New York Knicks owner James Dolan doesn't often feel the need to speak publicly. He lets his actions speak for themselves.
Of course, when so many actions involve opening his mouth and inserting his foot, the simple act of talking can be a challenge.
Luckily, though, he managed to keep his feet clear from his face for long enough to chat with Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post.
That was easier than normal, since this sort of interview must allegedly be prepackaged and vetted by Dolan's camp ahead of time, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily Times:
Like I said, since last December MSG was looking for a Dolan Q&A but questions had to be submitted in advance & you must ask about his music— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) November 22, 2013
My bad, Jim Dolan needed one other condition met before he agreed to do the interview: "No Berman of the Post." Perfectly understandable.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) November 22, 2013
So, did he make it through all the way through the chat without another contortionist performance? Well, scan over his most telling sound bites and you be the judge.
"When a coach loses a team…that’s when a coach is kind of done."
At what point does a coach lose his team? Is a 3-8 start a good enough indication? Does an early November players-only meeting signal that release?
Dolan doesn't sound ready to pull the plug on Mike Woodson, who he said he has "a lot of confidence in." But it's probably best for Woodson to keep his bags packed. Maybe the Dolan-deployed Woodson watcher would even carry them for him.
"We were using a lot of—not old, but “classic” methods and now with technology, and what’s available to a team to help improve, I didn’t think we were taking advantage of those things."
Here, he was discussing the offseason dismissal of former general manager Glen Grunwald.
Would those "classic methods" include a bloated payroll and a banishment of youth? Not sure sacrificing the future for a mediocre present has ever been a wise business model.
And those technological advances? They might not be the quick fix he seems to envision. Analytics can unearth statistical trends, but your name's still on the bottom of those checks, Jimmy.
"Look, it’s all about wins and losses to the fans. They want to believe in their team. They want to believe their team has a shot at the championship."
When is it not about wins and losses?
But the second part of this quote is my favorite. How can fans not hope for a shot at the title when Dolan himself issued a championship-or-bust decree before the season started?
As he kept going on the fans, things only got better.
"When they see a player not playing well they wonder, 'Why did we draft him?' or 'Why did we trade for him?' and 'What was the thinking?' and 'Well that was pretty dumb.'"
That method isn't followed everywhere, but what other choice have Knicks fans had?
Why did the Knicks think Renaldo Balkman was a first-round talent? Why did they deal for a 7-footer that doesn't rebound or defend the rim? What was the thinking behind giving Chris Smith another guaranteed contract?
Dolan got one thing right at least. These moves were pretty dumb.
"I think an owner needs to be present. When an owner is not present that’s when things tend to go awry."
Absentee owners can wreck a franchise. Look how the Golden State Warriors rebounded from the disastrous Chris Cohan era.
Yet, things have still gone awry under Dolan's omnipresent watch. There is such a thing as an owner being too involved.
Then again, there are those, like Isola from NYDT, who counter that Dolan's not present in the ways that matter:
Honestly, they lost me with the first line: "You see him all the time." No we don't. He's the wizard behind the curtain.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) November 22, 2013
"You see him all the time" Really? Fact: the area near the locker rooms was purposely built like a maze so media can't see Dolan after games— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) November 22, 2013
"We would not be where we are today without Amar’e."
Well, if that isn't the understatement of the year.
What Dolan was trying to say here is that without Amar'e Stoudemire signing with the Knicks, he doesn't think Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony would have ever came to the Big Apple.
But where could the Knicks actually be if Stoudemire was even a shadow of his former self? When someone's paycheck ($21.6 million, via Hoopsworld.com) trumps his playing time (11.1 minutes per game), it's hard to recover from that.
"I think this team can win a championship...There have been other championship teams that weren’t nearly as talented as this one."
Again with the title talk, Jimmy? After brushing off those overly attached fans and their wacky championship dreams earlier in this very interview?
Someone needs to show Dolan how to use that technology he's supposedly eager to embrace. It wouldn't take those machines long to calculate the title chances of a team that can't score (98.6 offensive rating, 25th overall) and doesn't defend (104.7 defensive rating, 24th).
Is it getting hotter in here, or is that just Woodson's seat?
"We try to get them in every home game but they’re going to miss some."
No, that's not a reference to the horde of hobbled bodies making up Woodson's rotation.
It's a discussion of the Knicks City Dancers. Again.
Because obviously there's some untapped choreography that can magically cure all of the Knicks' ills. And it's not like there are bigger fish for Dolan to be frying or anything.
He does have a championship-caliber roster (wink) and a coach he believes in (wink, wink), after all.