TrueHoop: James Dolan
All expenses paid from your doorstep to an NBA arena 10 times during the 2012-13 season. First class on your preference of air carrier (that means double qualifying miles!) and the penthouse suite at the hotel of your choosing. Once you're at the venue, you can sit wherever you like.
Only two disclaimers: You can't attend a repeat matchup (for instance, only one of the two Heat-Thunder games) and you can visit a specific home floor only twice (for instance, no more than two Lakers home games at Staples Center).
Which 10 games do you want?
My 10, in chronological order:
Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Hornets, Nov. 16
You never need an excuse to drop into New Orleans, but Anthony Davis' arrival warrants a visit.
Davis projects as one of the best defensive players of his generation. A home date against an offensive juggernaut like the Thunder will be Davis' first graduate-level exam in the defensive arts. We'll be waiting for that first switch when Davis -- as sound a perimeter defender as big men come -- finds himself face-to-face with Kevin Durant.
New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets, Dec. 11
The two teams launch the season against one another on Nov. 1, but opening games, even ones filled with anticipation, are often nothing more than throat clearing by both clubs. But six weeks into the season, the Knicks and Nets will have forged an identity and sculpted systems (or at least tried to). And any intrigue that materialized in the first matchup will resurface in Round 2.
Throughout its history, Brooklyn has traditionally existed as a cultural, demographic and rhythmic counterpart to Manhattan. In 2012, the borough is as healthy as ever. Can that vitality fuel a fan base and, if so, what are some of the collective features of those devotees? Will it resemble anything like New York's storied baseball rivalries of yore?
Houston Rockets at New York Knicks, Dec. 17
How many intriguing characters can you cram into a two-hour NBA drama on the league's most dramatic stage?
The cast starts with Jeremy Lin, who sparked nightly riots at Madison Square Garden during a glorious run in February and March. Then there's Carmelo Anthony who classified the offer sheet Lin signed with Houston as ridiculous and whom reports claim didn't want to play alongside Lin anyhow. Knicks owner James Dolan, whose favorable-unfavorable numbers among fans already hovered at congressional levels, further enraged the base by choosing an inopportune time to tighten the purse strings. Finally, the New York fans for whom a supernova performance from Lin would be every bit as wrenching as it would be exhilarating.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat, Dec. 25
As the clock ticked away on the Thunder's season in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, something sparked in Kevin Durant's eyes. His proximity to the Heat's celebration a few yards down the sideline was unbearable. Durant was no longer interested in marshaling a troop of upstarts whose athleticism could challenge the most polished outfits in the league. At that moment, he graduated to a title-or-bust guy.
That drive should propel the Thunder to a romp through their 2012-13 schedule. The Thunder won't be adding a new piece, unlike the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan returned and the team won 72 games, but Oklahoma City has a chance for a prolific season during which they lose only two or three times a month. The crescendo will start building on Christmas afternoon when the Heat arrive.
Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers, Jan. 4
Angelenos don't share a lot of communal civic experiences, not even in sports. The baseball and hockey rivalries between the city and Orange County have never been meaningful; but last season the Lakers and Clippers developed something real.
The Lakers are still the gold standard in town, but, for the first time last season, the Clippers brought charisma and star power to the party. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin on the floor, the Clippers legitimately believe it's a fair fight and that was evident during the team's three-game season series. Don't expect any dip in the intensity in 2012-13.
Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers, Jan. 8
The Pacers have to feel like the Eastern Conference semifinals slipped through their fingers. By no means was it a choke job of any kind, but they had a 2-1 lead against a wounded Heat team that was imploding on the scene.
Indiana should put another quality squad on the floor in 2012-13, but windows don't stay open for very long in the NBA. That's especially true for teams like the Pacers that have to carefully choose the right moment in time and hit the target when those opportunities arise. The first rematch with the Heat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (while we're choosing buildings, why not go to the best?) should open a few wounds between two teams that went at it intensely in May.
Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers, Jan. 17
The Heat and Lakers were hyped to death in 2010-11 as two freight trains bearing down on each other toward a collision in the 2011 Finals.
That matchup never came to fruition and the lines on the Kobe-LeBron parallel have faded, but Heat-Lakers is still event basketball, especially at Staples Center. The colors on the floor pop beneath the creative lighting scheme while public address announcer Lawrence Tanter's baritone brings gravitas to the game. Since one Lakers home game is a must on the NBA tour, the choice is easy.
