Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Knicks’ owner Jim Dolan on Tanking: ‘I’ll never tell a team to lose’
By ADAM ZAGORIA
Knicks fans may be fantasizing about landing Duke’s Zion Williamson in the NBA Draft in five months, but Knicks owner Jim Dolan says he’s no fan of tanking.
“I’ll never tell a team to lose,” Dolan told reporters, according to the Daily News. “I think teams that tank are giving away something really big. I think they’re giving away that emotional development for the team. You can see how important that is.
“You have responsibility to the fans; fans pay for tickets and they deserve (the) best game you can give them. That’s probably No. 1. But when you go in and tell a team, even if you’re just telling the coach, to lose the game, you’re dispiriting your team. That hurts more than getting a better draft pick helps. It’s hard to reignite the spirit of the team.”
With their loss in Portland, the Knicks fell to 9-30 and are now tied for the third-worst record in the NBA, behind only the Cavaliers and Suns and tied with the Bulls.
The Knicks now have a 13.2 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick and a 40 percent shot at a top-4 pick. Williamson and teammate R.J. Barrett are widely regarded as the top two picks.
“I mean, if you’re talking about what I hear, sure, fans are telling me, with the Knicks, they’re saying, they don’t want us to win,” Dolan said. “They want us to get this kid out of Duke (Williamson).”
Zion made his Madison Square Garden debut last month and dressed in the Knicks locker room.
“If they draft me, I would love to play for the Knicks,” the 6-foot-7 Williamson said then. “I don’t really care where I go, just the experience of being in the NBA. Whoever wants me and whoever sees the most in me, that’s where I want to be.”
The Knicks will also have cap space to pursue a free agent like Kevin Durant during the all-important summer of 2019.
The Knicks visit Durant and Golden State on Tuesday night.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.