What is the worst-run organization in the NBA?

What is the worst-run organization in the NBA?

by August 5, 2019 0 comments

Who should be dubbed the worst-run team in the NBA? There are a few contenders for this prestigious award.

Throughout the last decade, the New Orleans Pelicans, formerly known as the Hornets, might have been considered the worst-run organization. Superstars such as Chris Paul and Anthony Davis have come and gone through New Orleans due to the front office’s incompetence. But it looks as if they are turning it around with David Griffin at the helm now.

The Chicago Bulls, a historically great franchise, are now suffering a period of mediocrity, running through a few coaches in the last couple of years, locker room scuffles, and not many playoff appearances.

The Phoenix Suns have also been a very mediocre franchise for a while now. They have not reached the playoffs since their 2010 Western Conference Finals loss and have been in the cellar of the league for a while now.

But there is one franchise that sticks out like a sore thumb as the worst run organization in the NBA currently. This franchise is the New York Knickerbockers.

The New York Knicks, like the Bulls, are one of the most historically great franchises in NBA history. New York is, or at least was, one of the best sports cities in the world. It is often referred to as the “Mecca of Basketball,” primarily due to the great history of the Madison Square Garden.

Despite the current NBA team that calls Madison Square Garden it’s home, MSG is one of the greatest sports venues in history, known as “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” When players are scheduled to play at MSG, they circle that game on their calendar, and they fully expect to put on a show. MSG was home to Carmelo Anthony’s 62-point game, Kobe Bryant’s 61-point game, and Michael Jordan’s 55-point game. These are just a few of the many notable shows put on in Madison Square Garden. Between the ingenious engineering and design of the building, Spike Lee jawing at the opponents from his courtside seat, and the rich allure of the arena, you get the full experience when visiting MSG. That is, if you aren’t attending a Knicks game and expecting them to win.

James Dolan is the main culprit of the dysfunction currently seen with the Knicks. He said it himself at Phil Jackson’s introductory press conference when he said, “I am by no means a basketball expert. I’m a fan, but my expertise lies in managing companies and businesses.” He then went on to say that he is out of his element when it comes to the team and basketball decisions.

That is not something that someone of his stature should say publicly to the thousands of fans relying on him too right the ship with the franchise.

During his tenure as owner, he has made a plethora of acquisitions and hires that have left many scratching their heads. Since Dolan took over the franchise, he has gone through coaches like they are going out of style. The list of coaches that have come and gone goes on and on, all having very short tenures with the Knicks. Not only has he run through coaches like crazy, but he has also hired and fired quite a few executives. Dolan’s two most notable hires as President of Basketball Operations, Isiah Thomas and Phil Jackson, both ended pretty badly. But it does not end with his coaching and executive hires.

During the James Dolan era, the Knicks have made many free agent moves that were extremely questionable and killed the team’s chances of winning. Let’s take a look at some of the more head-scratching player moves that have been made under Dolan.

  • The Knicks signed Allan Houston to a six-year, $100 million extension in 2001. Houston played very productively in the first two years of the deal, but had injury problems in the years that followed. Although he was not able to play, the Knicks still paid the remaining $40 million left on his deal. The deal ended up being so bad that the NBA created the “Allan Houston Rule” for situations like this.
  • Thomas signed former Seattle SuperSonics center, Jerome James, to a five-year, $30 million deal in 2005. This deal came after a solid playoff stretch in which he averaged 16.7 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game in 11 games (an extremely small sample size). This performance came after a very sub-par regular season in which he averaged only 4.9 points per game and 3.0 rebounds per game. In his four seasons with the Knicks, James averaged an enemic 2.5 points per game and 1.8 rebounds per game.
  • In 2005, the Knicks made a trade that was centered around acquiring Eddy Curry from the Bulls. The Knicks traded two first-round picks, among other assets, that ended up turning into LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah. Curry had one good season, averaging 19.5 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game. After that season, he only played in 69 total games the next three years and struggled with weight problems, injuries, and legal issues. He was later traded in a three-team deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York.

Along with these terrible acquisitions, Dolan has had run-ins with past Knicks legends and fans in recent years. Patrick Ewing, one of the greatest Knicks in history, felt insulted when he was offered a head coaching job for their D-League team. Ewing had been an assistant for Washington, Houston, and Orlando in the past and felt deserving of a higher role than the D-League, especially since other former players such as Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, and Walt Frazier were on the staff.

In 2017, Dolan ejected Charles Oakley and banned him from Knicks’ games at the Garden in the future. He claimed Oakley, who was a huge critic of Dolan, was taunting him from his seat.

And last but not least, Dolan ejected a fan from the stadium for yelling, “Sell the team!” from his seat. He was voicing what just about every Knicks fan was most likely thinking.

From many coaching changes, front office hirings, and player acquisition blunders, it is no surprise that that poor Knicks fan told Dolan to sell the team. This organization was once a great place to play. Now, under the reign of Dolan, it has turned into a dumpster fire.

In the 2019 offseason, Dolan expected to land a few big free agents, but came away with a bunch of power forwards that will not push them to the playoffs. It seems that the allure of playing in Madison Square Garden has been overshadowed by the awful ownership, and it is no longer a place that marquee players want to call their home court.

The Knicks have some young players on their current roster that make their future look semi-promising, but they should not expect to win anything of value in the near future. Madison Square Garden will always be a great place to play for opposing players and it will always be considered “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” but as of now, the New York Knicks are far-and-away the worst-run organization in the NBA.

Here’s to hoping something changes and this historic franchise returns to prominence.

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