Miami Heat at Boston Celtics, Jan. 27
The climax of most homecomings usually occurs during opening introductions, then gradually fades over the course of the night unless the returnee goes unconscious or hits the dagger. Allen is certainly capable of draining a game winner, but his return trip to the TD Garden will be especially entertaining because, when it comes to crowd reaction, Boston fans are utterly unpredictable.
Allen could be greeted like a New England prince or could be taunted from the moment he sets foot in the arena two hours prior to tip for his ritualistic individual shootaround. It's anyone's guess.
New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets, March 13
Of all the returns to the scenes of the crimes, this figures to be the most compelling. You have to talk to a lot of NBA fans in Colorado before you find one who has nice things to say about Carmelo Anthony.
When Anthony walks into the Pepsi Center in Denver on March 13, 25 months will have passed since he'd cleaned out his locker. Time can heal, but in the case of the Nuggets faithful, you have to wonder if there's not a deep, pent-up resentment of Anthony. Of course, Anthony knows this, and that reaction will only incite him.
San Antonio at Oklahoma City, April 4
Provided the Spurs aren't locked into a seed and on their conservation diet, it's hard to experience anything other than top-shelf basketball when these two teams match up. Their Western Conference final proved to be the best chess match of the spring, and the stylistic contrasts should be every bit as pronounced in 2012-13.
Tim Duncan re-upped for three years with San Antonio, but as his career winds down, it's worth fully experiencing his final performances. Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will always be indelible in our minds, but conjuring up mental images of Duncan's greatness when he retires will require a deeper plunge into our memories.
This just suddenly made all kinds of sense to me, possibly way later than everybody else in the world.
But bear with me.
Alan Hahn of Newsday has an article citing a single anonymous source (red alert!) saying that Monta Ellis might like to play in Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo style.
It's kind of a "duh, who wouldn't?" thing. Players have reportedly been eager to join D'Antoni's fun system in Phoenix for years. Why would that be any different in New York? People like scoring buckets!
And here's where the genius of Donnie Walsh comes to play: No matter how the Knicks are going to rebuild, it will have to involve free agents. Free agents love Mike D'Antoni. Always have.
In Phoenix, however, free agents have been limited by the team's other massive financial commitments, and the reticence of owner Robert Sarver to spend like a maniac.
But the Knicks will spend like maniacs! That has an NBA fact!
Great big pile of James Dolan money + a coach everyone wants to play for = a future rich with first-rate free agents.
So, there's that mid-level exception to play with, which is good enough for real players these days. And, of course, the team's ongoing project to shed payroll to get under the salary cap in the free-agent rich summer of 2010.
On my way home from watching the Warriors wax the Knicks.
I can't decide who was the most unhappy person in Madison Square Garden tonight.
- By looks, it's James Dolan, who could barely manage to stay upright as he harrumphed his way through the game in his baseline seat. He's rich! He's powerful! He stars in his own rock band! He owns the fanciest and most expensive toy in the world: the New York Knicks! And he's slumping and morose throughout the game. At one point they handed him what I assume was a box score, and he sneered at it.
- Could be Mardy Collins whose 1/4 assist-to-turnover ratio only begins to tell the tale of how impressively he did not make a case for more minutes. (His misses, turnovers, and fouls compared to his total points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks: 9/3)
- Could be Jared Jeffries, who worked like a dog all summer retooling his game, and now can't get on the court.
- Could be Stephon Marbury, who stood on the floor in the middle of his hometown, in the world's "most famous arena," and was booed every time he touched the ball. In a special treat from his coach he was also given the gift of getting his starting job back on the night Baron Davis was in town to embarrass whomever was starting. Baron Davis (who is an absolute joy to watch) ended up with 31, 7, and 6. If Stephen Jackson had warmed up a little earlier, Davis could have had ten assists or more.
- Could be Isiah Thomas, the person who has to answer for this mess. The man carries himself with a certain poise, which is not easy when the crowd repeatedly chants "fire Isiah!" He said after the game that with the basketball that was being played on the court, fans deserved to yell whatever they wanted.
- Could be Nate Robinson, who appers to play harder than any other Knick, and ended up with an 0-fer.
- In reality, though, gven all of the above, I guess you have to hand the crown to any Knick fan (or these guys) who showed up hoping to be entertained tonight. The mood in that arena was apathetic and sour. Something has got to give.
