View Full Version : James Dolan gets involved in Melo talks; directly negotiating with DEN

02-08-2011, 10:35 AM
Credit: New York Daily News

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/2011/02/08/2011-02-08_james_dolan_negotiates_with_denver_nuggets_owne r_directly_as_knicks_owner_eyes_c.html

Garden chairman James Dolan is taking a more active role in the Knicks' pursuit of Carmelo Anthony and has had direct negotiations with Denver Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, the Daily News has learned.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Dolan's decision to become more involved in the Anthony trade talks is a sign that the Knicks are closing in on a deal for the All-Star forward.

"And I would also think that at this point everyone is looking to take credit if Carmelo comes to New York," said one Knicks source.

It is not uncommon for owners to negotiate trades and in fact it is a common practice with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov had planned to meet Anthony face-to-face before the Russian held a press conference to announce the Nets were no longer attempting to trade for Anthony.

Dolan, however, likes to paint himself as a hands-off owner and his involvement in the Anthony negotiations can be taken one of several ways.

Knicks president Donnie Walsh has put the team in position to acquire Anthony, who scored 50 points Monday night in a 108-103 loss to the Rockets in Denver. Walsh could conceivably be in favor of Dolan's participation because when owners are negotiating directly, deals have a tendency to come to fruition.

Last year, it was Dolan who told Walsh not to sign Allen Iverson, who believed he was headed to New York.

Dolan's involvement also suggests that former Knicks president Isiah Thomas is likely advising him. The News reported last August that Thomas had told Dolan that he'd received assurances from Anthony that he only wanted to play for the Knicks.

Just one month earlier, Thomas was dispatched to Ohio in a last-ditch effort to recruit then-free agent LeBron James. And when Amar'e Stoudemire was introduced to the New York media after signing a $100 million contract, Walsh publicly thanked Thomas for his role in Stoudemire's recruitment.

Although Dolan was unsuccessful in his attempts to hire Thomas as Walsh's general manager and give him the title of consultant, Thomas continues to serve as a de facto consultant from Miami, where he is the coach at Florida International.

Dolan remains close to Thomas and is convinced he has the street credibility to broker deals with players, agents and street agents. Thomas has close ties with William (World Wide) Wesley, who works for CAA and is an associate of agent Leon Rose, who represents James and Anthony.

Wesley is now in the business of representing coaches and his top client is Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. He also represents Mark Warkentien, whom Dolan just appointed as the Knicks' new director of pro player personnel. It is believed that Allan Houston, who is viewed as Walsh's successor, is also a Wesley client.

Thomas, according to sources, is content to remain in a de facto consulting role with the Knicks. A source close to Thomas said Monday that "Isiah doesn't need a title because he and Jim are friends. Jim respects him as a talent evaluator and he will continue to use him in that role."

How this all affects Walsh remains unclear. The soon-to-be 70-year-old team president is credited with rebuilding the Knicks and restoring the franchise's credibility around the league.

However, the fourth-year option on Walsh's contract must be exercised by April 30 and Dolan has given no indication that he plans to bring Walsh back. Last week, Walsh said he was embarrassed that his future had become a hot topic and then went on to praise Dolan. Walsh added that if he doesn't return he wants to leave with dignity.

It sounded like a farewell address and it was telling that Mike D'Antoni exercised caution when asked to address the future of the man who hired him. D'Antoni agreed Walsh has done a great job but he didn't want to give an opinion one way or another regarding Walsh's uncertain status.

Walsh's future could conceivably come down to what Thomas advises Dolan to do. And if the Knicks are successful in their attempts to acquire Anthony, Dolan may decide that having Thomas as an adviser is more valuable than having Walsh run the team.

02-08-2011, 01:07 PM
Update: ESPN.com now reports:


02-08-2011, 01:34 PM
Yeah, yeah, yeah.. I mean all these articles are reporting is who's contacting who and the normal things that happen when a player is on the trading block. It doesn't mean anything though.