Tag:Donnie Walsh
Posted on: August 18, 2011 9:32 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 9:42 am

Report: Reggie Miller on list for Bird successor

By Matt Moore

Indiana won't have Larry Bird to kick around forever. (And by "kick around" we mean "revere and overlook mistakes for.") Bird has made strong hints in the past that he's headed out the door sooner rather than later, despite having committed to the 2011-2012 season (should there be one). And in that instance, what's the plan for who takes over the Good Ship Pacers? Yahoo! Sports reports that a familiar face could be the next to helm the franchise. 
Simon has been canvassing people he respects – including his longtime former general manager Donnie Walsh – for opinions about how they believe Miller would do with the transition from television to management. Several people with longstanding ties to Miller and the Pacers are pushing Miller to pursue the job, and as one tells Yahoo! Sports: “He’s going to look hard at this, if it’s presented in the right way.”

Simon has considered this possibility for several years, sources said, and thinks the timing could be right to groom Miller to run his basketball operations. This is likely Miller’s one chance to ever run a team. And where else would he rather do it, but in the city, the state, where he became basketball royalty?
via Pacers owner eyes Miller to run team - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Miller's not a popular announcer, often thought to provide too many obvious or goofy comments. But in Indiana, he's god-like. Miller has a number of things going for him which would make this a smart move. For starter's, he may not be popular with the players but he'll have their respect, as either an all-time great the kids are familiar with or as a player many veterans played with or against. He obviously has pretty good leadership skills, and a high-character roster is something he'd value, which is incredibly important for fans in Indiana, apparently.

But Miller doesn't hae any experience with the job. He may be fully familiar with the workings of the CBA (since everyone's probably starting from scratch on the next one anyway), but there's still a learning curve.  One thing that might help with that? Yahoo! reports that Simon the Owner is interested in bringing back Donnie Walsh, currently advising the New York Knicks after getting sick of dealing with everything Knicks-related (and New-York-media related, it seems). Walsh could give Miller the guidance necessary to become a great executive. It would be good for Pacers fans, good for Miller, and good for those that aren't a fan of him on the mic. Whether it works out is of course the bigger question. 

Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 6:49 am

Isiah Thomas talks about his future with Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

There is an assumption that Isiah Thomas will be returning to the Knicks in some regard, after Donnie Walsh didn't reach a contract extension with the team. Thomas remains involved in some manner with the team as a consultant-but-not-a-consultant type of thing.

He's already said he won't rejoin the team
in an official capacity, but via Sports Radio Interviews, Thomas was asked about his future with the team since again, most seem to doubt he will rejoin the club in an official capacity.
Do you want to be back with the New York Knicks organzation?

“I don’t want to be the President of the New York Knicks. That’s not what I’m angling for. In terms of being in the NBA or working in an NBA organization I’ve said this before at some point in time I would like to return to the NBA and I would like to continue in the NBA, but at this time my focus is at FIU [Florida International University] and working in college and working with the kids that I’m working with.”

Why do you not want to be the President of the New York Knicks or for any team?

“I … not necessarily any team, but I would just say in this situation right now you know what with what went on with myself and my family and the toll that it took on just my family here in New York. It was just difficult for us and we had a very difficult time. I don’t know if I would want to go through that again.”

Let me just make this clear for the listeners out there. Are you trying to say that if your friend, the billionaire, Mr. Dolan, picked up the phone, called you and said ‘I want you back in the same position you had before you’d likely say no?’

“I probably would because I think I could help him … I would try to help him in other ways. I just don’t know if my skin … I don’t know if my family and myself …  I don’t (know) if we could all go through that again. It was very difficult for all of us during that period of time and I wouldn’t want to go through that again.”

What about being the coach of the Knicks?

“Absolutely not.”
As with anything in sports, you can only take Thomas at his word. He says he's not returning to the Knicks and because of the PR nightmare it would create, you've got to believe it. Isiah Thomas isn't going to be the Knicks next GM.

He's said before that he wants to return to the NBA at some point, but he's not dumb. He understands that a return to the Knicks wouldn't be good for him or the organization. Not with all the baggage that's there. But he does have a major leg up there because of his relationship with Dolan. Even with that, Thomas acknowledged how difficult a return would be. He doesn't rule out the chance to return in some capacity, but he's sure he doesn't want to be president and especially not the coach.

Sleep easy, Mike D'Antoni. And Knicks fans.

Posted on: June 5, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 6:48 am

D'Antoni not too worried about losing his job

Posted by Royce Young

After the question of Donnie Walsh's future was settled with his decision to move to an advisory role with the team this week, now it's about what happens with coach Mike D'Antoni.