The sports lawyer Howard Wasserman, whom I linked to yesterday, has been thinking about it further, and is now more certain than ever that the league is wrong to hide behind the "it's a civil case" argument. On the Sports Law Blog he writes:
Private litigation has become a (the?) significant method of enforcing federal policy prohibiting gender discrimination in employment. Since the government does not have the resources or energy to pursue every instance of unlawful employment discrimination, anti-discrimination laws, by design, depend on private civil enforcement. Injured persons, acting as "private attorneys general," use private civil litigation to enforce federal law against wrongdoers, and in doing so, serve and further the public interest in seeking to ensure societal equality. The jury found that Thomas and MSG violated federal and state law, violations that routinely are exposed and remedied through civil rather than criminal litigation.
Second, this view ignores that there are civil matters and then there are civil matters. This cannot be treated the same as a civil suit arising from off-the-court conduct, such as a car accident or a contract dispute with the guy Thomas hired to renovate his house. If Thomas were found liable for failing to pay his contractor, and even ordered to pay substantial damages, no NBA response is appropriate. But this lawsuit arises out of Thomas' role as the president and coach of an NBA team, and goes precisely to how Thomas performs his NBA-related functions. That is a question with which the league should be concerned, again regardless of whether it is civil or criminal. One could argue, I suppose, that Thomas and/or Dolan could be a good team executives, good at what they do, business-wise, even if they treat their employees poorly. But that does not work when we go beyond mere poor treatment and into unlawful treatment.
Or consider the question this way: Should the league be more concerned with players' off-court criminal misconduct that has nothing to do with the league (other than the effect on "image") than with a team executive's civil misconduct arising from the way that executive performs his league duties?
Or this way: Suppose a white team executive fired his Black head coach because of the coach's race and explicitly used racial slurs in doing it and the coach prevails on a race discrimination claim, recovering major compensatory and punitive damages. Would Stern really do nothing to the executive because it is a "civil matter"?
If you read my last post, you know that I have been wondering about Madison Square Garden. Let's assume the jury was right, and the work environment there is pretty much scandalously terrible for women.
What forces might be in play to make it better?
Dr. Martha Burk knows about that kind of stuff. You can read her full biography here.
She is an expert in politics and women's equity, co-founder of the Center for Advancement of Public Policy, and author of the book "Cult of Power" about sexual discrimination in the workplace. She's also the former chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations who famously pressured Augusta National Golf Club to allow female members.
She took my questions by phone earlier today.
Do you think the NBA has an obligation to, in some way, reprimand or punish the Knicks or Isiah Thomas?
They don't have a legal obligation, but they do have a moral one. The Knicks and the NBA, one's fate depends on the other. That leverage could be used to great effect. The fact that it's not shows how seriously these things are taken by the League.
The fact that the League is not doing anything about it is, frankly, not a big surprise to me.
Can we expect voluntary changes in the way business is conducted at the Garden?
This verdict is a good symbolic victory. But the judgment is not big enough to get anybody's real attention. I'm glad she did it, don't get me wrong. And I saw her statement about how she did it on behalf of working women everywhere. But this is probably a small judgment in terms of the Garden's total operating expenses. It probably won't even be a footnote in the Garden's annual report. It's like a mosquito bite. Not enough of a problem to force a change. It's just the cost of doing business and you move on.
What methods might activists use to pressure the Garden?
I haven't looked at it, but one thing somebody should do is look into the chartering of Madison Square Garden. Is there city or state money going in there? If there is, then pressuring the state or city bodies to impose real discipline, or at least strong warnings in case this happens again, would be a good step. I don't know the financial underpinnings of the Garden, but if there's public money in there, public entities would absolutely be in a position to bring pressure.
The stories that the jury presumably found most credible from the trial were, if true, amazing. A woman routinely called "bitch" in the workplace, then hugged, kissed, and propositioned. An intern having sex with a high-profile employee. Sexual harassment by the star's cousin, and the team's president. An executive fired for raising the issue. And there's another Madison Square Garden case coming down pike. It sounds like romper room.
It sounds like a frat house, doesn't it? But it's not shocking. It's part of a continuum that starts in junior high. Athletes are treated like special people. Look at any high school. I'm from Texas, and that Friday Night Lights thing hasn't changed in 35 years. Think about Lawrence Philips. He dragged a woman down the stairs by the hair. And in the long run he just got bigger and bigger as a football star. They feel things like rules -- of society, of decency, and of the law -- are beneath them.
