This has to be the basketball Bizarro world; how else can you explain enigmatic owner James Dolan stepping in as the voice of reason for the New York Knicks?
With starting point guard Raymond Felton lost for two to three weeks due to a strained left hamstring, via ESPN New York's Ian Begley, the Knicks have been shopping for a floor general. That search reportedly led them to the Toronto Raptors, a team with a glut at the position thanks to Greivis Vasquez's arrival:
Latest trade scuttle: Raptors trying to construct deal with Knicks that would send Kyle Lowry to New York— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 12, 2013
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, who many thought worked over the Knicks—and Dolan in particular—in the three-team deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York, once again set a steep asking price for his player.
The Knicks were reportedly willing to meet that price, per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, until Dolan got involved:
According to several reports, the Knicks were prepared to trade Raymond Felton and Metta World Peace plus Iman Shumpert or Tim Hardaway Jr. or a 2018 first-round pick. The Raptors preferred the first-round pick, but Dolan — who negotiated the Carmelo Anthony trade with Raptors GM Masai Ujiri when Ujiri was with the Denver Nuggets — got cold feet about trading a future asset.
Part of Dolan's reluctance was based in logic. The Knicks don't have the brightest future to mortgage.
Among coach Mike Woodson's top 10 rotation players, only two—rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. and third-year wing Iman Shumpert—are under the age of 28. Thanks to some unpaid draft debits, the Knicks don't have a first-round pick to trade until 2018.
But another part was pride.
"Dolan didn’t want to get fleeced again by Masai," a Knicks source told Isola.
Should New York meet Toronto's asking price?
League sources also told Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, "The chance of getting panned for giving up too much in a deal for Lowry has become a hurdle in these talks."
Make no mistake, Lowry would be an upgrade for New York. As NBC Sports' Kurt Helin noted, "Lowry isn’t a great shooter but makes smart decisions about when to shoot, plus he is a better defender."
Still, it doesn't exactly seem like the bulldog point guard, who is in his contract year, could cure all ills for these Knicks (6-15). Sacrificing the future for a mediocre present is never a sound business strategy.
It's not surprising that Ujiri made the inquiry. He's robbed this franchise before.
But it's nothing short of shocking that Dolan was the one resisting the bait. Then again, he was bound to get one right sooner or later.