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Thursday, March 15, 2012
Congratulations, James Dolan

By Henry Abbott


On Hardwood Paroxysm, Noam Schiller documents the lurching of the Knicks:
Odds are, Mike Woodson’s future becomes Mike Woodson’s past very quickly. The Knicks are in no position to do anything more substantial than a respectful first round surrender, at which point a franchise attracted to glamour like a moth to a flame will have no choice but to choose the next shiny name from the never ending coaching pool over a dude with an interim tag and peculiar eyebrows. Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson, Stan Van Gundy after Dwight Howard fired him, a re-animated Isaac Newton – the identity of the new man or the absurdity that will surround his inevitable arrival is meaningless in the face of the role he’ll play. The same roles played by Jeremy Lin, Baron Davis, and Tyson Chandler this season, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire last season, and yes, even Mike D’Antoni, back when he was still an offensive innovator that could turn a franchise around. That hopeful savior, he who succeeded so much elsewhere that bringing him to New York is a foolproof strategy, the name that will get the press a-runnin’ and the fans a-hummin’ and the Knicks a-winnin’.

I don’t know what James Dolan was thinking as he stared into the jam-packed conference room where yet another false prophet was buried, his mustache not even cold yet. He may have been wondering where it all went wrong, again. Or maybe he already knows.

Maybe he can see that bringing in Mike D’Antoni, The Name, but ignoring Mike D’Antoni, The System, was just like bringing in Larry Brown, The Name, or Zach Randolph, The Name, or Eddy Curry, The Name. Maybe he realizes that the only difference between a core of Melo-Amar’e-Tyson and one of Marbury-Francis-Rose is that the glitzy players who were available for the harvest in 2011 just happened to be slightly less crazy and slightly more talented than those that were reaped in 2006.

Maybe James Dolan realizes that the true problem in New York isn’t bad luck or a vengeful commissioner or any outward influence that may or may not be biased against TEH GREATEST CITY EVAHHHHHH, but a way of thinking that extends beyond a simple Isiah Thomas. Maybe he realizes that it is him, his attraction to the penny-wise headline above the pound-wise hibernation, that adding patch over patch over patch only gives you a very patchy quilt, that the only time his team was somewhat successful was when he allowed a respected professional carry out a respectful long-term plan.