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James Dolan Hints At Possibility Of Selling New York Knicks

A general view of the basketball court before fans are admitted to the arena.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20: A general view of the basketball court before fans are admitted to the arena prior to the game between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on November 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Knicks owner James Dolan is one of the absolute worst in all of sports. He inherited The Madison Square Garden company, and with it, the Knicks, Rangers, and the WNBA's Liberty, after being made the primary manager of the company back in 1999.

That year, the team won the Eastern Conference, and lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. The team hasn't come particularly close since. The Knicks lost in the conference finals to the Indiana Pacers in 2000, and have only gotten to the conference semifinals once in the last 17 years.

If many New York fans had one sports wish, it would be for Dolan to sell the Knicks. In a move that didn't get much press earlier this week, he may have put the wheels in motion for just that.

Per Crain's New York, Dolan announced that he may spin off the sports franchises from the rest of the MSG company. That could allow him to more easily sell the teams.

Late yesterday Dolan announced he was exploring a spin-off that would separate the Knicks and the Rangers from the rest of Madison Square Garden. While Dolan would remain in charge of the teams, at least at first, putting them together in a separate public company would offer him the chance to whittle down his stake easily if he chooses. Dolan is understood to be more interested in music and building cutting-edge entertainment venues than sports.

"He wants to be more Elon Musk than George Steinbrenner," an analyst told Crain's in an article last month.

The notion that Dolan is a horrific owner is not just in the minds of New York fans. The market also bears that out.

MSG's market value is now $7 billion and jumped 14% today on news that Dolan might be preparing his exit.

Excitement on Twitter is pretty palpable, even from non-Knicks fans, about the news that James Dolan may sell the Knicks.

When they're good, the Knicks are arguably the most popular team in the entire city. And given basketball's stature in New York, the NBA is definitely more interesting when they're competitive. That has rarely been the case under James Dolan's ownership.

[Crain's New York]