NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fans have long begged James Dolan to sell, sell, sell.
According to former ESPN and HBO sports personality Bill Simmons, he might just do it. The Knicks, though, say not so fast.
On his latest podcast, Simmons says Dolan is searching for a buyer for his woebegone franchise, which is the most valuable in sports, according to Forbes, but hasn’t produced anything tangible on the court for the better part of the last two decades.
“Multiple people told me this, who know things. James Dolan is courting offers for the Knicks. It’s happening. It’s on. It’s go-time. He’s courting offers for the Knicks. That’s what I heard at All-Star weekend from people I trust,” Simmons said.
The Knicks released a statement not long after this story was published, saying don’t believe everything you hear.
“The story is 100 percent false. There has been nothing. No discussions. No plans to have discussions — nothing,” the team said.
The Knicks (11-47) only recently ended a franchise-record 18-game losing streak and currently have the worst record in the NBA. Many believe it will take a miracle for them to equal their franchise-worst 17-65 record from the 2014-15 season. New York has won one playoff series since the start of the 2000-01 season.
Dolan is constantly under siege from fans who routinely complain on sports talk radio and social media about his tenure as owner. Simmons says if Dolan had his druthers he’d be spending more time on the business side of Madison Square Garden and worrying less about the Knicks. He also owns the NHL’s Rangers, but tends to leave the hockey operations to his hockey people.
“He really cares about the buildings and the in-game/in-concert experience. And he wants to put even more money into that. Like the Forum in LA, which is an amazing place to see a concert, what they’ve done with MSG. He really cares about the buildings,” Simmons said.
Dolan told ESPN late last year that he’ll at the very least listen if any serious suitors emerge.
“No one has come through with a bona fide offer,” Dolan told the network in December. “You hear numbers all the time. … I think people have sent feelers out, but never any that were pursued.”
If indeed they end up on the block, the Knicks could look more attractive to a potential buyer with a successful offseason.
Thanks to the trade of Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, New York now has salary cap space to sign two max free agents this summer. Various insiders have suggested that the Knicks have interest in Golden State Warriors superstar/pending free agent Kevin Durant, as well as New Orleans big man Anthony Davis, who won’t be a free agent until after next season but has informed the Pelicans he has no intentions of re-signing with them. The Knicks, however, are reportedly on his short list of teams he would strongly consider putting pen to paper with on a long-term deal.
Also, the Knicks are expected to be among the three teams with the best odds of winning the Draft Lottery and then selecting Zion Williamson, who many insiders figure will leave Duke after this season.