8. One of the things in play in this discussion on health care is the essential question of whether the private sector runs things more efficiently and effectively than the public sector. As a career public educator who first worked on Wall St, I have very conflicted views. On one hand, I consider myself to be a strong progressive when it comes to issues of diversity, inclusiveness, curriculum, assessment, discipline, etc. On the other hand, I have more conservative views when it comes to certain matters of finance, oversight, compliance, hiring, admissions, etc. For example, I’m not opposed to Charters and privatization outright, only when it involves unfair corporate advantage.

    Education and health care are somewhat analogous. Most of us agree that all citizens are entitled to public K-12 education, although there should be private and home-school options that have a modicum of state oversight. I think that most of us would agree that the quality of education should be at least very good regardless of the school district a student happens to live in.

    In that sense, I think that all of us would agree that everyone is entitled to basic health care and that the quality of care should not depend on income, but that people can choose to spend on private care or choose home remedies, so long as there is some degree of state oversight.

    I takes an open mind to continually and effectively weigh, institute and monitor the benefits of private vs. public service/commodity delivery outweigh the cost of corporate greed vs. government inefficiency.

    But no matter what the answer, we need to start from the proposition that EVERY CITIZEN IS ENTITLED TO HEALTH CARE BECAUSE IT IS GOOD FOR OUR REPUBLIC.

    The current system is not consistent with this proposition. Just like in my ideal education world, the best solutions to universal health care lie in a private-public partnership that brings out the best in each other.

  9. One prominent feature of the Bloomberg Administration’s impact on the NYCDOE is the Open Market Transfer System. It allows any teacher currently working at any NYCDOE school to leave that school and transfer to another NYCDOE school without consideration of seniority or the prior principal’s approval. On one hand, it makes every teacher a free agent (still subject to the seniority salary schedule) which rewards excellent teachers with mobility. On the other hand, it allows already excellent schools to extract these excellent teachers from schools serving primarily disadvantaged students, making it harder to close the achievement gap.

    The current administration is tinkering with paying teachers and administrators more to work in high-needs schools. It’s a corporate idea being applied in a public setting. Whether or not it is a good idea, it is the kind of thinking I find refreshing, and that should be applied to public/private service delivery far more often than it is. In the case of Open Market Transfers, now advantaged schools would have more of a leveled playing field with hard-to-staff schools who could pay its teachers significantly more.

  10. Trading for Bargnani was bad, but as errors go, it was sort of normal Knick’s management.

    It was the finishing flourish on a succession of bad moves-over paying for Melo so the first round pick we gave up for Bargs was not in our control, giving Novak a 4 year deal for some reason, hiring a coach who didn’t understand why his team was good, etc.

  11. Draymond apparently peaked too early. 4 years, $100M extension. For comparison, his designated-player max would have made him eligible for $182M over four with an extra year at $53.5M. 2017 was the last year he earned an award that would have qualified him, so he’s stuck with less than half that, assuming that in 2024 he’ll probably get some 2-year, $16M offer from a contender looking for their own version of 2018’s Pau Gasol.

  12. 2017 was the last year he earned an award that would have qualified him, so he’s stuck with less than half that

    I’m sort of astounded at how arbitrary it is. Seems like the sort of thing that the union thought would benefit players but really ends up benefiting ownership.

  13. Pretty Knicksy to pivot towards analytics by hiring Mckinsey.

    is there a story behind this particular firm and dolan’s decision to bring them in?

  14. I think Grunwald mostly went because they stopped listening to him. So many moves between 2012-2014 were done against Grunwald’s express wishes. Seemed pretty clear that he lost Dolan’s faith, while there was a certain Mister Mills whispering sweet nothings into Dolan’s ear during the same time.

  15. Mckinsey is fine. Top two global consulting firm if that’s your thing. It’s a just a dumb man’s idea of the smart thing to do.

    If Draymond had waited a year could be have signed a much bigger deal?

  16. If Draymond had waited a year could be have signed a much bigger deal?

    I think he’d have to make the all-star team or similar to qualify for a super-max.

  17. Long time lurker, first time poster…

    Re: Draymond, yes he could have signed a much larger contract if he waited for free agency, especially if he qualified for Supermax. Even without that though he’d still have been eligible for the Klay contract if he just waited.

    Extensions though are only allowed to go up to something like the lesser of 120% of his current salary (18mm) vs league max salary.

    Guess he either wanted to be the anti-KD and give the team certainty or just wanted to avoid the Boogie outcome in the event of injury…especially since he just watched that happen to 2 of his other teammates (not that it affected their contracts)

  18. How much leverage did Draymond have, though? Does anyone offer him a supermax at his age and coming off a mediocre season for him? I know he’s a unique player, but when you already have two players getting paid the max, paying him $25 mill per year seems about right.

  19. Yeah, Draymond is worth way more to the dubs than to anyone else.

    Agree, no other team likely gonna pay a super glue guy like Draymond the max…for him to get the max, someone else would have to envision him as part of their big 3.

