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Knicks Lose 'Linsanity' Due to yet Another Dolan Blunder: A Fan's Analysis

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The Philadelphia 76ers haven't had popular front office leadership since Pat Croce put together the 2001 Eastern Conference champions. Right now, Sixers fans like myself have tentative hope that their new ownership group can make Philadelphia a consistent winner again. Yet if the owners want to know how not to run the Sixers, they only need to look up at New York and learn from the bad example of New York Knicks owner James Dolan.

Dolan became public enemy No. 1 once again for Knicks fans this week, when he declined to match the Houston Rockets offer sheet for Jeremy Lin. As such, 'Linsanity' is now leaving Manhattan, with Dolan cast as the villain who drove it away. It might have made financial sense not to match Lin's three-year, $25 million offer from the Rockets - yet according to reports, Dolan really refused out of pettiness over Lin driving up the price.

According to ESPN New York, Dolan felt "betrayed" over Lin's tactics and was vindictive enough to let him walk for nothing. To those taken in by "Linsanity' and how it made the Knicks a real attraction for the first time in this millennium, it isn't a good enough excuse to let Lin go.

Doing it for salary reasons makes more sense - yet Dolan himself made sure there wasn't enough room for Lin by overpaying for Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. At least when "Tebowmania" moved to the New York Jets, the Denver Broncos got Peyton Manning to replace Tim Tebow - whereas the Knicks only have an aging Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton to take Lin's place at point guard.

Poor decision making and deals that come back to haunt the Knicks are the hallmark of Dolan's tenure. Cablevision has owned Madison Square Garden's New York teams since the mid 90s, but when it let Dolan become the primary manager of the Knicks in 1999, it all but killed pro basketball in New York. Under his ownership, New York has gone from the NBA's mecca to the home of embarrassment after embarrassment.

Larry Brown's tenure as coach, Isiah Thomas's humiliating years as an employee, and countless overpaid busts have sunk the Knicks as a franchise. Even when they finally acquired Anthony, they had to sell most of their supporting cast to the Denver Nuggets, who have mostly been better off ever since. Meanwhile, New York didn't get back on the NBA map for real until 'Linsanity' took over months ago - and Dolan couldn't even find the room or desire to keep that going.

Knicks fans shouldn't have been surprised, although it is ironic that one of Dolan's least puzzling moves is getting him so much flack. The timing couldn't have been worse, now that the New Jersey Nets are in Brooklyn and are throwing a lot of money around to take over New York. Perhaps the Nets' various big signings and overhauls will blow up in their face like Dolan's has, but it is hard to imagine them going any worse.

New York has to know by now that the Knicks won't be real winners again until Dolan steps down, or Cablevision sells the team. Even when they make a little progress, some front office blunder is bound to develop and put the team back at square one.

The end of 'Linsanity' may not be the tipping point that ends the Dolan era - but that makes this whole thing all the more unfortunate for the Knicks. Of course, it is more fortunate for the Sixers, Nets and Boston Celtics, who have to feel better about their ownership by comparison, even when it makes mistakes. As long as they aren't Dolan-esq mistakes, however, it is easier to feel better.

Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident and 76ers fan.

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