James Dolan reign as executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Co. and majority owner of the New York Knicks has been synonymous with failure.
Since taking over in 1999, the businessman has made it abundantly clear that he should be nowhere near the front office of a sports franchise, let alone two (he also owns the NHL’s Rangers).
After making the NBA Finals in 1999, the Knicks didn’t post another winning season until the 2012-13 season.
But success on the court is one thing. His executive decisions have been questionable, to say the least. Just look at some of the things he’s done:
– Offered Allan Houston a $100 million contract when no one else offered $75 million
– Hired Isaiah Thomas as team president and general manager
– Gave head coach Larry Brown a five-year, $50 million contract and then fired him after just one season
– Let Jeremy Lin walk without matching a $25.1 million offer sheet from the Houston Rockets
– Eviscerated elderly and lifelong Knicks fan Irving Bierman in a response to the then-73-year-old’s letter denouncing Dolan’s leadership.
He is widely considered as the worst owner in the NBA if not one of the worst in all of sports, which has had Knicks fans pleading for a miracle in the form of Dolan selling the team.
According to BTIG financial analyst Brandon Ross, those prayers might be answered (h/t Barstool Sports).
“Following the sale of the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion, we would not be surprised to see the Dolan family consider a sale of the Knicks and/or the Rangers,” Ross wrote.
According to Barstool, Madison Square Garden shares rose 1.8-percent on Monday and are up 30-percent this year alone. Basically, there is speculation that Dolan would just quit while he was ahead.
Their television empire has been dwindling over the past few years as MSG Networks Inc. separated from Madison Square Garden Co. in 2015, the same year he sold Cablevision to Altice, a French broadcasting company.
Dolan has made it known that he’s seen the hardships his brand and other big channels like ESPN has fallen under thanks to the revolution of less-expensive providers that range from websites to video game systems.
That could result in Dolan selling MSG Networks and “at least partially monetizing MSG’s sports interests.”
It would be an enormous payday for Dolan should he actually sell the team. Ross believes that the price tag could be as high as $4 billion which would shatter the record recently set by Tilman Fertitta when he bought the Rockets from Leslie Alexander.
In February, Forbes valued the Knicks at $3.3 billion, the most expensive franchise in the NBA.