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Did Nets' big off-season drive Dolan to fire Grunwald?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The news was shocking to almost everyone: James Dolan fired Glen Grunwald as GM, days before the start of training camp, replacing him with Steve Mills, who had been fired by the Knicks after a sexual harassment. As one league source put it, "Glenn was as a company guy as there is and Steve was fired for not being one." 

Now that the smoke has cleared, two of New York's better known hoops writers are suggesting Grunwald was fired because Dolan didn't think he did as a good a job this summer as Billy King and his obsession with Mikhail Prokhorov and Brooklyn is not driving his decisions.

"[It] shows you something else, in lights as bright as the ones in Times Square," writes Mike Lupica in the Daily News. "How much Mikhail Prokhorov and his general manager, Billy King, and the whole idea of the Brooklyn Nets have made Dolan even more erratic about basketball matters than usual. It is the Nets who went out and got Kevin Garnett in the offseason and the Nets who went out and got Paul Pierce in the offseason, and so suddenly Grunwald is out and Mills is in and Dolan decides to go in another direction, though no one is quite sure what that direction is."

Harvey Araton of the Times adds, "It seems possible that the Knicks, feeling the pressure of a much more visible and competitive Nets team nearby in Brooklyn, have concluded that their team needs a more accessible public face and that Mills would do well in that role."

Make no mistake about it, Dolan and Prokhorov didn't get together last season for a "free lunch." Dolan, enraged by a Prokhorov quote in New York Magazine, describing him as a "little man," complained to David Stern and Stern brokered the meeting. Stern, in fact, was so concerned about the bubbling feud that he wanted to attend as well, but the two owners didn't see the need for a ref.

This is not just a rivalry among players. It starts at the top and it seems that Prokhorov is pushing Dolan's buttons just as gleefully as Paul Pierce is pushing J.R. Smith's.
Carry on.

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