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Owner James Dolan opens up about Knicks: Woodson is safe, and yes, he thinks they can win it all

Nov 22, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks Getty Images

Knicks’ owner James Dolan talks to the media about as often Halley’s Comet swings by earth — it had been six years since he did a sit down interview with a media member.

Until this week, when he sat down with the New York Post to talk all things Knicks.

Dolan comes off as a guy who believes this team is closer to the ultimate success than many fans or pundits do — he didn’t think last season’s 54 wins was an aberration, rather it was something to build on.

“You know what? I wouldn’t take last year’s team for this year’s team, because this year’s team is more designed to be a playoff team, whereas last year’s team was 18-5 (to start the season) but look who was playing: we had Rasheed Wallace who was doing everything for us, right? And we just started losing player after player … by the time we got to the playoffs that 18-5 team wasn’t the team that was playing in the playoffs. If they were I think we would’ve beaten Indiana.”

In the interview Dolan said he wants to modernize how his teams operate — both the Knicks and NHL’s Rangers — and that was the reason for the GM change right before the season. Dolan says he felt Steve Mills was a better fit for the changes in how they will do business than Glen Grunwald, so he switched GMs (this is a bit odd as Grunwald built the Knicks “contending” roster and is more analytics driven than any other Knicks GM, but whatever).

Also, the Knicks will not be switching coaches, despite the chants at the Garden, Dolan said.

“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 that’s part of where the respect emanates from. And those are hard things to get from a coach. When a coach loses a team … that’s when a coach is kind of done.”

And yes, Dolan does think this Knicks team as currently constructed could win a title.

“I think there are a lot of teams that could win the championship this year. I think the Clippers can win. Are they going to? I hope not. I hope we win the championship. I think we have the pieces in place to do it. The skill level is there but there’s so much more to the game than that, and it’s really in the hands of the players. They have to believe in themselves, they have to put in the work, the effort, the discipline, they have to listen to the coach, they have to execute a strategy and put an effort in every game. And they have to get themselves to be the best team they can be at the end of March. It’s OK right now not to be the best team you can be. Last year by the end of the year we were struggling. I’d rather see it go the other way. I’m not happy, believe me, about the record where it is now. But the warts that are showing up now are things you can work on, things you can fix. Now you test the character of your team to see if it’s willing or able to do that, if the coach is able to do that, to make those fixes. Can they win the championship? Yes. They definitely can win the championship. There have been other championship teams that weren’t nearly as talented as this one. But they had something that this team needs to develop.

Go read the entire interview… but no rush, you’ve got six or seven years to read and digest it before Dolan speaks to the media again.

  1. 700levelvet - Nov 22, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    He also said he thinks JR Smith’s brother is the weapon that will put them over the top and deliver a trophy to the most delusional people on the planet … Including him.

    • spthegr8 - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      They had a thread yesterday that got about 50 to 60 comment’s, about Melo not having “what it take’s” too win a championship. Melo needs to play better and need’s to grow as a leader but, as I said yesterday, he is NOT the problem. Too find the Knick’s problem, look no futher than the picture shown above. He is CLUELESS!!!! Just Sayin”!!!!

  2. djeter220 - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Even as a Dolan hater, I can’t take issue with anything he said here.

    • redbaronx - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      @djeter220 – Sure you could take issue.

      1) There is no way they would have beaten the Pacers last year in any scenario.
      2) The Knicks as currently constructed are not winning the NBA title.

  3. azarkhan - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    “abjuration”? Next time try anomaly.

  4. timberwolvesbrisin - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Why does PBT think Dolan claiming the knicks can win it is a big deal?

    Of course he does and should, that is why you play the game.

    • fanofevilempire - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      you make sense, shhhhish, they will think you are mad like Dolan

    • davidly - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      And therein lies the rub: he doesn’t actually play the game.

      • timberwolvesbrisin - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        What is he suppose to say?

        “oh i think we will lose in the frist round”

    • davidly - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      I don’t disagree; I’m just saying that he is wholly incapable of backing it up (even moreso than the average team owner, one might add).

  5. shoestorm - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Vaccarro interview

  6. cruzan80 - Nov 22, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    With all the flack he’s gotten lately (from myself included)…..I can’t honestly disagree with anything he said. It all sounds pretty reasonable, logical & honest. Don’t know what else you would prefer the owner of your team to say.

  7. telldatruth - Nov 22, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Gotta love Dolan. The best owner in all of sports!!

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