  20. Does anyone agree with me that all religious organizations should be taxed as businesses and that contributions to these organizations should not be considered charitable donations i.e. be tax-deductible?

  21. Are you suggesting that religious organizations should be treated differently, tax wise, than other non profit organizations?

  22. It’s not that I am very religious, but non-profits should be treated the same tax wise. Maybe certain activities, such as lobbying should remove the tax exemption, but I don’t think that is what you are suggesting.

  23. Maybe certain activities, such as lobbying should remove the tax exemption, but I don’t think that is what you are suggesting.

    The lobbying restrictions don’t really apply to anyone anymore, since the last time the IRS tried to ask questions about political activity there was a huge job endangering scandal.

  24. I’m suggesting that tax-exempt status should be reserved for organizations who provide a good or service that demonstrably promotes the public welfare in some non-sectarian way. Providing a venue for the practice and promulgation of religious rituals does not qualify. Some activities should qualify, for example, when a religious organization builds and runs a hospital that serves all people, that would qualify.

  25. How much leverage did Draymond have, though? Does anyone offer him a supermax at his age and coming off a mediocre season for him? I know he’s a unique player, but when you already have two players getting paid the max, paying him $25 mill per year seems about right.

    Hmmmm… would I rather have Draymond Green or 1.6 Bobby Portises

  26. @24

    Yes. They should be taxed as businesses, as though they were self-help MLM companies, which is what they are.

  27. Draymond was not very good during the regular season last year. He’s showing clear signs of decline-whether it’s in ability or motivation. There would definitely be a market for him, but if you’re Draymond do you want to run the risk of maybe having another bad season and then hitting free agency or do you want to secure yourself a huge payday

  28. Guess he either wanted to be the anti-KD and give the team certainty or just wanted to avoid the Boogie outcome in the event of injury…especially since he just watched that happen to 2 of his other teammates (not that it affected their contracts)

    I have to think that he understands that GSW is the most likely team to ask for his services at that salary, nevermind a supermax, so there’s not much of an opportunity cost of taking it now. Three other max guys means they’re pushing the chips in, not being choosy with how much they spend while Steph’s contract exists. Not to mention that Draymond turns into a completely different player in the playoffs (6.4 BPM and +14.5 on/off career in 123 games, absurd) and is quite a durable player on top of that.

    $100M is a lot of money for a 29-year-old 6’6″ PF to pass up. And I don’t think he is capable of playing for a team that’s not a deep playoff contender. He’s as competitive as it gets. If he played for the Suns or Hornets I think he’d have a cage match with his teammates by the All-Star break.

  29. Monopolies lower quality of service & quality if pruduct, lack innovation and lack incentive to keep costs down.

    If curent healthcare product & service costs $8 + $2 in profit then you can be sure that same exact product & service u see a single payer within a decade would cost $25 but no one will “profit”.

    Competition solves problem. Remove all regulations and restrictions on barrier to entry, flood the market with new insurance companies and watch cost plummet.

  30. If you owned a rental apartment and you agreed to renovate the kitchen to get a new tenant would you a) tell the tenant to hire whatever contractor they wanted and you would pay the bill or b) hire the contractor yourself? You don’t actually have to answer that, it’s obvious what the normal answer is.

    Except the VA, the US government does a) for all the medical care it provides. Private insurance companies do basically the same thing. It’s no wonder it’s expensive. A CBO study found that, adjusting for patient spectrums and types of medical care needed, VA treatment is cheaper than Medicare treatment. If we want to lower medical care costs the US government should actually hire general practitioners and have them treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.

    If you find this proposal weird, ask yourself whether it would be so horrible to have doctor who was on salary just to treat patients compared to one who worked for a company that has to make money by selling his or her services.

    Note that in many countries where medical care is cheaper, they do b), not a).

  31. I would also like to point out that the Republicans want to “privatize” the VA system -and all the commentary is that this will make it more expensive. The Democrats want to keep the current system but pay for more people’s care.

  32. Then why is health care cheaper by far in every advanced country than it is here?

    Several reasons:
    – Vastly disproportionate investment in innovation here vs. anywhere else. Similar to military spending disparity and with comparable “we got this covered” benefits to many outside the US. So much much more “advanced” care developed and adopted here.

    – Spending on ads by pharm here vs. elsewhere. Some upside in activating patients for things that are useful but might not be offered. Huge downside in subsidizing pharm at
    US’ expense and promoting lots of low value high profit margin Rx products.

    – Spectacularly inefficient billing due to fragmented byzantine overlapping corrupt payor system.

    – Comparatively huge fees for comparable services stay in place here despite competition because of the overriding influence of guild interests – MDs, Hospitals, Insurers, Drug & Device Cos – negating policy and oversight mechanisms that might otherwise allow competition to help drive prices down.

    – Huge amounts of low value/totally unnecessary care being provided because more care = more money for providers and because of self-defeating if understandable attitudes by patients that since they’re paying super high premiums they want “full product”.