Where else, but in sports, could an employee do something like have sex with an intern and not get fired? Can you imagine that at some bank? Or a medical facility? Any corporation?
And the leagues hold players to no accountability for that kind of behavior. That makes a huge statement.
They get in more trouble for fighting with each other than they do for mistreating women.
And yet, in promoting the WNBA, the NBA and its partners have a strong pro-woman message.
But do they mean it? The salaries in the WNBA are pathetic compared to the NBA. I know, I know, they'll tell you the NBA makes money and the WNBA doesn't. But the NBA didn't make money for the first 25 years it existed. Then they bitch and moan about paying women $40,000 more, when all they make is $40,000. David Stern himself was very very supportive in all of his public statements when he talked about women and how they make the WNBA so good. I commended him for that, until their agreement came up for negotiations three or four years ago. The union asked me to help raise the profile of their issues, which I did to the best of my ability. And then David Stern went negative, so to speak.
There has been talk that activists might go after those who sponsor the Knicks, the Garden, or the NBA.
I think that's entirely appropriate. Corporations put their dollars where their values are. And if Madison Square Garden is systematically engaging in diminishing women, and maybe even criminal behavior, it says something about the corporations who support that.
And that's a marketplace solution. They all cry about regulations. This isn't regulatory. This is the market saying we don't support this.
Do those kinds of efforts work?
It's difficult. I have tried it with some success, and some "not success." It depends on the individual at the head of the corporation in question. It depends on who's on the board. It depends on what other trouble there is for that corporation at that moment.
But in the end, they tend to look at the dollars first, and make a calculation. They look at the income from the sponsorship versus the cost of the public relations hit, and then proceed accordingly.
At Augusta National, for instance, despite what Hootie Johnson said, sponsors pulled out. They allowed him to say that he had dropped them, but they were in touch with me and I know that several walked away.
Then it all blows over, and many of them come back. Coca-Cola was a prominent one that did not return. But several others did.
If Madison Square Garden said they wanted to do better, what kinds of changes would you like to see?
There's something that, in legal circles, they call programmatic reform. It's a process for training accountability, letting everyone know what's happening, and setting up whistle-blower and ombudsman programs. The training is the main thing. And then, if there are reports of trouble, you need the whistleblower protected from being fired or marginalized, and swift action in response.
The bottom line is that people know what they can get away with, because they know what they have been getting away with. For example, if players knew they would lose their job if they got into a fight in a bar, there would be a lot less of that. It's the same thing here. If people know they won't get in trouble for mistreating women, you're essentially giving them permission to do so.
And this kind of program wouldn't cost more than a drop in the bucket.
Recently there was a big Morgan Stanley settlement. It was $46 million in a class action laws
uit. There was a $7.5 million component for programmatic relief. It will shape their policies, set up new procedures, and ultimately change how they think about women.
Is there reason to believe that program will work?
It can. The best indicator is whether or not the behavior that started it all happens again.
The other thing they can do at Madison Square Garden is put more women on the board of directors, and in "direct line" positions. Women have a different sensibility about these things, and kind of breaks up the boy's club, or frat house mentality.
I don't know how closely you keep in touch with the goings on around the NBA, but do you have reason to believe this kind of thing is common around the league?
I have no reason to believe it isn't. And for the reasons I gave earlier -- the culture of sports, and the immunity of athletes -- you have to wonder.
I think I know the answer to this, but just please explain, if you will, exactly why the kind of behavior described in the Isiah Thomas trial is bad.
You're treating someone as a lesser being. It's personally demeaning, and insulting. Every day. You're treated like someone who is there to be used. We see the same thing in racial harassment law suits, where people are objectified, made to feel lesser. You are diminished, and the organization where it's happening is diminished in a different way.
And it generalizes to your view of women outside the workplace. It's like a chicken and egg thing. Some men don't have respect for women as a group. So then individual women are fair game. And the more that happens, the more you see and partake in demeaning women as individuals, the more you lose respect for them as a group.
A lot of male bigwigs in the NBA and at Madison Square Garden presumably have mothers, wives, and daughters, right? Wouldn't that make it hard to sweep women's issues under the rug?
Many men are willing to divorce situations like this from their families and loved ones. They just don't think like that. I think it is possible to be a good husband and father and all that while behaving this way at work, because people are bifurcated. Other women are "them." And then their wives and daughters they see differently.
