Knicks Owner James Dolan Doesn't Want to Sell but Had 'Feelers' Upward of $5B

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2018

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2018, file photo, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, center, watches an NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden in New York. It's been a year since Dolan announced his intent to sell the New York Liberty, and the team is still on the market. There have been several potential buyers and a few have gotten close to purchasing the team, but for various reasons all the potential deals fell through. Even without a new owner on the horizon and the Liberty in the same situation as last November, there is no danger of the team ceasing to exist this winter. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

New York Knicks owner James Dolan suggested he is not looking to sell the team but has received significant financial interest.

"You hear numbers all the time," Dolan said, per Ian O'Connor of ESPN. "... I think people have sent feelers out but never any that were pursued. Yeah, [the feelers are] around that number [$5 billion], but those things, it's like a stock price. It's only important if you're going to buy or sell."

Dolan has put the WNBA's New York Liberty up for sale but said "no one has come through with a bona fide offer" for the Knicks.

While Dolan said he doesn't want to sell the team, he pointed to his "responsibility" to shareholders when leaving open the possibility:

"You have a responsibility as the guy who runs the place to deliver on that for them; that's being open and transparent. And so in that position, I could never say that I wouldn't consider selling the Knicks. Now, my family is not in that position, and they are the majority shareholders. They hold the majority of the vote. ...

"As a majority owner, I don't want to sell, either. As the head of the public company, you can't say you can't sell, because then you're telling your shareholders that your own personal feelings about your assets are more important than their money. And they won't invest with you if you do that."

Later Monday, Dolan released a statement, per Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com: "As we have previously stated, there are no plans to sell the Knicks." 

Dolan became chairman of Madison Square Garden in 1999, and the Knicks have largely struggled since, despite making the 1999 NBA Finals.

The Knicks made the playoffs the following two seasons, but the team made the postseason just once from 2001-02 through 2009-10, losing in the first round in 2003-04. New York made the playoffs three straight years from 2010-11 through 2012-13 but won just one series and hasn't been to the postseason since.

New York is coming off a 29-53 record in 2017-18 and is just 9-22 this season.

There are some young pieces in place under first-year head coach David Fizdale, including Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, Noah Vonleh and Mitchell Robinson. Porzingis, the best of the bunch, hasn't played this season as he recovers from a torn ACL.

The combination of Porzingis, a 2019 top pick and possibly Kevin Durant—who has been connected to the franchise—could make Dolan's Knicks eventual contenders, but they are one of the league's worst teams for now.

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