The holding company of the New York Knicks is flatly denying Bill Simmons’s self-described “doozy” of a report that their owner is courting offers for the team.
“Multiple people told me this, who know things: James Dolan is courting offers for the Knicks,” Simmons said on his podcast Monday.
Dolan is the CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company, which owns the Knicks, the NHL’s New York Rangers, the WNBA’s New York Liberty, Madison Square Garden, and a number of other entertainment venues across the country.
“It’s happening,” Simmons said. “It’s on. It’s go-time. He’s courting offers for the Knicks. That’s what I heard at All-Star weekend from people I trust.”
The Ringer founder and CEO — who reportedly met with a handful of high-profile sports and media executives in Charlotte during the NBA’s All-Star festivities — went on to say that he “pieced together” that Dolan “really cares about buildings” and wants to invest more in music and sports arenas.
“So the Knicks are available, from what I’ve heard,” he said.
The franchise itself says that Simmons heard wrong. In a statement released Monday to multiple media outlets, the Madison Square Garden Company said his claim was “100 percent false.”
“There has been nothing. No discussions. No plans to have discussions—nothing,” the statement said.
Dolan also shot down rumors last August that he was interested in selling the Knicks.
In December, Dolan told ESPN that he didn’t want to sell the team, but couldn’t rule it out as the CEO of a publicly traded company. The 63-year-old also said there had been “feelers” from potential buyers ranging up to $5 billion, though “no one has come through with a bona fide offer.”
“I think people have sent feelers out, but never any that were pursued,” Dolan told ESPN.
Simmons, a former Boston resident and diehard Celtics fan, has long been critical of Dolan’s two-decade stewardship of the Knicks (as have many Knicks fans) and recently even pushed back publicly at New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis’s suggestion that the 73-year-old team was a “great franchise.”
Just say “It’s a huge city with great fans and a fantastic arena.” That’s literally all you can say about the Knicks.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 17, 2019
During his podcast, Simmons said that Dolan “wants $5 billion for the team,” not including Madison Square Garden.
“But I think he knows he’s not going to get five,” he said.
Simmons later added that “somebody” told him that Dolan wouldn’t sell the Knicks as long as his dad, Charles Dolan, the 92-year-old controlling owner of the Madison Square Garden Company, is alive.
“I don’t know if this is true or not,” Simmons said. “But I do know that he’s courting offers now, which was not the case before.”