New York Knicks owner James Dolan is stepping away from NBA league-related responsibilities while his team sues another.
In a memo sent to Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s other 29 owners, Dolan resigned from his position on the NBA Board of Governors’ influential advisory, finance, and media committees. Knicks general counsel Jamaal Lesane has already begun sitting in for Dolan’s responsibilities on those committees’ meetings, per ESPN.
“Given all that has occurred lately, I have come to the conclusion that the NBA neither needs nor wants my opinion,” Dolan wrote in the memo.
It comes in the wake of the Knicks suing the Toronto Raptors for $10 million, alleging that former New York assistant video coordinator Ikechukwu Azotam passed along proprietary information to the Raptors when he joined their staff this season.
Toronto motioned to dismiss the case and asked for Silver to mediate the dispute between the two franchises. However, the Knicks fired back on this request by saying that Silver cannot be impartial due to the commissioner’s close relationship with Raptors governor Larry Tannenbaum, who is also chairman of the NBA board of governors and effectively Silver’s boss.
“My hope is that the Knicks will be treated equally and fairly as all other NBA teams,” Dolan added in the memo. “… As you know, I am very busy with all my duties at MSG family of companies. I need to apply my time where I can be most productive.”
ESPN’s report also notes that Dolan was the only owner to vote against otherwise unanimous decisions to allow the sale of the Charlotte Hornets from Michael Jordan to Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin and WNBA expansion to the Bay Area.