New York Knicks: James Dolan does not rule out selling team

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

James Dolan selling the New York Knicks? While it will take a high number, it’s apparently not an improbable act.

Since 1999, the James Dolan has held the chairman role at Madison Square Garden. As a result, he owns the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and the New York Liberty, with various degrees of success for each sports franchise.

With all these properties under Dolan’s watch, he apparently has a willingness to move one of them, including the Knicks, but only if the price is right.

The 63-year-old told this in an interview with ESPN’s Ian O’Connor and went in-depth on a handful of topics:

"“No one has come through with a bona fide offer. You hear numbers all the time. … I think people have sent feelers out, but never any that were pursued. Yeah, [the feelers are] around that number [$5 billion], but those things, it’s like a stock price. It’s only important if you’re going to buy or sell.”"

Dolan also discussed his “responsibility” to the shareholders and how he does business to hope his product and stock price increase in value. That led to the eye-opening comment of, “I could never say that I wouldn’t consider selling the Knicks.”

"Now, my family is not in that position, and they are the majority shareholders. They hold the majority of the vote. … As a majority owner, I don’t want to sell, either. As the head of the public company, you can’t say you can’t sell, because then you’re telling your shareholders that your own personal feelings about your assets are more important than their money. And they won’t invest with you if you do that.”"

$5 billion, of course, is quite the price package for the Knicks. It’s evident of the increasing cost for sports franchises.

However, according to Forbes’ list of NBA team values for 2018, as of February, the Knicks were valued at $3.6 billion. That still topped all 30 teams, with the following listed for the top 10:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.6 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3.3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $3.1 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.6 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.5 million
  6. Brooklyn Nets: $2.3 billion
  7. Houston Rockets: $2.2 billion
  8. Los Angels Clippers: $2.15 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.9 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.7 billion

So, if Dolan were to receive $5 billion from a prospective buyer, it potentially resets the market and makes the value of the other high-priced teams soar. The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, who have a shiny, new arena on the way, may benefit the most from a Knicks sale that tops $3.6 billion.

It’s all hypothetical, however. Dolan is still the owner of the Knicks. He told O’Connor, he can’t say he’d sell the team. For now and, potentially, the foreseeable future, this is the man in charge of New York’s basketball team.

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Since becoming the chairman, the Knicks are 664-909 with six playoff appearances. Their last postseason run was in 2013 and they only made it past the Eastern Conference Semifinals once, when the Jeff Van Gundy-led group went to the NBA Finals in 1999.