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If we call James Dolan a genius, will he go away?

We have that and more in Tuesday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Ian O’Connor wrote an essential, long piece after a 2-hour, 3-minute conversation with Knicks jefe James “Jimmy” “J.D.” Dolan. Tastes differ in journalism. Some might bristle at the long leash Dolan is given to make excuses for his worst moments. Personally, I find that allowing Dolan to hog tie himself with that long leash is useful. Better to give a man a shovel and let him dig than to do it for him.

Among the greatest (worst) hits from the nooks and crannies of Dolan’s mind: He thinks the Garden never had a chance against Anucha Browne’s sexual harrassment lawsuit because a) he didn’t run the defense (no, he’s not a lawyer) and b) it’s hard for corporations to beat minority women in court (seriously?).

That’s probably the most egregious line in there. For more of an ick factor, turn to Dolan’s triumphant claim he cut off Harvey Weinstein as a friend well before the #MeToo movement put Weinstein in headlines. Did Dolan end their friendship because of Weinstein’s treatment of women? Well, no. He had just felt that Harvey changed, that’s all. (Dolan wrote him a letter about it!) Aren’t you proud of J.D. for cutting out Weinstein before the rest of the world did, for reasons unrelated to anything relevant? Dolan sure thinks you should be.

Dolan also takes credit for the ballooning value of the New York Knicks, which is absolutely hilarious, because all NBA teams have seen skyrocketing values. The Nets sold at a valuation of $2.35 billion last year! Congratulations, J.D. -- you didn’t get Sterlinged out of the league. (Yet.)

There’s also stuff about Dolan’s charitable giving and work to end pancreatic cancer. Good on him. I’m glad the billionaire is donating money to good causes. But as we all know, good deeds don’t make a man impervious to critique. And there is plenty to critique.

This is the bottom line with Dolan: he wants credit for everything good that happens in his vicinity, and he has excuses for everything bad that happens in his vicinity. Maybe if we buy him a cake and a “Mission Accomplished” banner and get some hero to cut a $5 billion check we can get him to go away?


Bucks 107, Pistons 104
Suns 128, Knicks 110
Jazz 97, Rockets 102
Kings 105, Timberwolves 132
Bulls 96, Thunder 121
Sixers 96, Spurs 123
Grizzlies 93, Warriors 110
Blazers 131, Clippers 127


Cavaliers at Pacers, 7 p.m. ET, League Pass
Wizards at Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET, League Pass
Lakers at Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Mavericks at Nuggets, 9 p.m. ET, League Pass


The Indiana Pacers have hired Indiana Fever exec Kelly Krauskopf as an assistant general manager. She joins Tamika Catchings in the Pacers’ front office.

I work about how critiques of the Spurs’ reliance on mid-range jumpers miss the point about why San Antonio is middling.

We had a scuffle during Bulls-Thunder involving Kris Dunn and Russell Westbrook. The league’s a bit frisky this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo works well as Milwaukee’s small ball center. Can Ben Simmons do that for the Sixers?

Back up back up cuz it’s on

Dan Devine on Nikola Jokic’s different brand of stardom.

Some people seem to be confused. When I declared that the Kings were good, I was not announcing I had backslid into Kings fandom. There is no chance of that happening. Trust me. Also, the Kings lost by 27.

My read of Dave Joerger’s mercifully brief firestorm over his Luka Doncic compliment is that it was totally innocuous and not meant as a shot at the Kings’ front office. That said, the fact that it became a brief firestorm to compliment the presumptive Rookie of the Year says everything about the raw nerves about passing on a superstar like Luka that will exist in Sacramento so long as the people responsible for passing on him are around.

How Zia Cooke became the most famous girls’ high school basketball player overnight. (Poor No. 14!)

Kevin O’Connor’s trade season primer.

How Vince and Dirk prepare for games at age 40.

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How the changing face of NBA centers is affecting large high school players.

The wonderful absurdity of Klay Thompson’s interviews and existence.

Be excellent to each other.