No matter how angry fans may get, James Dolan has no plans to leave the New York Knicks.
The longtime Knicks owner said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that he has no intentions of selling the franchise amid their string of struggles, both on the court and off, and is instead committed to hiring a new president for the team as soon as possible.
“We are actively looking for a new president of the New York Knicks and hope to conclude the search as quickly as possible,” Dolan said in a statement. “I am not selling, but am determined to find the right leader for the Knicks who will ensure the long-term success of the team, just as we did with the hiring of Rangers president John Davidson.”
The Knicks fired Steve Mills from that role on Tuesday, just days after a massive “Sell the team!” chant broke out at Madison Square Garden following a skirmish during their blowout loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Mills was promoted to president in June 2017, replacing Phil Jackson.
A loud "Sell the team" chant rises up at MSG with Knicks down 18 and a fracas on the court just broken up. MSG starts piping in loud music to break it up. Things are not going well in New York tonight. pic.twitter.com/X9zM0VQ3Vg— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) January 30, 2020
At that time, Dolan was reportedly eyeing Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri for Mills’ replacement. The team, however, is apparently ready to hire CAA player agent Leon Rose for its next president, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday before Dolan’s statement.
It’s easy to understand why fans want Dolan to sell the team. The Knicks have only reached the postseason three times in the past decade, last making the playoffs during the 2012-13 season — which was also the last time they posted a winning record. The organization failed during free agency last summer, too, when it had the ability to sign several marquee free agents after trading away Kristaps Porzingis, who was supposed to be the cornerstone for them to rebuild around.
Things aren’t any better this season, either. The Knicks currently boast a 15-36 record, among the worst in the league, and started off winning just four of their first 18 games — which led to the firing of coach David Fizdale in December.
Yet even with their repeated failures, the Knicks are still making Dolan money. The team was valued at $4 billion in 2019, according to Forbes, which makes them the fifth most valuable sports team in the world, the third most in the United States and the most valuable in the NBA.
With that kind of valuation, it’s no wonder Dolan doesn’t want to let them go.
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