Sportress of Blogitude

James Dolan reportedly trying to prevent Phil Jackson from firing Knicks staffers


After only a month, could the honeymoon period between New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and team owner James Dolan already be over?

If a New York Daily News source embedded inside Madison Square Garden and privy to the inner workings of the oft-dysfunctional front office can be believed, why yes, yes it is.

The source alleges that Dolan has attempted to block some of Jackson’s moves concerning the dismissal and/or reassignment of some higher-ups in the front office, including Allan Houston and Mark Warkentien.

Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck alleges in his reporting on the alleged burgeoning rift between Jackson and Dolan over personnel decisions may be the Zen Master’s attempt to finally dissolve “the unholy marriage between the Garden and Creative Artists Agency,” as CAA represents both Houston and Warkentien and reportedly has close ties to general manager Steve Mills, all three who may see changes in their job titles or lose said jobs entirely.

What appears to be at the crux of the issue is the speculation that Dolan — a notoriously heavy-handed and impulsive owner — is unwilling to cede total control of the direction of the organization, something that is well within his right as the man who cuts the checks.

Further, instead of Dolan’s actions being an indication that he’s paranoid of losing power, it may be that he feels an intense amount of loyalty for his employees. Well, at least some of them.

Jackson, arguably showing he understands the mess the Knicks have been as of late, appears to desire a total overhaul of the Knicks from top to bottom and believes that is the only way to turn around the franchise, a philosophy that was set in motion when Jackson fired Mike Woodson and his entire staff on Monday.

Whatever the nature of the perceived disagreement between Jackson and Dolan, if the allegations are true to any extent, the chairman of Madison Square Garden appears to be singing a vastly different tune than he was when Jackson was announced as the team’s new president.

Dolan and Jackson seemed like long lost friends when Jackson was introduced. Dolan practically gushed over his new hire, stating that he “willingly and gratefully” would give up power and authority related to basketball operations to Jackson. He also admitted his shortcomings as it pertains to the actual game, saying, “I am by no means an expert in basketball.”

Dolan did amend his admission that he doesn’t know basketball by alluding to the fact that his “expertise lies in managing companies and new businesses,” which would lend credence to his decision to try to stonewall Jackson on attempts to remake the front office.

Either way, the fact that these two already are butting heads isn’t a good sign this early in their relationship. Who would have thought two men with such enormous egos couldn’t make it work for the greater good? Crazy stuff, right?