SBD/November 22, 2013/Franchises

James Dolan In Rare Q&A Touts Patience, Hands-On Approach With Knicks And Rangers

Dolan says his emotional and intellectual involvement makes him a good owner
Knicks and NHL Rangers Owner James Dolan "understands he is a lightning rod for the people that support his teams," according to a Q&A with Mike Vaccaro of the N.Y. POST, who notes it had been "seven years since he sat down for an on-the-record interview about the Knicks and Rangers." Below are excerpts from the Q&A.

Q: Do you feel you're more patient than an average owner?
Dolan: I really don't compare myself with other owners. I'll bet you I’m more patient than [Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov] is of his team. Mostly, I think it does not pay to be impatient, because you destabilize your team.

Q: A few days before training camp you changed [Knicks] general managers; why do that so close to the start of camp? Did something change from the start of summer to the end?
Dolan: I didn't time it, per se, like that. I'm surprised other folks were surprised about this. The general manager's work doesn't really occur at that time of year. If you're going to change general managers that's probably the right time to do it. ... It was more about an initiative I have going on with both teams that I hired McKinsey & Company (a Manhattan-based global management consulting firm) for, because as I've gotten to look at both our organizations, it's become apparent that we really need to reprocess both teams. We were using a lot of -- not old, but "classic" methods and now with technology, and what's available to a team to help improve, I didn't think we were taking advantage of those things.

Q: So in evaluating these business solutions you came to the conclusion Glen Grunwald was lacking and Steve Mills a better fit?
Dolan: I hired McKinsey in the summer, and Glen is more of a "classic" GM, and he just wasn't the guy to lead this initiative for the team, and it had to be someone in that position who could do it because I wasn't going to do it. It needed someone behind it, someone who understood it, and that just wasn't Glen’s forte. I think he was a good general manager, he's got a great eye for talent, he knows basketball well, but the job description changed.

Q: Do you think you're a good owner?
Dolan: Yeah. I do.

Q: Why?
Dolan: I think I watch out for my fans. I try to give them a good product. I care for the teams. I'm emotionally involved and intellectually involved. I think an owner needs to be present. When an owner is not present that's when things tend to go awry. The players, the coaches, the fans know there's somebody in charge. They may not like what I'm doing but it's much better than having nobody there. Nobody there just leaves you in despair.

Q: What are your impressions of Mikhail Prokhorov?
Dolan: I don't get to see him much but he clearly wants to win, which is a good thing. He's the only guy paying more taxes than we are which is a club I wouldn't necessarily want to be part of with him (laughs). I think he wants to win, I know he wants to win, he wouldn’t be putting the resources in that he is otherwise. But, I mean, he's still my competitor. As a person I kind of know him, I've had lunch with him but other than that I don't really know him well (N.Y. POST, 11/22).
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