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Warriors cautioned Steve Kerr about working for James Dolan

Steve KerrNew York Knicks owner James Dolan hired Phil Jackson so he could yield to an expert. Jackson has been given total control of New York’s basketball operations department, which means Dolan shouldn’t be stepping on any toes going forward. Steve Kerr may not be convinced of that.

Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com is reporting that one of the pitches the Golden State Warriors made to Kerr had to do with the difficulty of working under Dolan. A source “familiar with the process” reportedly told Begley that the Warriors reminded Kerr of how established coaches like Larry Brown and Mike D’Antoni fared with the Knicks and that played a role in Kerr’s decision to choose Golden State.

Kerr’s agent Mike Tannenbaum emphasized the importance of Kerr remaining close to his family.

“Both Golden State and the Knicks were terrific to deal with, and they both made very generous offers,” Tannenbaum said. “This wasn’t a decision about money, or trying to get the last dollar. In the end, for Steve, this was based on lifestyle and family. That was a huge, huge factor in choosing Golden State. Now his family is a short flight away, and that was an extremely important thing for Steve.”

As with any major career decision, I’m sure Kerr considered a number of factors. Reports that he wanted to remain on the West Coast to be closer to his daughter obviously were not overblown, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he also wanted to avoid Dolan. At the end of the day, Dolan still owns the Knicks. As long as that’s the case, there’s always a risk of his influence harming the franchise.

Report: James Dolan blocking Phil Jackson from certain moves

Phil JacksonPhil Jackson took over the New York Knicks’ basketball operations department just over a month ago, and there could already be trouble in paradise. As expected, Jackson fired head coach Mike Woodson and most of his staff earlier this week. More moves are expected within the organization over the next several months. That is, if team owner James Dolan will allow them.

The NY Daily News reported on Tuesday that Jackson has already “clashed” with Dolan over personnel decisions. Dolan, who admitted last month that he is not a basketball expert, apparently disagrees with Jackson’s desire to remove certain employees and has told him to focus his efforts on building a winning team.

When Jackson signed a five-year, $60 million contract and became the highest-paid executive in the league, the assumption was that he would be given an opportunity to change the culture of the Knicks organization — not just the team’s roster.

As the Daily News noted, long-time assistant coach Herb Williams was one of the coaches fired on Monday. Shortly after, a report surfaced indicating the team would “encourage” its next head coach to bring Williams back. Considering Jackson decided to fire him along with Woodson, that makes little sense. Unless, of course, Dolan is the person responsible for the report.

“There are a lot of good people at the Garden and a lot of good people that travel with the team, but if Phil wants to start fresh why wouldn’t you allow him to do that?” a Knicks employee reportedly told the Daily News.

Earlier this week, ESPN New York’s Ian Begley reported that Jackson has been vocal about his disappointment with some of the Knicks’ players conditioning this past season. That has led to speculation that people within the team’s medical and training staff could lose their jobs, which could be one of the issues Jackson and Dolan are not seeing eye-to-eye with.

Jackson made it very clear that he would not have accepted the Knicks job without full control. We know Dolan has a history of vetoing decisions and not allowing the people he hires to work independently. Jackson is not going to allow himself to become just another Dolan employee.

James Dolan: ‘I am by no means an expert in basketball’

James-DolanThe New York Knicks officially introduced Phil Jackson as the newest member of the organization on Tuesday, and with that team owner James Dolan took the opportunity to say a few words. Dolan was honest, though I’m not sure his comments are going to sit well with Knicks fans like the ones who have organized a protest for Wednesday night outside Madison Square Garden.

“I am by no means a basketball expert,” Dolan told reporters, via a video that Deadspin shared. “I’m a fan, but my expertise lies in managing companies and businesses.”

Most Knicks fans would agree with that assessment, but there have been plenty of instances where Dolan has involved himself in the day-to-day basketball operations of the team. He has tried to make roster decisions without consulting his basketball people, which makes little sense when you take Thursday’s comments into consideration.

“I think I’m a little out of my element when it comes to the team,” Dolan said. “I found myself in a position where I needed to be more a part of the decision making for a while. It wasn’t necessarily something that I wanted to do, but as chairman of the company felt obligated to do. I’m happy now that we have a team of Phil and Steve (Mills) to do that.”

Simply put, Dolan was admitting his mistakes. He thought he could handle making basketball decisions the same way a lot of fans think they could do the same, but Dolan was wrong. Will Knicks fans forgive him? Not until the team can sustain success, but you have to admire the honesty.

Carmelo Anthony says he had tea with James Dolan, didn’t discuss Mike Woodson

Carmelo-Anthony-Mike-Woodson-holds-players-accountableA report from the NY Daily News on Thursday indicated that New York Knicks owner James Dolan sat down with Carmelo Anthony earlier this week to discuss the direction of the team. One of the topics they allegedly spoke about was whether head coach Mike Woodson has lost the locker room in the wake of another multi-game losing streak.

