Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan believes the Knicks have the right team in place to rebound quickly from the worst season in franchise history.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dolan gave ringing endorsements to team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills. Dolan said he will remain in the background while Jackson and Mills rebuild the Knicks.
"Phil is a brilliant basketball guy, and he and Steve are working together great," Dolan said.
"I enjoy having two experts in there that I trust," he added later. "I barely have to do a thing. It can stay like that for me forever. As long as we continue to make progress -- and I'm sure we will. I believe."
The Knicks inched closer to finishing with the NBA's worst record with Wednesday night's 102-86 loss to the Pacers at the Garden.
The Knicks (15-63) have a 11/2-game lead on Minnesota for last place with four games remaining. The team with the worst record has a 25-percent chance of getting the first pick of the draft.
The draft pick and the approximately $30 million the Knicks will have for free agency will lead to a roster overhaul and has fans looking forward to the offseason. "The Knicks fans, by the way, have been great this year," Dolan said. "The majority of them understand we're in a rebuild, we're moving as fast as we can and they see our opportunities as being huge. I think they are, but it's all in Phil's hands."
When asked if Jackson is worth his hefty salary, Dolan responded, "You got to believe, baby! I believe, I believe!"
Rookie Cleanthony Early (sprained left ankle) has missed multiple games with ankle injuries three different times. Derek Fisher said Early had some ankle issues in college, too. "We have enough signs at this point that we need to look at some things differently as far as how we're addressing his ankle and overall health," Fisher said.
No road curfew
Fisher doesn't have a road curfew for his players, but he expects them to be professional. This was in response to questions stemming from former Knick Chris Copeland, who was stabbed outside a Chelsea nightclub at 4 a.m. yesterday. "We're talking about adult men," said Fisher, who had a curfew when he played with Utah. "I don't think you get into defining what time guys go to bed or what time they have to be in their hotel room necessarily."
St. John's coach Chris Mullin sat courtside and received a warm ovation when he was introduced . . . Ricky Ledo was signed for the remainder of the season.
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.