Ever since the surprise announcement late Sunday evening that Mike D’Antoni, rather than Phil Jackson, would be hired to succeed Mike Brown, there’s been no shortage of conjecture about exactly what went wrong during the Lakers’ talks with Jackson and his representative, Todd Musburger. The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola insists “Lakers management didn’t want to meet (Jackson’s) salary demands and take orders from the high maintenance, aging hippie,”, adding without much prompting, “Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan never bothered to contact Jackson for the very same reasons.”
Today, Dolan looks like the smartest owner around because he has a winning coach in Mike Woodson and a savvy general manager in Glen Grunwald. He also has two guys he can control. Woodson, a Brown protégé, had to sever ties with Brown’s agent before Dolan would talk contract. Grunwald, as nice a guy as you will find, is barred from speaking to the media.
Heck, the Knicks have employees whose job is to eavesdrop on conversations between reporters and players. We’re talking established veterans who are 37, 38 and 40 years old being treated like children. And it’s not like Jason Kidd is revealing what really happened in Benghazi or giving away Dolan’s WiFi password.
It’s a rather silly exercise, especially in a locker room with engaging and been-there, done-that players. Is it meant as a form of intimidation? Sure. Mostly, it’s a way of letting everyone know that Big (dufus) Brother is always watching.