Knicks owner James Dolan says he has received some "feelers" about purchasing the team.

By Khadrice Rollins
December 17, 2018

Knicks owner James Dolan and his family do not want to sell the team but interested suitors have contacted him about how much money it would take to purchase the franchise.

In an interview with ESPN.com's Ian O'Connor, Dolan said he would never completely shut the door on selling the Knicks but his family has the majority of the vote and is not interested in moving on from the team just yet. Dolan took control of the Knicks in 1999 and also owns the New York Rangers of the NHL and the WNBA's New York Liberty

"I can tell you that nobody in my family wants to sell the Knicks and Rangers," Dolan said. "It's not just my dad. It's the whole family. It's my [five] brothers and sisters. They like being owners ... and they just have no appetite for running the team. That's a different animal. I don't have any appetite for running the team, either one of them. That's not my expertise."

Dolan explained that after hiring Phil Jackson to be Knicks team president in 2014, he tried to stay out of the basketball decision-making.

"The more you get involved, you start to learn what you don't know," Dolan said. "I became convinced that I didn't think I could add anything to it, and so when the opportunity to bring Phil came in, I was like, 'Perfect.'"

Even with a less hands-on approach than in the past, Dolan added he still looks at his teams as "very valuable assets" that "get more valuable every year."

He explained that because of the nature of owning a sports franchise, he has to take into account more than just what he and his family would like, but also what would be best for stockholders.

From ESPN.com:

I love the Knicks and Rangers, right, but you still have a responsibility to your shareholders. They're not there because they're fans. You don't invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a stock because you're a fan. You do it because you think that the business is going to increase in value, that the stock price is going to go up. You have a responsibility as the guy who runs the place to deliver on that for them, that's being open and transparent. And so in that position, I could never say that I wouldn't consider selling the Knicks. Now, my family is not in that position, and they are the majority shareholders. They hold the majority of the vote. ... As a majority owner, I don't want to sell, either. As the head of the public company, you can't say you can't sell, because then you're telling your shareholders that your own personal feelings about your assets are more important than their money. And they won't invest with you if you do that.

Despite the talk about a potential sale, Dolan said he has not received a "bona fide offer" for the franchise yet. He added that the price point discussed in the conversations about possibly selling was around $5 billion.

"You hear numbers all the time. ... I think people have sent feelers out, but never any that were pursued," Dolan said. "Yeah, [the feelers are] around that number [$5 billion], but those things, it's like a stock price. It's only important if you're going to buy or sell."

This past summer, when it was first discovered Dolan was creating a spin-off of Madison Square Garden Co. so he could have the sports teams and his entertainment properties in different companies, many speculated that he was setting up for a sale. However, Dolan has openly denied any intention of selling the Knicks or Rangers.

On Monday afternoon Dolan issued the following statement through a spokesperson to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

"As we have previously stated, there are no plans to sell the Knicks,” the statement said.

The Liberty are put up for sale. Dolan told O'Connor they've "pumped tons of marketing dollars" into the team, but they still couldn't get enough people at the games.

The Knicks are 9-22 in their first year under new coach David Fizdale. Through 32 games, the Rangers are tied for fifth in the Metropolitan division with 33 points. And the Liberty had the second-worst record in the WNBA last season at 7-27.

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