Charles Oakley says his arrest at MSG hurt Knicks in free agency
It has now been more than two years since Charles Oakley was arrested and escorted from Madison Square Garden following a verbal altercation with James Dolan, but the New York Knicks legend believes the incident is still impacting the team’s ability to attract top talent.
Oakley joined Kimberly Jones and John Jastremski on WFAN Monday to discuss the Knicks missing out on Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and other top free agents, and he said he has spoken with players and agents who told him they are “upset about what happened two years ago.” Oakley said that has factored into their decisions to pass on the Knicks.
“People respect me. A lot of stuff that went on wasn’t right, and from the Commissioner on down, nobody has tried to address it. But the players have seen it for themselves,” Oakley said.
“They’re not trying to go to an environment where someone says something, and somebody is going to come talk to him with an axe, or someone is going to come and put handcuffs on him. They don’t want that kind of environment.”
Oakley said the fans in New York will always remain loyal to the Knicks, but players “don’t want to be around a bad, toxic situation.” He also said he has reached out to Dolan to try to smooth things over and been turned away.
There have been reports that Durant still wanted to sign with the Knicks but chose the Brooklyn Nets because he wanted to play with Kyrie Irving. Dolan would also like us to believe that it was his choice to pass on Durant, not the other way around. Of course, no one is really buying that.
As for Oakley, we know there have been many prominent people who have taken his side in his ongoing feud with the Knicks. While that particular incident probably hasn’t played a big role in the team missing out on superstar players, you could make the argument that the reason it became such a major issue — Dolan’s massive ego — has.