I've to admit, this is pretty much the first time I read a Dolan's interview... and well, he sounds confident, like he knows what he's doing. And to his credit, right now he's more feet to the ground than most posters on this board who've been in panic mode since the second game of the season.Originally Posted by NY PostYou see him plenty. He is an active owner, he attends games, he lives and dies with his teams the way you do and because heís the man who signs the checks, his opinions occasionally become mandates, and sometimes controversies. You know James Dolan is in the arena, in both the literal and the literary sense.
You rarely hear him. On occasion, he offers brief remarks at press conferences. You can hear him sing, if you catch his band at a club. But it had been seven years since he sat down for an on-the-record interview about the Knicks and Rangers. He agreed to meet with The Post this week, inside a Madison Level suite at the Garden.
MV: Iím sure you heard the chants that have already started to fire Mike Woodson, which comes with the territory, naturally Ö
JD: Yeah Ö
MV: How patient will you be with him? He understood when he took the job the expectations that go with it. Will you give him a long rope?
JD: I have a lot of confidence in Woodson, and one thing I can say about Mike is he has the respect of all the players. They all respect him. And he treats them fairly and relatively equally, and thatís part of where the respect emanates from. And those are hard things to get from a coach. When a coach loses a team Ö thatís when a coach is kind of done.
Mostly, I think it does not pay to be impatient, because you destabilize your team. Itís not like the players donít want to win, itís not like the owner doesnít want to win; everybody wants to win, so itís a question of: Can you get there? With Mike, I think he can get us there. Mostly, I think Carmelo [Anthony] can get us there, and the other players can get us there, theyíre going to have to jell and I think Mike can do a lot to get that to happen. Because he has their respect.
MV: The Knicks started 18-5 last year and it didnít end the way you wanted it to; at this point I assume youíd flip that script?
JD: You know what? I wouldnít take last yearís team for this yearís team, because this yearís team is more designed to be a playoff team, whereas last yearís team was 18-5 but look who was playing: we had Rasheed Wallace who was doing everything for us, right? And we just started losing player after player Ö by the time we got to the playoffs that 18-5 team wasnít the team that was playing in the playoffs. If they were I think we wouldíve beaten Indiana.
MV: So this bad start Ö
JD: Itís going right according to plan (laughs) Ö
MV: A few days before training camp you changed general managers; why do that so close to the start of camp? Did something change from the start of summer to the end?
JD: I didnít time it, per se, like that. Iím surprised other folks were surprised about this. The general managerís work doesnít really occur at that time of year. If youíre going to change general managers thatís probably the right time to do it. The next available trade date is Dec. 15. Youíve just finished free agency and all that. Itís a lull period. The timing didnít really have much to do with that. It was more about an initiative I have going on with both teams that I hired McKinsey & Company [a Manhattan-based global management consulting firm] for, because as Iíve gotten to look at both our organizations, itís become apparent that we really need to reprocess both teams. We were using a lot of ó not old, but ďclassicĒ methods and now with technology, and whatís available to a team to help improve, I didnít think we were taking advantage of those things.
MV: So in evaluating these business solutions you came to the conclusion Glen Grunwald was lacking and Steve Mills a better fit?
JD: I hired McKinsey in the summer, and Glen is more of a ďclassicĒ GM, and he just wasnít the guy to lead this initiative for the team, and it had to be someone in that position who could do it because I wasnít going to do it. It needed someone behind it, someone who understood it, and that just wasnít Glenís forte. I think he was a good general manager, heís got a great eye for talent, he knows basketball well, but the job description changed.
MV: If you could take a mulligan on the $100 million Amaríe contractÖ
MV: Because the first year was that important?
JD: We would not be where we are today without Amaríe. That summer, the summer of ďThe Decision,Ē there were a whole bunch of free agents, and the guys put their thing together in Miami, and Amaríe agreed to come to the Knicks, gave us a launch pad by which we could convince the other guys like Tyson [Chandler] to come, and ultimately Carmelo to come play with us. Do I think Carmelo would have come if we didnít have Amaríe? No, I donít think he wouldíve. These free agents, when you get to this level of player ó the Carmelos, the LeBrons, the Durants ó the first thing they want before the money or anything else is to be on a winning team. Theyíve got to believe they have a shot.
MV: So does it sadden you to watch him in a diminished state?
JD: I still have hope. You cannot ask for a guy to be more dedicated, more disciplined, than Amaríe. He does his rehab, he does his workouts, he does everything, heís on it every day, and thatís worth a lot, too. If thereís justice in this world, his knee will heal up to the point where he can play more minutes and make the contribution he wants to make.
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