Why Kenny Payne is an important hire: James Dolan continues to invest in the team
The NBA salary cap has evened the playing field for small market teams to compete with the premier cities around the league in terms of player salary. Madison Square Garden can sell out every night – remember when fans could attend games – and celebrities can pay astronomical prices to sit courtside, but none of that added revenue helps the Knicks in their ability to outspend their opponents for talent on the court.
Where the Knicks can flex their big market strength is off the court. There is no salary cap in paying coaches and executives. We have seen owner James Dolan’s willingness to cut bait on expensive mistakes from Phil Jackson to most recently David Fizdale.
If the Knicks overpay for a coach, it’s not like Joakim Noah, they aren’t stuck with a cap hit over several seasons that prevents them from hiring future talent.
Despite several costly mistakes in hiring coaches and executives, and despite a global pandemic that will keep MSG in the dark for the foreseeable future, Dolan continues to invest in his basketball team, which, say what you want about the beleaguered owner, is positive news.
Fizdale will receive the remainder of his $22 million contract over the next three years. Meanwhile, recently-hired coach Tom Thibodeau reportedly signed for a similar amount over five years.
Kenny Payne leaves a Kentucky job where he was getting paid $900,000 as an assistant to John Calipari. Obviously, for him to leave a position where he was comfortable, successful, and paid well, the Knicks must have made a competitive offer for him to move to New York. Despite the current economic climate, the Knicks are still invested in building a competitive basketball team.