The way I see it, the same thing is wrong with both the Knicks and Nets – location.
They are competing with each other and everything else in the New York market, and that is a dangerous thing for a sports franchise.
The operative mentality for a New York team is that fans in Big Town will tolerate only a winner. (See: Steinbrenner, George, in Tyler Kepner’s excellent analysis of the Jacoby Ellsbury signing in Wednesday’s NY Times.)
While the Gene Michael vein of home-grown superstars has worn down, the Yankees keep trying to dominate with players who made their mark elsewhere. It’s a tricky formula for a baseball team, but much more problematical for a basketball team with a smaller roster, less margin for error, that decides it needs a quick fix to win a championship.
Yes, money can create a championship team, as Pat Riley did in Miami, but that involves brains and vision, all lacking in Madison Square Garden, and maybe in Brooklyn, too. But a team can also be built for the long haul, as the Spurs did.
The Knicks have been doomed since ownership blew up a nice team that was working in unison and brought in the empty calories of Carmelo Anthony. Anybody could see Anthony cannot be the core of a championship team because he lacks the leadership and teamwork skills. But James Dolan went for the points. His puppet regime then let Jeremy Lin get away because Anthony iced him out.
Now the Knicks are stuck with old players falling apart, Anthony gunning it up from anywhere, and a rebellious fan base paying insane money for the privilege to boo.
Dolan deserves it for his arrogance and his distance. He always seems to have a rehearsal for his rock band. What a dilettante. The Boss always backed up his moves, right or wrong, in person.
The Nets are also suffering from the quick fix syndrome. Owned by the Russian, Mikhail D. Prokhorov, they tried for a transplant of the Boston Celtics’ success, in a trade for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. What they missed was the Celtics’ coach, Doc Rivers, who was heading west. Instead, they got a Steinbrenner version of Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson – too expensive, and too late.
Now the Nets players are falling apart, and the coach, Jason Kidd is pulling a bush trick like spilling a soda on the court to force a timeout and pushing out his hand-picked assistant Lawrence Frank. Nothing worse than not being ready for prime time in New York.
There is good basketball news in New York, however. One of the New York teams will win a game Thursday night – inasmuch as they are playing each other.
Your take on why the two New York teams both stink?
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.