NBA > Donnie Walsh Out As Knicks Team President – What’s Next?

~ When the New York Knicks season ended with being swept in 4 games out of the 1st round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, there was a best case and worst case scenario. The best case scenario was that Donnie Walsh would be brought back to continue to build the team into a winner. The worst case was that Walsh would not be back. The worst case scenario has now become a reality.


 The Knicks have announced that Walsh will not return as Team President and General Manager. Walsh will stay on next season with the team in a consultant position and fans are now left to wonder which direction the Knicks will now turn to.


The move was announced as being a “mutual” one. That will be up for debate for weeks to come or until Walsh offically leaves the organization altogether.


The two sides were reportedly close to a two-year extension at the conclusion of the season, however it could not get done and that is where the questions and rumors began to take a life of it’s own.

Walsh stated that he just didn’t feel as if he could give the energy to the job he wanted to any longer.


“I just to myself thought, ‘I don’t know that I’m going to be up to that, I don’t think that I can commit to that,’ because I’m getting older and I do this job only one way and that is full forward ahead, … It’s 24-7 with me and I think that’s what it takes, to be honest.” … Donnie Walsh


Is this a smart move by the Knicks to part ways with Walsh? Based on their track record before Walsh arrived, not bringing him back may prove to be a major setback for New York. This was a team that not only was an embarrassment on the court, they were also a wreck off of it before Walsh came in. Walsh gutted the roster over his first two seasons to clear enough salary-cap space to sign two maximum-salary free agents. They went out and signed Amare Stoudemire, then in mid-season they traded for Carmelo Anthony.


The reality of the situation is that Knicks Owner James Dolan didn’t seem as comfortable with Walsh as he did the man Walsh replaced, Isaiah Thomas. Would Dolan be stubborn enough to bring Thomas back to run the Knicks despite the bad press that would come with it? When it comes to Dolan, anything is possible.


Walsh didn’t bring the Knicks LeBron James, that shouldn’t be his fault. What he did do though was work hard to bring respect and professionalism back to a franchise that desperately needed it. He did this while battling health issues at 70 years old. Walsh says that his health wasn’t the reason he decided to walk away.

 If indeed this is a matter of Dolan not wanting to give Walsh full control over basketball decisions, it sends a very poor message to the team’s fan base about the future of the team. The bright side is that 2 major pieces to a foundation are already in place. Another strong season in 2011-2012 and a pursuit of 1 more high profile free agent (Chris Paul), coud help fans forgive this move.


 This move does begin the speculation for what happens with Mike D’Antoni. The Knicks head coach is headed into the final year of his contract and the pressure is on him to win. The Knicks may now have him on a short leash with Walsh no longer in charge. D’Antoni could also now decide that this maybe too much for him to roll the dice on and start looking into moving on. Currently Toronto and Golden State still have coaching vacancies that could be appealing for him.


Just when we all thought it was safe to attach the label of “playoff team” next to the New York Knicks, they throw the public another public relations curveball.

The NBA Finals > We’ve Got A Series … More Lessons Learned For Miami


~ I try not to blog or post during a playoff series because the ups and downs of a game can be too much at times and unpredictable. The 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks make it very hard to stay with that plan. They did it again. Trailing Miami by 15 points in the 4th quarter with a little over 7 minutes to play, Dallas stormed back and stunned the Heat to win Game 2 of The Finals 95-93.


The series is now tied at 1-1 and now heads to Texas for 3 straight games. It’s possible now that Dallas wont have to come back to Miami to win the NBA title.


Dirk Nowitzki did it again, scoring the last 9 points of the game for Dallas. The game winner was a left handed layup … the same non-shooting left hand that has a torn tendon in it from Game 1.


This series is and will continue to be one that gets analyzed to death. However, it still comes down to execution and which team is mentally tougher. In Game 1, Miami executed better. In Game 2, Dallas was the mentally tougher team.


Throughout this game, LeBron James and Dywane Wade ran up a highlight film full of dunks and big shots. When Wade hit that three to put Miami up by 15 points, it clearly looked like the game was over.


Lately that’s the way it has gone for Miami, play big time defense throughout the night, then pull away in crunch time with the younger and fresher legs of their two closers. After Wade hit the three though, the defense stopped and the offense lost it’s rhythm.


 Dallas has shown throughout the post season that they will not just pack it up and go home. They had more poise and stepped up with the big plays when it mattered most. They played like an experienced playoff team. A mentally tough one.


 It would be easy to say that Miami gave this game away. It’s a valid conclusion to draw. It’s a lesson learned for a team that is still learning to play together in situations they have never been in before as a team.


The point was made on NBATV by Charles Barkley that Miami should’ve handled this better because they’ve been on this championship level before. That was a completely different Miami team though. This team is being tested in every way possible this year and even though it hurts, they needed a loss like this one. Adversity always comes up when the road seems like it’s getting easier. It’s how Miami reacts in Game 3 that may determine how the rest of the series goes.


If you’re a Dallas fan, you should be happy that your team showed you what they didn’t showed you in Game 1. The role players stepped up. Shawn Marion and Jason Terry were steady enough throughout long enough to help Dirk Nowitzki unlike in Game 1. They also took Miami’s best punches throughout three quarters and were able to get off the ropes and recover.


If you’re a Miami fan, hope they continue to play great team defense. It opens up the way for those fast breaks when Miami is at their best on offense. They also need Chris Bosh to step up and be that weapon he was in the conference finals. Three games in Dallas coming up, Bosh is from Dallas. It would be pretty interesting to see if he’s able to take full advantage of the obvious moment that wil be presented for him.


 Dirk’s game winning layup looked almost too easy. We can second guess that Udonis Haslem should have been guarding him, however  Bosh should’ve played him better than he did. Miami also had a foul to give and basically forgot about it. Give Dirk credit for being aggresive enough to take it to the basket and not only did he score, he scored with the left hand … the injured left hand that some wondered might be a problem.


I still think this series is going seven games, the first two games showed why for different reasons. The stats are the stats, and the superstars are on the court. These first two games showed that it still comes down to mental toughness and execution.

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