SBD/Issue 98/Franchises

Knicks Preseason Italy Tour Canceled, Buzz Returns To MSG

NBA Europe Live Canceled
Due To Economic Recession
The Knicks' planned preseason trip to Italy "to hold training camp and play a couple of exhibition games in Milan and Rome has been canceled by the NBA,” according to sources cited by Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. The Knicks were going to be one of four clubs to be part of the fourth annual NBA Europe Live, but sources said that “because of the recession that also has hit Europe, promoter EA Sports has downsized the junket.” NBA VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank denied that the NBA Europe event “has been canceled altogether and indicated at least one club will be heading overseas, but not the Knicks.” A formal announcement is expected after this weekend’s All-Star break. Berman noted having the Knicks in Italy “was a natural,” because F Danilo Gallinari is from Milan and coach Mike D’Antoni was a coach and player for Italian club Olimpia Milano (N.Y. POST, 2/7).

GARDEN GROWING: In N.Y., Frank Isola wrote under the header, “David Stern’s Visit To Madison Square Garden Is A Sign Of Knicks’ Progress.” Stern for Friday’s game against the Celtics “was seated not far from” MSG Chair James Dolan. Last week during the Knicks’ three home games against the Lakers, Cavaliers and Celtics “electricity and competitive basketball were back” at MSG, despite the home team losing all three games. Stern: “Three great teams, the best in the NBA, come all in the same week, and the Knicks -- the scrappy Knicks -- have done very well against them. I could have imagined this a year ago but I would have imagined it a little differently.” Meanwhile, Dolan has allowed Knicks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh to “restructure the club’s infamous media policy.” Walsh “has made himself and D’Antoni more accessible to the media, but some aspects of the policy appear to be out of Walsh’s control.” A team source said that N.Y. Daily News reporters are “barred from being interviewed at halftime on Knicks radio broadcasts, the only local paper so treated.” It is “not known if that order came directly from Dolan” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/8).

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