So, Sir James Dolan, what’s the real plan? What’s really on your mind? Are you upset that your team is not much better than last year? That the Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King, may have put together the best team in New York? Tell us, James, what’s really on your mind.
As the former President, COO, of a publicly traded company, let me tell you what advisor means. It means, Glen Grunwald, YOU’RE FIRED. Don’t think for one second he will advise anyone. This is Dolan’s way to send him to Siberia. This way Dolan can remove Grunwald from power, but since he is contracted, Dolan must pay him. The nice thing would have been to allow Grunwald to resign, to keep his dignity. This advisory termination, will impact his career in the NBA. He may never get another GM job.
Now, we remember Steve Mills. He hired Isiah Thomas and testified for him during his sexual harassment trial. This shows corporate loyalty; Dolan likes this. Dolan is more of a corporate guy, not a Mark Cuban type of owner. The question every fan must ask, ” Is Isiah still in Dolan’s ear? ” Well, he is looking for a job, and he has strong ties with Mills.
Steve Mills, what’s your plan?
Please understand things like this may seem sudden to the average fan, but anyone who has worked in corporate America knows this was premeditated. This was not a reflex reaction. In corporate America, in Dolan’s world, there is much back stabbing, several agendas taking place on a daily basis. Following the Knicks is like watching HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Clearly the Nets had the better offseason. Billy King, working with Mikhail Prokhorov’s millions, brought ex-Boston Celtics Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to Brooklyn. If that wasn’t enough, he added depth to the roster by also signing Andrei Kirilenko and retaining Andray Blatche. Who manages his salary cap? Take a lesson from Moneyball, hire him.
Does Carmelo Anthony have anything to do with this? Remember his friend and college coach Jim Boeheim stated last year the Knicks didn’t have the talent to win it all. Listen, I bleed orange and blue, but with the current roster, I agree. Look at the Nets front line: Brook Lopez, Reggie Evans, Pierce, Garnet, Kirilenko, Blatche, Mason Plumlee, Tornike Shengelia, Mira Teletovic. Are you kidding me? They are talented and huge and have the potential to wear the Knicks front-court down. Fact is they will go at Chandler, and if he gets in foul trouble or injured, is Cole Aldrich enough? Grunwald made moves, but King played the game better during the offseason. Are we now bringing in the Steve Mills to navigate the future, of the Knicks and Carmelo? You bet.
Yes Metta World Peace helps, Andrea Bargnani, can add depth. But Grunwald could have done more and Carmelo’s handlers know that. Losing Chris Copeland, not going after Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings, (or a better point guard) not adding another scorer, or a legitimate backup center may have cost him his job. Carmelo, doesn’t want to leave New York, but he might if the Knicks start off slow. The media will blame him, and like during Linsanity, Melo doesn’t handle criticism well. He wants the spotlight, but only if it is positive. The fact is, he wants to again be the NBA’s leading scorer. But can you lead the NBA in scoring and still win a championship? Ask Wilt Chamberlain.
Now, If ‘Melo chooses to play out his current contract and become a free agent in 2015, he’ll be able to re-sign with the Knicks for five years and roughly $140 million. If he chose to sign elsewhere, the max he could get is a four-year deal worth around $104 million. That’s a $36 million difference. This is big business, corporate America at its best.
Is it any coincidence that Dolan spoke with media yesterday for the first time in a long time? According to Marc Berman from the New York Post, Dolan said the following:
“I am pleased to be able to welcome Steve back to the Knicks,” Dolan said in a statement. “He is a well-respected sports executive with a strong background in basketball background , as well as a familiarity with NBA operations and our company. We look forward to his leadership and believe he is the right person to help us reach our ultimate goal of winning an NBA Championship”
So, Dolan, Mills, what’s your plan? Obviously you don’t like your current team, your current roster, or Grunwald would not have been sent to pasture as an advisor. Are you throwing in the towel, or ready to make some major roster moves? The Lakers got nothing for Dwight Howard, if the Knicks lose Carmelo, what’s left?
So good luck Steve, working for Sir Dolan will not be easy, but it will be lucrative. I, for one, thought Grunwald started on fire with the Tyson Chandler pick up, but after that, he fizzled out. I don’t know what Dolan and Mills have in store for us, but I am excited to watch. Now, Coach Woodson, watch your back — if things go wrong Dolan has to blame it on someone. Your Indiana teammate Grunwald no longer has your back and Isiah wants back in the NBA.
Phil Jackson, are you reading this?
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a Best Selling author www.drerickaplan.com