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December 11, 2018

Knicks president Steve Mills says James Dolan won’t be involved because owner believes in the plan

September 29, 2018

James Dolan’s interference of the past was due to his discomfort with the Knicks’ direction, according to team president Steve Mills, who reiterated the owner has given this front office autonomy to carry out a rebuild.

“Jim would prefer to operate this way,” Mills said. “If you look at how he’s operated with the Rangers with (team president) Glen Sather, he’s stayed out of the Rangers’ operations pretty much for the most part.




James Dolan will remain hands off with the Knicks unless team brass wants to deviate from the master plan. (Kathy Willens / AP)

“He has to feel comfortable with the group that’s leading the team and the process that we’re going through. And he feels comfortable – we laid out a plan to him. He was very comfortable with it and he gave us the assurances that as long as we follow through with our plan – if we’re going to deviate from it in some big way, he wanted us to come back and check in with him. But he was going to give us the room to do this the way we laid it out.”

Dolan, who is increasingly concentrating on the musical entertainment side of the MSG business, was also largely hands-off with Phil Jackson in charge. But with Donnie Walsh and Glen Grunwald running basketball operations, the billionaire often stepped in and was responsible for nixing or pushing along roster moves. Most notably, he undermined Walsh during the negotiations for Carmelo Anthony, and did the same with Grunwald before they traded for Andrea Bargnani.

Whether with the Knicks or on the business-side, Mills has worked at MSG since 2003. He served as the GM under Jackson for three seasons before being elevated by Dolan to team president last year.

NOAH TALK

Joakim Noah uncomfortable partnership with the Knicks continues, but it’s not expected to make it to training camp next week as GM Scott Perry said they’re working toward a “resolution.”

“Nothing has changed other than we’re in constant communication with his representation,” Perry said. “Training camp is a few days off. The hope is we can come to a resolution that is both advantageous to Joakim Noah and the Knicks. That is where it is.”

The Knicks have been unsuccessful in their attempts to trade Noah and the two years, $37 million remaining on his contract. The more likely option, at this point, is they waive Noah and stretch his contract to reduce the annual cap hit. But that also is a negotiation because Noah doesn’t want to concede money in a buyout.

Recently, Luol Deng was bought out of a similar contract with the Lakers and gave up $5.5 million. Noah, who was exiled from the Knicks after a dustup with former coach Jeff Hornacek, is not going to make up that kind of money by signing with another team.




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