This is what you loved about Charles Oakley, what you still love about him. Unfiltered, unapologetic honesty.
Yes, technically he is now an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats, which means he is an employee of the NBA, which means, during the lockout, he is not permitted to talk about any current player. Or did he not see the $100,000 his friend (and team owner) Michael Jordan had to pay for complimenting Andrew Bogut in an Austrailian newspaper?
Actually, during his appearance at K1X on Saturday in Manhattan, Oakley correctly dismissed a question from reporters about the lockout:
"Don't know," he said, "don't care."
But once the topic was moved to the Knicks, the team he feels has ignored him and disrespected Patrick Ewing, the Oak Man started spitting venom.
“They don’t want nothing to do with me, I don’t know why," he said. "I tried to deal with them on several occasions. I’m not gonna keep trying. They don’t like Patrick, either. They won’t give Patrick a job, so I know they won’t give me a job. Patrick should have a job before anyone.”
This has been an on-going issue that even saw Donnie Walsh take fire from Oakley last spring. It is true, however, that Walsh didn't even offer Ewing an opportuntiy to interview during the coaching search in 2008.
“My door is always open to the Knicks, I tell them all the time," he added. "They said something about I told LeBron to go to Miami. I was like, ‘You all have to be one of the craziest organizations in the world.’ Y’all should have tried to call me and talk to me, and maybe we could have gotten LeBron to New York. You went to Isiah and some of these other guys that don’t know the guy.”
It should be pointed out here that Oakley actually did say in a Miami radio interview during the LeBronathon in 2010 that he wouldn't advise LeBron to come to the Knicks because the Knicks "treated me bad." Oakley's main issue was that the team would send a PR attendant to listen in on his interviews with reporters whenever he made an appearance at the Garden.
Quite frankly, if that's the case, the Knicks treated him like a team executive.
But Oakley's issues with the Knicks run deeper than just PR shadows and not getting a job as an assistant coach. Of course they involve the omnipresence of Isiah Thomas.
“I don’t understand how he even got a job . . . he had nothing to do with the Knicks, then he talked bad about the Knicks," Oakley said.
Then he added the clincher: "If I see him, he’d better turn around and go the other way.”
Oakley would have been fine if that was all he said. Hey, there are plenty of New Yorkers that would say the same thing about Isiah. But what will get Oakley in trouble are honest and reasonable thoughts about the current Knicks team.
“Amar’e is good, he’s good in his way," Oakley said of the Knicks' star power forward. "He’s a West Coast player trying to translate to the East Coast. And the longer he plays in the East, the more his body’s gonna get damaged, because he’s got to take a beating now.”
Cha-ching. Put $100,000 on the board, right?
Maybe not. Oakley, you may remember, could not finish the season with Paul Silas and the Bobcats because of a painful sciatic nerve injury, which he allegedly suffered during an 2010 assault at a Las Vegas night club. Oakley told Bobcats GM Rod Higgins to consider replacing him and still had to decide if he would come back for this season.
So Oakley, who was hired just for the remainder of the season, may not technically be an NBA employee and, therefore, wouldn't be subject to a fine from the league.
[A Fixer thank you to HoopsWorld's Tommy Beer for the quotage]