The Knicks are 20-30. Anthony has said publicly on multiple occasions that the players are the ones who have to execute and the coaches are not to blame, but his reputation as a coach killer precedes him. A person close to Carmelo reportedly told the Daily News that he is not looking for Woodson to be fired.

“There may be players that have a problem with Woody and want to blame him but Carmelo isn’t one of them,” the source said. “If Carmelo has tuned out Woody or doesn’t want him as a coach, why did he score 62 points two weeks ago? Why was he player of the month in January?”

Almost any coach in Woodson’s position would be on the hot seat, and there have been rumors that he could be fired by the end of the month. It would stand to reason that Dolan would consult Anthony before making such a significant change, especially since ‘Melo can opt out of his contract after the season ends. However, he insist his conversation with Dolan was simply a tea party.

“It wasn’t nothing serious,” Anthony said Friday, via Newsday’s Al Iannazzone. “Just talking. I had tea. He had tea. That’s it. We didn’t get into details about anything. It was just a conversation.”

I don’t know what’s harder to envision — Carmelo sitting around drinking tea or Carmelo and Dolan not discussing the future of a 20-30 team that could be losing its best player at the end of the season. Dolan knows he needs to keep ‘Melo and probably bring in another top free agent in order to contend. If losing Woodson means keeping Anthony, Woodson will be gone.

Knicks fan hacks James Dolan’s band’s Wikipedia page in hilarious fashion

James-DolanNew York Knicks owner James Dolan is not the most popular man among basketball fans. The Knicks, who have not won a championship since 1973, are struggling once again. For those of you who didn’t know, Dolan also performs in a band he founded called “JD & The Straight Shot.”

Dolan’s band is relatively popular, having toured alongside famous bands like The Eagles and The Allman Brothers. According to Dolan’s band’s Wikipedia page, a lot of the songs JD & The Straight Shot have written are about the failures of the Knicks.

James-Dolan-band-Wikipedia-page-hacked

Yes, someone obviously hacked the page. It was likely a disgruntled Knicks fan, and it’s hilarious. We have seen some pretty funny Wikipedia hacks in the past, but this is right up there among the best. If only the person had added “Keep Woody Allen out of My Lounge” and “Tell Those Girls to Stop Dancing” to the list of tracks.

H/T Extra Mustard

James Dolan reportedly banned Woody Allen from MSG VIP lounge

Woody AllenWoody Allen is no longer allowed inside a VIP suite in Madison Square Garden after declining a request to do some promotional work for MSG Network, according to a report.

The four-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker, whose love affair with New York and the Knicks has been expressed throughout his movie career, has been a regular at “Suite 200″, which is the name of the VIP lounge celebrities hang out in before and during halftime of games. But the New York Post says Allen is no longer welcome in there after declining to do promotion for MSG Network or the Garden of Dreams Foundation.

The Post says MSG bought the rights to some of Allen’s movies and asked him to do some specials for them where he would talk about the movies or introduce them.

“Woody said he would not be comfortable doing that,” The Post quoted a source as saying. “He has never done that for any show or network. They then said that this was a ‘reciprocal arrangement’ and that if Woody couldn’t go on TV for them, he should not eat in their VIP restaurant anymore. Woody said fine and thanked them for the many years he had enjoyed the space there.”

Is anyone really surprised by this? Dolan is the same guy who has his head coach followed and who told his dance team to stop dancing because they were losing. He sounds like a real charmer.

I’d love to see Woody weave this storyline into one of his next movies, but I doubt he will. You know Larry David absolutely would if that happened to him.

Knicks have Mike Woodson followed by MSG employee everywhere he goes

Mike WoodsonWe knew that James Dolan was a meddling, whimsical and borderline creepy owner, but this just confirms it.

According to the New York Daily News, Dolan has an MSG employee follow Knicks coach Mike Woodson everywhere he goes.

Here’s a nugget from an article Frank Isola published Wednesday night:

Woodson also allows himself to be followed by a Garden employee everywhere he goes, whether it’s at home games or on the road. Last season, the employee wouldn’t leave Woodson’s side as the coach met with family and friends outside the visiting team locker room in Atlanta. It was an awkward and uncomfortable scene.

This shouldn’t be a surprise; Larry Brown complained about Dolan having spies on him when he coached the team in the 2005-2006 season. Of course, Woodson played and coached for Brown, so he was well aware of what he was getting into when he accepted the position.

But let’s look at this whole thing. So Dolan has an employee follow Woodson. He had Knicks dancers stop performing at home games because of how the team’s been doing. He fired then re-hired a security guard who didn’t know who he was. And he had Carmelo Anthony bugged last season after the whole incident with Kevin Garnett. Big Brother is watching, apparently.

Playing for those Knicks, man, sounds like a real blast. And who needs George Steinbrenner when James Dolan is around?

H/T Beyond the Buzzer