NEW YORK -- With one sentence, Jim Dolan made it clear that he will not interfere with Phil Jackson’s decision-making.
“Willingly and gratefully, yeah,” Dolan said when asked if he will leave all basketball decisions to his new New York Knicks team president.
During Tuesday’s press conference to usher in the Jackson era, Dolan explained how he will let Phil do his thing and why the Knicks owner made basketball decisions in the past.
“Phil has a vision for the Knicks that I know will put us on path to success,” Dolan said. “Steve [Mills] has great abilities as general manager. In his role as president, Phil will be in charge of all basketball decisions. Steve as general manager will support his efforts to build a consistently winning franchise.”
And Dolan says he will leave basketball moves to those two men.
“First off, the two gentlemen to my left here are the experts in basketball,” Dolan said looking toward Jackson and Mills seated to his left on the stage. “I am by no means an expert in basketball. I’m a fan, but my expertise lies in managing companies and new businesses. So I think I’m a little out of my element when it comes to the team.”
Dolan explained why he was proactive in basketball moves in the past.
“I’ve found myself in a position where I’ve needed to be more a part of the decision making for a while,” Dolan said.
“It wasn’t something necessarily that I wanted to do. But as chairman of the company, I felt obligated to do it.
“I’m happy now that we have the team of Phil and Steve to do that,” Dolan continued. “And my whole job here now, is supporting them to win a championship. That’s a lot easier than what I’ve had to do in the past.”
During an opening statement at the start of the press conference, Dolan explained why he and Mills have been quiet and not met with the media to explain the team’s thinking and future plans to rectify an incredibly disappointing season.
“Regarding this season, it’s been a very disappointing year for our organization and fans,” Dolan said. “While I know we are all frustrated, no one is more frustrated than I am. None of us expected to be where we are.”
“I also understand concerns that we have not made ourselves available to you about the team’s current issues or our plans,” Dolan later added. “The reason for that was we were working on an answer. We felt nothing we could have said would have helped.”
Jackson was asked by a reporter if he has a "prenuptial" escape clause built into his contract in case things go bad with the Knicks.
A light-hearted Dolan chimed in on his new relationship with Jackson.
“Besides, we married for love,” Dolan cracked.