By John Schmeelk
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As a kid watching the 1994 NBA Finals, I suffered as the New York Knicks lost to the Houston Rockets in a gut-wrenching seven-game series.
The 12-year-old version of me, much like my 32-year-old self, cared little about hockey. But that young man was extremely upset when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup finals. He didn’t believe that God — or fate, or whatever you’d prefer — would allow two teams that played in the same building to win a championship in the same year.
That kid has grown up (sorta) and now he desperately wants the Rangers to beat the Los Angeles Kings. Nope, I still don’t care about hockey. I might not even watch any of the games in the finals. But if the Rangers win the Cup, it would mean James Dolan is capable of being an owner of a championship team.
That’s a good thing for the Knicks.
It would also show Dolan that if he runs the Knicks the same way he runs the Rangers, they could have similar success. Unlike Dolan’s continued meddling with the Knicks, he has more or less let Glen Sather run the Rangers without any interference. The same type of full autonomy that Phil Jackson was promised is what Sather has had for more than a decade. A Stanley Cup for the Rangers would increase the probability that Dolan sticks to his promise to Jackson. He would be more patient rather than less, and more likely to give Jackson a chance to build the Knicks his way.
That’s all Knicks fans can hope for. There’s no guarantee Jackson would lead the Knicks to a championship, but there’s a much greater chance compared to the days of Dolan meddling with Donnie Walsh or Glen Grunwald.
Knicks fans don’t have much to be hopeful about, but a Rangers title can help us imagine Dolan letting Phil do his job.
In other words, let’s go Rangers! Even if you just root for the Knicks.
– The $25,000 fine levied on Jackson is nothing more than a drop in the bucket for the millionaire team president, but perhaps it will motivate him to get Derek Fisher on board quickly. There doesn’t seem to be any real competition for Fisher if media reports are to be believed. The Lakers, apparently, have no interest, but there is a worry that Fisher might not want to relocate his family to New York. This time around, Jackson needs to close the deal and get his guy.
– With draft picks being considered more valuable than in years’ past, the Knicks will more than likely not be able to buy a first-round selection. But they should be able to purchase a second rounder that could yield a good player. It’s the Knicks front office’s job over the next month to find a diamond in the rough worthy of that pick.
– Finally, Lamar Odom is a low-risk and high-reward signing. I hope he can turn his life around, but I don’t know if he still has it inside of him to be an effective player.
Follow John on Twitter @Schmeelk for everything Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the world of sports.
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