The New York Knicks have been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late.
Following an incident involving former player Charles Oakley at Madison Square Garden this week, owner James Dolan announced on Friday that he handed down a ban from MSG for Oakley's behavior. He was arrested on site and charged with assault after the incident occurred.
Dolan also went on the record Friday regarding the status of President Phil Jackson, who has caught some heat from the Knicks faithful for his inability to tweet with clarity. In an attempt to reportedly cool tension between Carmelo Anthony and himself, Jackson only widened the divide with an ominous tweet that he later said was "misunderstood."
Despite the issues on the surface with players not connecting with Jackson and his unique styles of presiding over the organization, Dolan stood behind his man saying that he fully intends to stand behind and honor the contract of the President for its entirety.
With all that's going on with the organization, coupled with how the players have been treated, Carmelo Anthony showed his concern after another loss on Friday night. Anthony, who has been caught in the crossfire of the drama being the face of the Knicks franchise, specifically talked on how the recent events might affect the organization's ability to land free agents.
"That's always the case, it's always in the back of people's minds," Anthony said in an interview with ESPN, on whether the recent events could affect landing free agents.
"I think what happened [the other night], is just an accumulation of an incident on top of another incident on top of everything that's going on with the New York Knicks organization right now. It's just kind of a cloud over our heads right now. And we have to figure out a way to get out of it."
He has every reason to be concerned about that. The Knicks have been a mess off the court recently, and with the way Anthony has been treated with the potential trade buzz surrounding him, coupled with Oakley's banishment, it's a tough sell to try and pitch to free agents looking for a destination. Superstars want to be treated accordingly, and seeing a 10-year former player from the 1990s like Oakley get a banishment from MSG for assault isn't a good look, no matter who is at fault.
Worst of all, the off-court incidents have been able to somehow mask just how awful the team is right now. The Knicks fell to 22-33 on the season with a loss to the Nuggets on Friday, and have now dropped nine of their last 11 games. They have gone 2-10 at home since Christmas Day.
In this sticky situation, winning would be the quickest solution to Anthony's concerns over landing big names in free agency. After all, players want to win games and contend for titles.
No matter the work climate, if players feel like they have a shot at chasing a ring, it can make a world of difference just being able to use hope as a selling point.
Yet for New York, that appears to be far down the road. With the circumstances off the court and the lack of success on it, it doesn't appear the figurative cloud Anthony spoke of has shown any signs of dissipating any time soon.