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Report: Owner James Dolan is upset with Knicks slide out of playoff contention

16th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference - Day 1

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: JD & The Straight Shots perform during the 16th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference - Day 1 at City Winery on September 15, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music)

Rick Diamond

Why is Phil Jackson making $12 million a year from the Knicks? To keep James Dolan out of basketball decisions.

Whatever Jackson has done right (drafting Kristaps Porzingis and other members of the Knicks young core) and wrong over his time in charge of the Knicks basketball operations, every day he keeps the Knicks’ owner from meddling on the basketball side is a good day. Jackson’s $12 million salary is leverage in that battle.

But as the Knicks have gone 2-12 in their last 14, and got thumped by the Raptors at home on Monday, Dolan’s anger is boiling up, reports Frank Isola at the New York Daily News.

The MSG chairman, according to a source, was visibly agitated following the Knicks’ lackluster performance in a loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

It is unclear if Dolan addressed team president Phil Jackson, just as he did one week before Derek Fisher was fired. But Dolan is said to be just as angry as Anthony with the direction of the Knicks, who are 24-34 entering Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.

Carmelo Anthony expressed his frustration after the Raptors loss, and interim coach Kurt Rambis knows that when the boss is mad you should be mad.
“We’re all frustrated. We can’t accept this,” said interim head coach Kurt Rambis. “For the organization, for our team, ourselves as individuals, the coaching staff. We can’t accept losing. I want players to be angry. I want players to be frustrated. That’s the right attitude to have.”

The losing streak isn’t fun, but the Knicks are performing above expectations this season. This has been a step forward. If the playoffs were expected, well, James Dolan was being unrealistic.

Which gets us back to why Phil Jackson is valuable to the Knicks.