All-Star weekend isn’t all that important when it comes to basketball. The game is terrible, the contests dramatically vary in quality, but it gives the players a chance to hang out, LeBron to recruit players to come and play with him and front offices and reporters to gossip. Think of it as a basketball Comic Con – everyone is there.
Bill Simmons dropped the biggest rumor of the All-Star weekend – James Dolan is courting offers to sell the Knicks!! On his “The BS Podcast” ” Simmons pointed out this is something he heard from several people:
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. That’s what I heard at All-Star weekend, from people I trust.
The alleged reason is that Dolan would prefer to work on developing and renovating music venues and arenas. As bad as his management of the Knicks have been, renovating Madison Square Garden and the Forum in Los Angeles have been a success. Dolan seems to be passionate about that part and wants to get rid of the Knicks (and all the criticism he is under for managing the Knicks).
On February 6th Forbes published their latest NBA teams value list and the Knicks were at the top valued at 4 billion dollars. Within that amount, MSG has been valued at 995 million, and if Dolan is passionate about developing arenas, we can assume he wouldn’t want to sell MSG. That would leave a starting price at 3 billion. As the league is growing the price would definitely be even higher.
Simmons and Rusillo estimated the price around 5 billion, but they thought MSG wasn’t included in the Forbes valuation. That doesn’t mean it is impossible; just look at the Balmer experience – after striking out in the past, Balmer cut a check to 2 billion just to make sure no one outbid him. There are a lot more billionaires than NBA teams; in market terms, they are a very scarce resource. To top it all off, you get to inherit one of the most hated NBA owners in the most lucrative market. You are bound to look good.
There is a caveat though. Simmons mentioned the word was that the sale couldn’t go through while Dolan’s father, Charles Dolan is alive. James inherited the Knicks from his dad, and while he gets more suffering than joy from them (a major part of it by his fault), it seems his father still cares about the Knicks and wouldn’t agree with selling the team.
If the Knicks get a new owner, they will lose their main disadvantage in free agency. Imagine a competently run Knicks. Christmas may come early to New York.