James Dolan looking to sell New York Liberty after 21 years

James Dolan looking to sell New York Liberty after 21 years”

Shavonte Zellous #1 of the Liberty handles the ball against the Dallas Wings during a WNBA game at Madison Square Garden on Friday, June 2, 2017.

In 2010, the team, along with Madison Square Garden itself, the Knicks and Rangers and several other sports and entertainment properties, was spun off from corporate parent Cablevision, becoming The Madison Square Garden Company.

It seems reasonable to assume the league will do everything in its power to keep the Liberty in the NY media market, though that does not necessarily mean Madison Square Garden will continue to be their home.

The Liberty will be the second WNBA franchise sold this offseason.

Madison Square Garden Co. announced plans to sell its WNBA franchise, one day after the company's chief executive officer suddenly resigned.

"This was a hard decision for us, which we made after carefully assessing the needs of our business", said Dolan, whose group also owns the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.

While all of the eight original WNBA franchises were owned and affiliated with National Basketball Association teams, only three of the 12 teams now have National Basketball Association partners - Indiana, Phoenix and Minnesota.

The Liberty was established in 1996 as one of the WNBA's original eight franchises.

It is unclear whether the Liberty would continue to play at MSG - or even remain in NY - under new ownership. The San Antonio Stars were purchased by MGM in October and will move to Las Vegas for the 2018 season. "And with a home that is also the world's largest media market, it is expected that new ownership will realize the benefits of having the team remain in NY".

The announcement comes after another successful regular season resulted in a first-round exit in the playoffs, after which coach Bill Laimbeer bolted for the new franchise in Las Vegas last month. NY promoted assistant coach Katie Smith to the head job.

Since NBA Hall of Famer and former Knicks president and coach Isiah Thomas took over as team president in 2015, the Liberty have qualified for the postseason and won the Eastern Conference all three years.

"I would like to thank Isiah, and the Liberty players and coaching staff, who have made great progress in strengthening and growing the franchise", Dolan said. "The Liberty now presents a tremendous opportunity for a new owner to bring new resources, creativity and focus to ensure the team becomes an enduring success".

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