MSG Sports president Scott O'Neil to resign

By Ben Golliver | Blogger

The New York Knicks will begin the 2012-13 season with a new point guard, a new crosstown rival in Brooklyn and, possibly, a new chief executive.

The New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that Scott O'Neil will resign his position as president of MSG Sports, the division of Madison Square Garden, Inc. that oversees the Knicks. O'Neil had held the position since 2008.

MSG confirmed the departure in a statement obtained by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

"We are grateful for Scott's years of service and his many contributions to the company, and wish him the very best of luck as he moves forward," the statement read. "We are fortunate to have a talented team in place at MSG Sports who will continue to build on the company's successes while we undertake a search for a new President of MSG Sports."

The New York Times reported O'Neil's statement.

“My time at the World's Most Famous Arena has been nothing short of incredible, and I am proud of our results,” O'Neil said in a statement. He was vague about his future, saying only, “I could not be more excited about the process of discovering what lies ahead.”

It's not yet clear what motivated O'Neil's departure, although MSG chairman James Dolan is a notoriously difficult boss.

The Knicks advanced to the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in 2012, losing in five games to the NBA's eventual champions, the Miami Heat. The 2012 offseason included a flurry of moves, as the Knicks brought in a host of new players: Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas among them.

The biggest news of the summer, though, was the Knicks' one major departure: Jeremy Lin. The Taiwanese-American point guard rose to global prominence during the 2011-12 season thanks to a remarkable stretch of play. A restricted free agent, Lin was offered a three-year contract worth $25 million by the Houston Rockets. The Knicks were initially adamant that they would match all offers but, in a stunning reversal that angered fans, opted instead to allow Lin to join the Rockets.

There were initial concerns that Lin's departure would have an adverse impact on MSG's stock price, but those fears now seem unwarranted. On Wednesday, MSG was trading for 42.08, well above its price in July when Lin officially departed.

In addition to the Knicks, MSG Sports manages the WNBA's New York Liberty, the NHL's New York Rangers and the AHL's Connecticut Whale.

 
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