Maybe D'Antoni's biggest fan -- besides his wife, I assume -- was Walsh. But according to the New York Post, owner James Dolan is also in the corner of D'Antoni.
It is unclear if a contract extension would be discussed, but one source said Dolan likes D’Antoni a lot. D’Antoni has one year and $6 million left on his contract, and Dolan is not keen on eating it during a lockout-shortened season with revenues down.
Following the sweep at the hands of the Celtics in the opening round, D'Antoni's seat went form warm to hot. The team was playing without Chauncey Billups in three of the four games, but being swept isn't something Knicks' fans had in mind when the team made the postseason.

D'Antoni spoke with the Post recently and expressed that he's not too worried about his future with the Knicks.

“No, I feel good,” D’Antoni said. “I hate it Donnie is leaving. I owe a lot to him. We had three good years. He did exactly what he wanted and said he would do and he’s got us in position to be one of the better teams in the NBA next year. That’s to his credit.

“We worked well together,” he added. “I appreciate his support and I feel good about us having a great year next season. It’s all a coach can ask for, to have him give me that chance. He’s put me in that position.”

The biggest criticism of D'Antoni this year came because of incredible defensive meltdowns, specifically in the second halves of games. The Knicks have two premier scorers in Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, but both of those players lack on the defensive end.

There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding D'Antoni's assistants who all have their contracts expire June 30. According to the New York Times, D'Antoni is expected to add a defensive specialist to his staff at the request of the front office. As the report notes, that's nothing new -- in Phoenix, Marc Iavaroni served as D’Antoni’s defensive coach for three and a half seasons.

There isn't much doubt that D'Antoni will return next season to finish out his contract but if things start slowly, his seat could turn to fire. And of course if marked improvement isn't shown -- especially on both ends -- it's not going to matter how much Dolan likes him. It's time for the Knicks to start winning again.

Posted on: June 3, 2011 8:06 pm

Report: Isiah Thomas says he won't rejoin Knicks

Isiah Thomas reportedly says he will not re-join the New York Knicks management staff. Posted by Ben Golliver. isiah-thomas

In a surprise move on Friday, New York Knicks owner James Dolan and president Donnie Walsh announced that they had "mutually agreed" that Walsh would not be back as president next season, instead shifting into a consulting role.

Breathe easy, Knicks fans: Walsh's departure doesn't mean that former Knicks president, and noted Dolan confidante, Isiah Thomas is coming back for a sequel.

Indeed, ESPNNY.com reports on Friday that Thomas has ruled himself out.
"I'll only say that Jim and I are great friends," Thomas said, "and I will always try to help him help the Knicks. If he wants me to help, I'll be there for him.

"I have no desire to return as president of the Knicks," said Thomas, now the head coach of Florida International University. "I'm not a candidate to replace Donnie. I like the job I have right now, and the toll that the (Knicks) job took on me, my wife, and my kids, I don't want to go through that again."

The Thomas years were filled with bloated contracts, strange trades and sexual harassment allegations. Clearly, no one wants to go back down that road.

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger has much more on who has emerged as early candidates to replace Walsh


Posted on: June 3, 2011 2:46 pm

Walsh says departure was a matter of age

Posted by Matt Moore

On a conference call Friday afternoon after it was announced he would be leaving his position as President of the Knicks, Donnie Walsh pinpointed age and the need fro the President going forward to work under a multi-year deal as the primary reasons why he would be departing the Knicks after three years.  

"Jim (Dolan) and I started working on some sort of extension that would be a multi-year deal. The more we talked about it, the more I realized I wouldn't want a multi-year deal. I can understand why he'd want that. I just realized I probably wasn't the guy to go forward with."

Walsh, ever the company man and a man who does business "the right way" denied reports that autonomy was an issue between he and Dolan, with rumors implying Dolan wanted more control over decision-making than Dolan was comfortable with. Still, there were things Walsh said to suggest everything is not peachy within MSG. 

"I basically had a good relationship with Jim," Walsh said. "He treated me very well." Walsh spoke about how it's commonplace for owners to be involved in negotiations like what occurred during the trade negotiations for Carmelo Anthony. He denied that Dolan's involvement led in any way to his departure.

"No, it had nothing to do with it. I don't understand why people make a deal about an owner getting involved in a negotiation. I was called and told by (Dolan) before the deal, 'I can't make this decision. This is your decision.'" 

Walsh spoke highly of the organization, the fans, his staff, and Mike D'Antoni, saying he had spoken with the Knicks head coach prior to the announcement and given him his support to "finish the job."

As far as the future of the Knicks, Walsh spoke often about "filling in the blanks" or "gaps" on the Knicks' roster with players to support the two franchise superstars, Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. He said he will relocated to Indiana but maintain an apartment in New York in his role as a consultant to help with "whatever (he) can." 

