The buzz at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte was that James Dolan was courting offers for the Knicks, who denied the report.
Knicks owner James Dolan is actively seeking offers for the team, The Ringer's Bill Simmons says in his latest podcast that includes "a Surprising Knicks Scoop" in the title.
“Multiple people told me this, who know things," Simmons prefaces. "James Dolan is courting offers for the Knicks. It’s happening. It’s on. It’s go-time. He’s courting offers for the Knicks. That’s what I heard at All-Star weekend from people I trust.”
Dolan caused a bit of a firestorm in December when he told ESPN that he’d consider selling at the right price, but adding at that point, there hadn’t been any “bona fide offers.” (According to Forbes' most recent rankings, the Knicks are the most valuable franchise in the NBA, worth $3.6 billion, and feelers Dolan had fielded were in the $5 billion range, the ESPN story said.)
He quickly walked back his comments in a statement issued hours after the December story was published (per the New York Daily News): “We have no plans to sell the Knicks.”
Now, according to Simmons, plans have changed — or at least were being discussed in Charlotte over the weekend.
“He feels if he can just sell the Knicks for some crazy price, then he can put the money into that music/in-game experience stuff that he cares about," Simmons says. "So, the Knicks are available.”
The Knicks, in the wake of Simmons' comments, issued a statement, again denying that the team is for sale (via The Athletic): "The story is 100 percent false. There has been nothing. No discussions. No plans to have discussions — nothing."
Two things to bear in mind, though: First, Dolan particularly doesn't like the ridicule that being the face of the NBA's worst team brings. Second, he is, in fact, more interested in Madison Square Garden as an entertainment venue, according to the Daily News, which also noted that "MSG has changed its business structures to separate the sports teams from the entertainment interests, which would help facilitate a sale of the Knicks or Rangers."
This could be an opportune time to open the floor for bidding. While the Knicks are certifiably awful, they'll likely have the best shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft (hello, Zion Williamson) and a ton of room to maneuver in the free-agent market.
That might pique the interest of someone who could make a bona fide offer.