The New York Knicks may be the NBA's most valuable team, but they sure don't have a lot to show for it.
Years of mismanagement and front-office mistakes have cost this franchise decades of mediocrity and it's a problem that stems all the way from the top.
But did you know that they had the chance to add Pat Riley to their ownership circle all the way back in the late 90s? He resigned in 1995 after he and New York failed to reach terms on a deal. And while there's no telling what might've (or could've) happened, he's exactly the type of guy they could have used right about now.
And had the Knicks decided to just give him the conditions he wanted, he might still be there today.
Leaving the largest contract ever offered to a basketball coach sitting on the table, Pat Riley resigned unexpectedly as coach of the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Riley, 50, who had been offered a five-year, $15-million extension, said in his release he needed control of personnel matters.
At the news conference, Checketts noted that Riley had asked for a share of ownership too.
In his release, Riley said his decision “had absolutely nothing to do with money” but everything to do with power.
“For the last two years,” Riley said, “I had consistently and repeatedly expressed to Knick management my desire and need to be charged with ultimate responsibility for all significant aspects of the ballclub. During this time, I had tried my best to reach an agreement with management on these issues. Unhappily, the gap between us could not be bridged.”
Newsday reported that Riley at one point asked for $50 million over five years, plus 25% ownership of the team, and the Knicks countered with a five-year, $25-million offer.
In hindsight, the deal was pretty extraordinary for the time, and even for a guy as established as Riley, it is understandable that the Knicks were unwilling to give him the totality of what he wanted.
Unfortunately, it doesn't change the fact that it likely would have been worth it. Since his arrival in Miami as an executive, he has turned them into a powerhouse, winning three NBA Championships and many Finals appearances -- including this very season against LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers.
With a guy like Riley at the helm, it's hard to believe the Knicks would not be in a better situation today. Of course -- they'll never get the chance to find out.