Adam Silver Has a Real Conundrum on His Hands With James Dolan


Another day, another video of James Dolan childishly allowing himself to get baited by a troll with the justifiable position that Dolan should sell the Knicks. NBA commissioner Adam Silver deep down has to know that Dolan’s ownership of the Knicks is horrendous for the collective league, but what can he really do about it?

Last week he issued a lifetime ban for a fan who yelled this to him at MSG, and today video emerges of him telling a fan to leave a music festival for holding up a “Quit your day job. Sell the Knicks” sign during a JD and the Straight Shot set.

This video is from 2016 and is seeing the light of day because of the video from last week. In “defense” of the video from MSG, Dolan gave a haphazard and erratic explanation on the Michael Kay Show, claiming he was “ambushed by the fan”:

The Knicks are 13-55, and while some of this is a result of being bad on purpose they aren’t the only team tanking but they are the worst team in the NBA. They’ve been atrocious for nearly 20 years. They’ve won one playoff series since the turn of the century.

But again, what can Adam Silver really do about it? This isn’t a Donald Sterling thing where the former Clippers owner was recorded being overtly racist, his estranged wife was willing to cooperate with the NBA’s sales process, and there was a buyer in Steve Ballmer paying a record price for an NBA team.

Dolan, who went on the record relatively recently saying he would sell for the right price but has since retaliated against a report from Bill Simmons that he was courting offers, would almost certainly tie up any effort of the NBA’s other owners to extricate the franchise from him. It could take years to wind its way through the courts and it would get very ugly.

Moreover, as much as the other 29 owners would presumably recognize that removing Dolan from their ranks would be for the immediate greater good of the Association, do they really want to create a precedent that potentially could be used against them at a later date?

Almost certainly, Silver’s hands are tied. Maybe the Knicks somehow some way land Kevin Durant, despite themselves, and become relevant again. This would be great for the starving basketball fans in New York, and also help the NBA re-balance its star-power in the conferences. Everyone just needs to hold their breath and hope that Dolan doesn’t ruin this opportunity with his petulance.