Most forcefully, Walsh denied Isiah Thomas' involvement in the situation. 

"I don't think Isiah Thomas had anything to do with basically anything I'm doing right now. I've always had a relationship with Isiah, I'm not going to give that up because everyone's talking and writing about it. I haven't seen Isiah in a long time."

The New York Daily News reports that part of the offer from James Dolan to Walsh to stay on including a 40 percent pay cut.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 12:51 pm

Donnie Walsh out as Knicks' President

Posted by Matt Moore

In an absolutely stunning development, the New York Knicks announced Friday that Donnie Walsh would be leaving his position as President of Basketball Operations. Read more on the Knicks' decision from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, who says the Knicks are facing dark days ahead without Walsh. The Knicks' statement from owner James Dolan:

“Following a long series of discussions regarding his future role with the New York Knicks, Donnie Walsh and I have mutually agreed that he will be leaving his position as president, basketball operations of the Knicks at the end of June. Donnie will remain with the team as a consultant for the 2011-12 season. In a relatively short time with the Knicks, Donnie made a tremendous impact, which will be felt for many years to come. We thank Donnie for his leadership, hard work and many contributions to the revitalization of the team.

 “We will now begin an immediate search for a new president and general manager, but do not have a timetable for the decision. Glen Grunwald, the Knicks' senior vice president, basketball operations, will serve as interim general manager beginning in July, overseeing all player transactions. With some of the NBA’s premier players, an outstanding coach and one of the league's most passionate and loyal fanbases, we are extremely confident about the future of the Knicks franchise.”

Talk had begun of a two-year extension between the Knicks and Walsh as early as April 25th following the Knicks' first-round exit, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com had reported. The New York Post reported on May 5th that Isiah Thomas was possibly not returning as an advisor. Now the question will be what happened between the April 27th report that the extension of Walsh was coming within days, and Friday's dramatic re-invention of the Knicks. 

Interim GM Glen Grunwald served as VP of the Denver Nuggets in the 90's before being hired as an Assistant General Manager for the Toronto Raptors by... Isiah Thomas. From a 2006 profile of Grunwald after joining Thomas in New York:

Thomas and Grunwald of course go all the way back to the University of Indiana where they were co-captains on the 1981 NCAA Championship team. Then, while Isiah Thomas was still leading the hopes and dreams of Torontos expansion franchise, he hired Grunwald and after Thomas headed south of the border, Grunwald was left to run the show. Grunwald spent seven seasons with the Raptors and while his contract as GM was not renewed after the Raptors 2003-04 season, he was responsible for many of the Raptors "highs" including three consecutive playoff appearances at one point. However even after his dismissal from the Raptors, Grunwald remained in Toronto taking a job with the Board of Trade and it seemed like Grunwald had found his new calling. But Isiah Thomas move from the front-office back to the bench where he will coach the Knicks this upcoming season changed all that. Thomas decided he needed some front-office help and reached out to his former right-hand man.
via The Strange Tale of Glen Grunwald - Raptors HQ.

Grunwald and Thomas' connection is obviously strong, as evidenced by the Knicks' statement from Thomas upon his hiring in 2006:

“Glen is a skilled NBA executive whose expertise will be a great asset to the New York Knicks,” Thomas said. “I know him well from our days as co-captains on the 1981 NCAA Championship team at Indiana University and I hired him in Toronto, where he helped assemble a roster that made three consecutive postseason appearances. I consider him to be a quality evaluator of talent and a skilled communicator.”
via KNICKS: Knicks Hire Glen Grunwald.

The obvious question is whether this move leads to a return by Thomas into power of the Knicks. Thomas was rumored to have been the deciding voice in the Knicks' quest to acquire Carmelo Anthony, prompting Dolan to override Walsh and surrender the house, the car, and the baby stroller to get Melo. When asked if Walsh minded Thomas' possible influence on Dolan after the trade, Walsh said he couldn't care less. From CBSSports.com's Ken Berger: 

What role did Isiah Thomas have in the Knicks’ successful pursuit of Carmelo Anthony?

"I have no idea,” Walsh said, understandably reacting testily to the incessant drumbeat about Isiah’s role. “Only what I read in your papers. … I’m assuming Isiah’s getting ready for the NCAA Tournament. That’s what I’m assuming.”

Maybe in the office pool, but not on the court. Thomas’ Florida International team is 9-17.

Asked if it would bother Walsh if Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan was keeping with his word and continuing to solicit Thomas’ views – as he said in a statement announcing the team was no longer pursuing Thomas’ employment as a consultant – Walsh said, “I could care less. There are a lot of people that talk to him, all right? I could care less.”
via Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role - CBSSports.com.

