TNT, ESPN/ABC Still To Carry Many Knicks Games Despite Team's On-Court Woes
TNT and ESPN/ABC are "officially stuck with 19 Knicks games to televise between now and the end of the regular season," even though contractually the nets "have the right to toss out a game and replace it with another," according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. TNT is "in for six" Knicks games, while ESPN has seven and ABC has the team "in its spotlight six times, one over the maximum number of appearances, which is known as 'super max' status -- granted to only five NBA teams" by the net. Changing games "usually happens later in the season." ESPN, "due to the number of game options it has during the middle of the week, has more flexibility." However, it "cannot bring in a team that has already exceeded its maximum number of appearances (10)." ABC "has the right, too, but rarely uses it," and "the same holds true for TNT." The Knicks organization "will still get its cut of the national-TV loot no matter how many appearances the Knicks make." From a TV standpoint, the team's on-court "ineptitude is not necessarily bad." When former Knicks President Isiah Thomas "ran the show," the TV ratings on MSG "didn’t tank." Raissman: "Who isn’t into rubber-necking?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/20).
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT: On Long Island, Neil Best noted ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy discussed why he did not call the Dec. 11 Bulls-Knicks game amid rumors he is a potential replacement for Knicks coach Mike Woodson. Van Gundy on Thursday said, "That sort of got ramped up a little too much. I think it was maybe 10 to 12 days before ... I got switched off the game. I don't think there was any specific reason. I've had two or three games changed this year on my schedule. So I didn't give it much thought. But I was happy when I saw the game before or maybe it was two games before when my name was brought out." Van Gundy added of N.Y., "I've coached in that market ... so I know how painful that stuff can be for a coach going through the speculation" (NEWSDAY.com, 12/19).