NY’s empire state of despair
NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - December 11, 2019 - 12:00am

The last time the New York Knicks had a respectable season was during the 2011-2012 season where they won their first division title in almost two decades. They had a prime Carmelo Anthony, a serviceable Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy’s Linsanity.  After that, they were on a free fall which continued up to today.

Since 2010, the Knicks had 6 coaching changes, which included the recent firing of coach David Fizdale.  Management dismissed Fizdale for not delivering to expectations but exactly how can you achieve a satisfactory record after 24 games if the franchise gives you a roster that can’t perform?

He’s supposed to be on the second year of his 4-year, $22 million contract but was let go after an 8-game losing streak.  Prior to his New York job, Fizdale was fired by the Memphis Grizzlies also after an 8-game losing run.  Lesson?  Never lose 8 games in a row in the NBA.   Now jobless, he can lounge in his home and still collect the remainder of his $22 million deal.

Inheriting the job from Jeff Hornacek, Fizdale and the Knicks finished last season with a 17-65 win-loss record, finishing last among the 30 teams.  They’re still today’s worst team after a 4-19 start and they’re on track to sit at the bottom of the standings after 82 games would have ended.  He’s not entirely to blame but in this game, coaches are the most convenient scapegoats. 

Franchise owner James Dolan don’t seem to be bothered by the team’s state of misery because for the fourth consecutive year, the Knicks continue to be the league’s most valuable franchise valued at $4 billion.  And among the most valuable sports franchises in the United States, the Knicks and the New York Yankees are tied at second to the Dallas Cowboys with a $5 billion value. 

With a $1 billion renovation done to the Madison Square Garden which was completed in 2013, the team continues to generate revenue from premium ticket sales on events and programs booked on the arena as well as sponsorships.  Even if the Knicks are losing, there are only a few empty seats during home games.  Then adding to the income, there’s the more than $100 million annual cable deal with the MSG Network is second only to the LA Lakers 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable worth $4 billion done in 2011.

New York basketball fans could be in for more misery for years to come but Dolan seems to be not bothered of all the losing seasons because of the revenues not dependent on basketball.  The Knicks is a team full of traditions, an institution, and it would be a shame if ownership remains passive on the people handling the management and basketball operations.

It’s time to change not only the coach but also the Knicks management.  Until then, New York’s empire state of despair continues.

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