And until something really meaningful happens -- it costs them their jobs, or it costs so much money that the organization can't tolerate it anymore -- they don't change.
This verdict, in this case, will quite likely be reduced, too. That's what happens in a lot of these kinds of cases.
So, it's a good symbolic victory, but it will probably not be enough to stop this kind of thing from happening again.
(Photo: Joyce Naltchayan/Getty Images)
ESPN's J.A. Adande can't believe David Stern isn't going to reprimand or punish Isiah Thomas, James Dolan, or Madison Square Garden:
He holds players accountable for what they wear to the games, what lines they rap in a recording studio, how they behave in the offseason.
But when it comes to owners, he's been a softie. Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss pleaded guilty to drunk driving over the summer without any repercussions from the league. What's a bigger threat to society: a 23-year-old player walking into the locker room with baggy jeans and a do-rag or a 74-year-old team owner driving with a blood alcohol content of .13?
Now there's this Garden mess, in which Dolan came off as an indifferent frathouse president, Thomas was portrayed as a person who doesn't mind women being called "bitches" (as long as black people are saying it) and doesn't care about the season ticket holders (as long as they are white people), and the term "truck sex" appeared in a New York Post headline (to describe a rendezvous between a player and a team intern).
If Stern is concerned about the "culture" of the NBA, and how it's viewed by fans and sponsors, shouldn't he start with the Knicks?
Dolan and Thomas should be fined and suspended -- or even removed, if Stern could stomach all the legal bills that would entail.
Adande makes a strong case. I recommend reading the whole thing.
I can't say I ever thought the NBA would publicly reprimand or punish Isiah Thomas or the Knicks. The reason? The actions of the NBA -- and most businesses -- fairly predictably, follow the dictates of what's best for the bottom line, specifically from the point of view of the 30 team owners David Stern serves.
Players are made to wear button-down shirts, because market research shows button-down shirts appeal to the audience that matters. If it makes teams more successful, it's easy to justify what may be an over-reach. (No good being right on this or that issue if you run the league into the ground.)
Would the NBA make a bunch more money if they essentially went to war with the New York franchise? Hard to see how that could happen. In fact, the opposite would almost certainly be true. Don't forget, James Dolan is not afraid of spending big money on media smear campaigns, like he did to help defeat a Jets' stadium in Manhattan. It may well be the right thing to do (how does this hands-off approach jive with the pro-woman message of the WNBA?).
But it would be a messy and scary business precedent. If David Stern drops the hammer hard, he would be telling 30 teams that if they get into sexual harassment trouble -- something that, sadly, happens at a lot of businesses -- the NBA is coming knocking.
That doesn't make owning an NBA team more attractive. That doesn't make owners in other cities feel like dumping more and more money into their NBA teams. Some of the best owners, from a business perspective, are macho billionaires living their dreams. David Stern can not be in the business of being the ultimate buzzkill -- unless he's forced into the position.
It would take exquisite work -- PR, lobbying the NBA's sponsors, etc. -- by women's rights advocates and others, to actually make this verdict, and these tales of Madison Square Garden, hurt the long-term bottom line of the Knicks and/or the league.
If history is any guide, as long as people keep buying tickets, and if the team can play reasonably well, there just won't be a pressing business reason to intervene.
One other long-shot caveat: some unforeseen force could arrive on the scene. A presidential candidate might take this on, I suppose, as a way to score points with women voters. Or maybe Oprah feels like spreading the gospel of Anucha Browne Sanders.
Or, maybe players want Isiah Thomas disciplined. That could change things, I'd think. It's a well-kept secret, but in real terms, the players hold the lion's share of power in the NBA. They sell the tickets, and drive the ratings. I can't imagine a lot of players speaking out much against Isiah Thomas, a well-decorated member of the NBA fraternity. But the Toronto Globe and Mail's Michael Grange, traveling with the Raptors in Italy, says that quietly at least one player feels it's only fair the league punish Thomas in some fashion. Grange writes:
... there is some interest among players to see exactly what happens to Thomas by way of NBA discipline. One I talked to made the point that if this was a player there would be little doubt he'd be facing a suspension. What about a team president?