    – No collective bargaining power here for basic goods: meds, devices, supplies.

    – No transparency at all about who pays what for what.

    – Very poorly functioning system for establishing value prior to adoption here so market forces drive wide adoption of “newest and sexiest” in the absence of any real health benefits. Hugely expensive things that help sell your services are adopted and promoted even if they have almost no benefit or pose significant risk of problems or just because the developer/vendor makes a plausible unsubstantiated case for their value.

  33. Cost is the root issue. Coverage would be much more solvable if costs were really controlled.

  34. – No transparency at all about who pays what for what.

    I find it incredible that my GP’s group practice admins cannot tell me how much basic procedures cost before I request them. Getting a $550 bill for a 30-second cryo treatment on a plantar wart? Let me tell you — came as a bit of a shock.

  35. @41
    Right. And how many other major sectors of society are allowed to operate in that completely insane way, and routinely have such devastating consequences on people’s financial security? There may be others, but I can’t think of any.

  36. A lot of good discussion in response to my honest question about Medicare For All in the last thread, continued to here. I’m with JK47 here and support incremental change.

    Some responses… (1/2)
    @Silky

    If single payer M4A would disincentivize people from becoming doctors, then why is there no doctor shortage in any of the European countries with single payer? I highly doubt it actually disincentivizes these career choices

    @Grocer

    In order to be a doctor you have to be AMA certified. The AMA artificially limits the number of new docs they certify. They’ve got a quota to keep pay as high as possible. It’s not a shortage of capable or willing people.

    I’ll take these two together. I was curious and did some research. There is something to this. This, and economic incentives would need to be addressed to maintain the prestige of being a doctor, nurse or other health care professional. Great points.

    The #1 complaint about the Canadian health care system is the very long wait for service. A move to M4A must include mechanisms to insure we can handle the workload.

    @Z-man

    I’m for single payer with a private out-of-pocket option….I would also like to see a continued expansion of PAs and NPs delivering most non-invasive health care.

    The private insurance option is essentially what ACA is except that it isn’t single payer. ACA aligns with my centrist approach because it lessens the impact on our economy and still promotes good capitalist objectives.

  37. cont… (2/2)
    @Ntilakilla

    When Congress abolished slavery after the passage of the 13th amendment the American South, and national economy by extension, stood to lose a major engine of economic growth.

    While it’s difficult to ignore the moral difference between slavery and a broken health care system, your analogy is an excellent one if taken from the economic impact perspective. I have no moral objection to M4A but am looking for viable economic alternatives. If I am not mistaken, the economic impact of the dismantling of slavery was to send the South into multi-generational economic tailspin. That is my exact fear, on a national level.

    @bobneptune

    The problem with the GND is they give no alternative as to how to generate the power needed to run an industrial society. …try building a new reactor here and see where the GND-o-philes come down.

    Without getting technical, a friend of mine is touting newer nuclear power as a real and safe option. I haven’t looked into it deeply but I wouldn’t be so quick to cross nuclear off the list of options.

    @JK47

    Incrementalism is really the only way forward because of the way our political system is set up.

    Bingo!

  38. Thanks Z-Man. I was watching some older NBA highlights recently, particularly Bernard King (and Bob Pettit for some reason), and that ended up in my recommended videos.

  39. Bob Petit was a badass who would have been great in any era.

    Possibly the most underrated superstar in NBA history.

  40. Without getting technical, a friend of mine is touting newer nuclear power as a real and safe option. I haven’t looked into it deeply but I wouldn’t be so quick to cross nuclear off the list of options.

    The GND o philes won’t allow nuclear…..

  41. Possibly the most underrated superstar in NBA history.

    Not if you ever saw him play…. his stats are mind numbing

  42. The #1 complaint about the Canadian health care system is the very long wait for service. A move to M4A must include mechanisms to insure we can handle the workload.

    Even without such a move we need to improve wait times which are only marginally better than Canada’s at significantly higher cost and with marginally less good health outcomes. Our health care system is, simply put, incredibly bad. In cost, quality, and access we are failing across the board and have been doing so for decades.

    Comparatively huge fees for comparable services stay in place here despite competition

    Not really, because outside of insurance plans there is basically no competition. It next to impossible to get price lists for anything, your insurance restricts your options of where to go anyway, and ‘who’s the cheapest cancer doctor’ tends to not be people’s first question for reasons of life and death. Maybe it should be. Maybe Americans simply value life too highly. Maybe we should be thinking of our lives in terms of asset v liability and approach our health care that way. Is it better for your kids for your family to go bankrupt or to lose a parent? I have no faith that we’ll get any fixes done. Pretty sure that this is just our reality now, along with the inevitable of mass shootings/right wing terrorism never resulting in any political change.

  43. The collaboration required between the various stakeholders in our healthcare system when coupled with our dysfunctional polity makes it more likely that Dolan’s Knicks win a championship before we get meaningful change in our system.

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