James Dolan throws away money again to part with Phil Jackson

The New York Knicks and team president Phil Jackson mutually agreed to part wayson Wednesday,ending a rocky marriage of more than three years. The relationship was not only a complete boondoggle on the court -- the Knicks went 90-171 under Jackson -- but also turned into a financial disaster for the franchise.

When owner James Dolan agreed to pay Jackson $12 million a year in March 2014, it was, far and away, the largest deal ever given to a team executive and remains so until this day.

Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein became a close second when, right before the Cubs won last year's World Series -- the club's first title in 108 years -- the team gave him a five-year deal worth nearly $10 million a year.

What makes Wednesday's breakup so fascinating, aside from the fact that the decision wasn't made before last Thursday's draft, is that Dolan picked up the final two years of Jackson's option earlier this year.

Dolan gets painted as incompetent on days like this because of the relationships that he forged, but because of his financial wherewithal -- the MSG stock price is nearing all-time highs -- he deserves some credit for doing what he has done: making money no object in the best interest of moving on.

Dolan isn't a stranger to paying for nothing with the Knicks, in case you need a refresher:

President: Phil Jackson

Go-away money: $20.5 million

Jackson signed a five-year, $60 million contract that was broken up into two parts -- three years and two years. It's not exactly clear when the option was picked up -- ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Ian Begley reported in April that the deal was done -- but we know Jackson's contract started in mid-March 2014. Getting paid at a rate of $1 million per month means he worked for $3.5 million of the last $24 million that was picked up. That's assuming Jackson gets it all after the split, which he should as long as everything was signed: That translates into a $20.5 million severance check.

Head coach: Larry Brown

Go-away money: $18.5 million

Larry Brown signed a five-year, $51 million deal to coach the Knicks in 2005. But after the Knicks went a franchise-worst 23-59, Brown was fired. Brown had hoped to get the remaining $41 million, plus $12.5 million in damages, but walked away with an $18.5 million settlement, meaning the Knicks paid Brown $28.5 million total, or $1,239,130 per win.

Player: Allan Houston

Paid not to play: $32.4 million

Allan Houston had a guaranteed contract, which by all accounts was one of the worst contracts of all time: a six-year deal in 2001 worth $100 million. Houston was injured the final three years of his deal and collected more than $53 million. But since we're talking about getting paid to do nothing, we are tasked with adding up how much the Knicks paid him after his last game on the court (Jan. 19, 2005). That number is a total of $32,380,335 for the rest of the 2004-05 season and the 2005-06 season in which he didn't play but was paid more than $19 million. This, of course, created the Allan Houston rule, which allowed teams to pay off a player without it counting against the luxury tax.

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