Few folks thought much would result from last Wednesday’s NBA game between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers. Aside from the fact the Clippers are reportedly one of three teams contacted regarding the possibility of a trade for Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony, no one look for any fireworks at the Garden.
Instead, not only a capacity crowd of over 19,000 but a national TV audience as well got to see an ugly and quite unfortunate incident unfold. It was the specter of former Knick Charles Oakley being confronted by a host of security people, pushing back against one, putting his finger in the face of another, and eventually being led off the court in handcuffs and being restrained by several folks.
The fallout was major. Since that night, the video has been seen everywhere. Oakley has been banned from entering Madison Square Garden, perhaps forever, certainly anytime in the near future. He has been accused by Knicks owner James Dolan of constant verbal abuse as a past spectator, and the ban justified in the name of fan security. Oakley denies having been verbally abusive to anyone, claiming that he only responded after being goaded and incited, Dolan later hinted at alcohol and mental problems in a radio interview, providing no actual evidence of either, but citing a supposed lengthy pattern of disrespectful behavior and conduct.
The bottom line for many though is this is just one more instance of team mismanagement and disloyalty. Oakley spent 10 years playing in New York, and is still beloved there. He was 100-percent wrong putting his hands on security personnel and has acknowledged that publicly.
But Dolan comes off far worse in alleging alcohol and mental problems without evidence. What Oakley did or didn’t do in regards to that one incident is still in dispute. Alleging something far worse, especially some sort of drug or mental problem, is way below the belt.
But it is only one part of the mismanaging happening with the Knicks. Phil Jackson has proven thus far to be at best an erratic executive. Why he chose to give Anthony a no trade clause in his contract, then try to trade him while simultaneously lowering his value with demeaning statements has the entire league baffled.
The Kristaps Porsingis drafting has nearly been negated by the acquisitions of Derrick Rose, Joakhim Noah and Brandon Jennings. All once fine players, but all now something less than that and none of them capable of boosting the team into the playoffs.
One of the NBA’s flagship franchises now has leadership that couldn’t keep a rowboat steady in a wading pool.