Paul Pierce has a quick fix for the Knicks and it echoes the chants that filled Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
The former All-Star and current ESPN analyst believes the franchise can get turned around by a change in ownership, citing the Clippers as an example of it working in the past. The Knicks, owned by James Dolan, are in the midst of a 13-36 season that has gotten ugly, on the way to their seventh straight losing campaign.
“I’ve been talking about this the last 5-10 years. This is not a new low for the Knicks because you can’t get any lower than they’ve already been,” Pierce said Thursday on ESPN’s “The Jump.” “Everybody is waiting for this franchise to get some relevancy.
“Free agents are passing on them. Losing (Kevin) Durant and Kyrie (Irving) to Brooklyn, not getting Zion (Williamson). Something has to change for the Knicks and I truly believe once they get new ownership you’ll see change. You saw it with the Clippers. Look what happened with the Clippers. Now they’re a perennial playoff team, they got better ownership and they’re a championship-contending team now.”
Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell the team in 2014 after he was hit with a lifetime ban when a recording surfaced of him making racist comments. The franchise had struggled under his ownership, recording the worst winning percentage in all four major American sports since he bought the team in 1981, according to a 2014 Grantland article.
Since Steve Ballmer took over as owner in 2014, the Clippers have become a more attractive franchise, landing Kawhi Leonard (through free agency) and Paul George (via trade) this past offseason in hopes of winning a championship.
Meanwhile, the Knicks hit another low point Wednesday in their 21-point loss to the Grizzlies, which included a final-minute fight when the Knicks took offense to Jae Crowder shooting a 3. As the referees sorted out the mess, the Garden crowd broke into a sustained “Sell the team” chant before music drowned them out.