A May 2010 New York Post report indicated that Grunwald's contract was expiring and he may not even return. Now he's in charge of the Knicks' decision making on personnel until a new GM can be put in place.  It's possible Grunwald won't have any impact on decision making, in light of the nearly certain lockout on July 1st. By the time the labor dispute is settled, a new regime could be in place. Still, the move reeks of a storm cloud moving in called Isiah.

The decision also stands out as the Knicks have non-Thomas affiliated personnel who could have taken over in Alan Houston, former Nuggets' exeutive Mark Warkentien, and John Gabriel. Grunwald is said to be a shrewd talent evaluator, but his decision history over the last decade leaves quite a bit of concern. 

Ken Berger reports on why this move may have gone down and it's a one-word answer: control.
Throughout Walsh’s discussions with Dolan about his future, it was clear from multiple sources with knowledge of the talks that Walsh would not stay with the Knicks if A) he would not have final say over basketball decisions, or B) there was a chance he could be overruled by the Garden’s many agenda-driven outside influences. The most sinister of those was former team president Isiah Thomas, who remains in close communication with Dolan and in the MSG chairman’s circle of trust – despite running the franchise into the ground and turning the Knicks into a league-wide embarrassment.

“They were a joke for six years,” a rival team executive said Friday. “What Donnie has done for that organization, you’ve got to be kidding me. Come on. The whole world has paid attention to basketball in New York because of the guy – in a positive way.”

And they’re paying attention again – for all the wrong reasons.
via Wash's departure means dark days back for Knicks - CBSSports.com.
Posted on: May 5, 2011 3:39 pm

Report: Isiah Thomas not coming back to Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

There's always been reason to believe Isiah Thomas wasn't done with the New York Knicks. He's owner James Dolan's friend, Dolan tried to hire him as an "advisor" last summer and reportedly, Thomas was actively involved in bringing Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple.

But it's going to end there, according to the New York Post.

Current president Donnie Walsh is close to signing a contract extension and Dolan has informed Walsh that Thomas won't be brought back in any capacity. That has always appeared to be a contentious thing within the Knicks front office was who actually had power. The Melodrama was a big example of that.

As the Post reports though, Walsh is "expected to be granted permission to hire his successor as a central part of a new agreement that should be announced shortly."

If you've somehow forgotten, Thomas essentially destroyed the Knicks' cap situation, overpaid everyone, got himself involved in a lawsuit and set the franchise back a good five years. Walsh has resurrected basketball at Madison Square Garden by getting New York's cap under control while also accumulating a good amount of young talent.

There's absolutely no reason to flirt with Thomas again and ignore Walsh. Sounds like Dolan is finally making a very good call here that's in the best interest of his organization and not his personal ones. Not that there isn't some curiosity justified by wondering why it took this long to finally ditch Thomas and commit to Walsh though. But hey, better late than never.

Walsh has reportedly been keen on former Knicks guard Allan Houston as a possible replacement, though I'm sure the Knicks will at least check out the current market. The good news is though, Isiah Thomas won't be one of them.
Posted on: April 27, 2011 10:01 am
Edited on: April 27, 2011 10:28 am

Knicks to extend Donnie Walsh this week?

The New York Knicks are reportedly on the verge of re-signing president Donnie Walsh. Posted by Ben Golliver. donnie-walsh

On Monday, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reported that the New York Knicks were considering a two-year extension for president Donnie Walsh, with an announcement coming shortly.

On Wednesday, that talk continues, as the New York Post reported that Knicks owner James Dolan is "on the verge" of announcing that Walsh will be retained.
Knicks owner James Dolan is on the verge of announcing Donnie Walsh will be back as Knicks president for next season with an agreement all but sealed, according to multiple sources. One league source said it could be a done deal by this week.
"Jim really wants him back and the only issue left is Donnie getting assurances he's in charge of the basketball operations," the league source said.
According to sources, Walsh had become concerned about the increasing influence of some of Dolan's MSG lieutenants regarding basketball matters. Walsh had taken the job three years ago with the promise he would be the head of basketball operations.
The New York Times also reported Wednesday that an extension is coming in the short term.
Walsh and Dolan are expected to meet within the next few days, according to several people with ties to the team, all of whom asked for anonymity to protect their relationships. All expressed confidence that Walsh would be back, probably with a two-year contract extension.
Money is not an issue, nor is Walsh’s health or his enthusiasm for the job.
Walsh led the Knicks back to the playoffs for the first time since 2003-2004, signing free agent All-Star forward Amar'e Stoudemire last summer and trading for All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony days before this season's trade deadline.

The Knicks were swept out of the first round by the Boston Celtics over the weekend. As noted this weekend, retaining Walsh is a no-brainer given the substantial progress made under his leadership.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com