Report from MSG
Surely the best thing for all involved is if the Garden somehow sees the light, and makes an honest effort to do better day in and day out, for the long haul. Policing yourself is a fantastic solution, when it works. Selena Roberts, in today's New York Times, paints a bleak picture of what things are like at the Garden now, under James Dolan:
Inside the Garden, "Got Hurt?" has become the slogan for vulnerable staffers. For years, he has wounded careers and savaged dissenters while assembling a cult of personality where only his sycophants survive amid a game of Jim-nastics.
Bend around his outbursts -- or you'll end up like the employee fired for serving flat cola. Maneuver past Jim's insecurity -- or you'll be eviscerated like the security guard who didn't recognize the Garden owner's face.
There are so many hothead tales. But the tawdry, hostile dark side of the Garden remained largely a secret kept through confidentiality agreements and severance payoffs that functioned as hush money. ...
Under Jim's reign, a perverse office lingo developed, filled with b-words and p-words -- the alphabet soup of misogyny -- that functioned as daily salutations.
Under Jim's ownership, a rise in superstar entitlement provided Stephon Marbury with a green light to rock his truck during some backseat boogie with a Garden intern after a strip-club escapade.
Under Jim's nose, Thomas added to the Garden's creepy vibe by dismissively treating Browne Sanders as if she were nothing more than a groupie he once charmed during his playing days.
All this, and with a case of Kama Sutra on the way. Soon, a former Rangers City Skater is expected to take the Garden to court for yet another sexual harassment claim in what is expected to be a lewd depiction of her workplace environment.
Roberts has sources with NBA teams saying that Stern will take action to clean up the work environment at MSG, but behind the scenes, in a way that does not further sully the name of one of his biggest-revenue teams.
Roberts' sources, who work for NBA teams, suggest Stern (and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, too) will approach James Dolan's father and boss at Cablevision, Charles Dolan. Her sources suspect Stern will encourage Charles to rein in his son for the good of the league.
Interesting side note that speaks to the mood at the Garden: Roberts also has two sources at MSG saying that a planned rah rah MSG rally by current employees -- certainly for PR purposes -- never materialized because several employees refused to take part.
No Easy Solution
I guess the other idea is: maybe this problem will all go away on its own! Maybe an appeal will succeed, and Isiah Thomas and James Dolan will be vindicated, and the leag
ue will not have to get its hands dirty in all this.
In Richard Sandomir's New York Times article, an expert warns against expecting this decision being reversed on appeal:
Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond Law School and a former civil litigator, doubted the appeal would succeed.
"The jury heard the facts and it is unusual that an appeals court would overturn a jury finding which was so fact-intensive," he said in a telephone interview. "There isn't much basis unless there was a legal error, and Judge Lynch has a very good reputation for making sure his cases are fairly and properly tried."
Tobias said that the jury not holding Mr. Thomas financially liable "is not a large enough inconsistency that could have this overturned."
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the Browne Sanders verdict -- yet to be appealed -- barely makes the top ten in terms of ways the Knicks are shelling out money for their mistakes:
1. Zach Randolph, owed $51M guaranteed, starting with $13.3M this season.
2. Stephon Marbury, owed $42M guaranteed, starting with $20.1M this season.
3. Eddy Curry, owed $40.3M guaranteed, starting with $8.9M this season.
4. Jerome James, owed $18.6M guaranteed, starting with $5.8M this season.
5. Jared Jeffries, owed $25M guaranteed, starting with $5.6M this season.
6. Jamal Crawford, owed $16.5M guaranteed, starting with $7.9M this season.
7. Malik Rose, owed $14.6M guaranteed, starting with $7.1M this season.
8. Anucha Browne Sanders, owed $11.6M, pending appeal.
Similarly, Fanhouse has list of Isiah Thomas's greatest blunders. Jerome James doesn't even make the top five.
Here's ESPN's Chris Sheridan on TV saying this verdict will in no way affect James Dolan's commitment to Isiah Thomas:
And, writing on SI.com, sports lawyer Michael McCann says that if there is an appeal, it won't be nearly as salacious as this trial:
If there is an appeal, none of the parties or witnesses would testify, which would immediately remove the possibility of controversial live testimony. In addition, the appellate court would not consider any new evidence, so no more sensational fodder for the tabloids. Instead, attorneys for the parties would engage in a largely academic and theoretical discussion about the law and how it applies to this case, a process more commonly known as appellate advocacy. In making their arguments, the attorneys could refer only to the trial court's written record, including affidavits and the transcript of the trial court proceedings.