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.

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Blog Post > The New York Knicks: A Plan Finally Worth Buying Into

 ~  Carmelo Anthony is headed to the New York Knicks. Where is Phil Collins when you need him? This would be a great time to hear his 80’s hit song “In The Air Tonight”. That song is a identified more closely with the city of Miami though, so maybe the Knicks can borrow “New York, New York” from the Yankees and Frank Sinatra. The last two years at the Garden has been a mixture of excitement and cautious optimism if you’re a long suffering Knicks fan. Maybe that excitement has not translated into enough wins on the court, however recent moves have shown proof that not only was a change in approach needed. Amar’e Stoudemire is here now. Carmelo Anthony is on his way. The Knicks are not miles over the salary cap because of long term contracts given to underacheiving players anymore. A plan has been put in motion. The buzz is not only back at Madison Sqaure Garden this season, it’s looking like it will be there for seasons to come.

Being a fan of a sports team is an emotional investment. Everyone wont always believe in your stock and sometimes you find yourself questioning your own belief in your stock. The stock will be up one week, down the next week. The fans rely on moves made by the managers of the stock to make the moves needed to produce a winning return and in the case of the Knicks, that would mean a playoff team that is ready to compete for a championship. If you listen closely, that’s the sound of  laughter beginning to fill up inside at the thought of the words Knicks and championship being used in a sentence. Can you imagine being entrusted with the responsibility of trying to sell fans on the New York Knicks? The Knicks … a team worth investing your emotional support. Bernie Madoff may have even passed on trying to sell that dream. This has been the role of general manager Donnie Walsh the last two years now. Walsh took over the team that was put together by Isaiah Thomas and had to quickly take it apart in order to afford making a run at a Lebron James, Stoudemire, or a Dywayne Wade. Walsh put together a team that was suited for Mike D’Antoni, the man he decided would coach the Knicks back into competition. Lebron didn’t come through the door and Wade either. Stoudemire did however and for the first time in over a decade the Knicks were interesting again and actually winning.

What makes this plan so appealing to potential buyers is the phases. In the post Patrick Ewing era, the Knicks have had a who’s who of high profile names come into town who were either bringing baggage with them or were one or two years past the basketball player they once were. Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Penny Hardaway, Tracy McGrady, Eddy Curry, Jerome James all came through the doors at the Garden and it wasn’t very long before we couldn’t wait to see them walk back out. As much as Isaiah Thomas tried to put together a winning team, his plan was to spend owner James Dolan’s money for as long as he could until there was no more left to spend. Get rid of one big contract, find a way to add another big contract that was even harder to move. No chemistry on the team … no big deal … just as long as the checkbook is open. It never worked. Walsh has Stoudemire now and Carmelo coming in. Two superstars now on the same team, an emerging star in rookie Landry Fields, a salary cap that can potentially land another big man and eventually afford a run at future potential free agent point guards Chris Paul or Deron Williams.

Is this a team that is built to win right now with the addition of Carmelo Anthony to it? No it’s not.  My message to fellow and potential future Knicks fans would be this:

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Madison Sq. Garden. This team finally has direction in the short and long term. Up’s and down’s will occur and what is expected may not always happen. Free spending has been replaced by Strategic planning. The Garden is going to be loud and rockin’ not just the rest of this season, it’ll be that way the next few seasons. Finally a plan worth the emotional investment that it it takes to be a fan of the New York Knicks.

NBA > Carmelo Headed To The Knicks

 

 ~ It’s apparently a done deal and finally the focus can return to basketball on the court. The Denver Nuggets have traded NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks in a blockbuster 3 team deal that finally brings an end to months of rumors, proposed deals, rejected deals, speculation and for Knicks fans … major suspense.

According to Yahoo Sports the trade has the Knicks sending Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks’ 2014 first-round pick, the two second-round picks the Knicks acquired from the Golden State Warriors in the David Lee sign-and-trade and $3 million. The Knicks will also trade Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will send Corey Brewer to New York. The Knicks will receive Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman and Anthony Carter. Anthony is expected to sign a 3 year extension for $65 million and if all the players involved in the deal pass physicals on time, Anthony’s first game could be this Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Sqaure Garden. Read more of this post

Nets Drop Out Of Carmelo Trade Talks

 

~ It’s back to the drawing board for the New Jersey Nets as they have reportedly scratched Carmelo Anthony off of the wish list. In a press conference, 1st year team owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he has decided to withdraw his Nets from the recent trade talks involving the Denver Nuggets superstar.

 “There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive,I am instructing our team to walk away from the deal. Really, I am not happy with the way the deal has gone until now, It has taken too long. It has been played out in public. The uncertainty has taken a toll on the players … and I believe it has cost us several games.” … Mikhail Prokhorov, New Jersey Nets Owner

Okay, so here is the bottom line with this. The Nets basically sat down and reached the conclusion that after all the back & forth, all the players who were mentioned as trade bait (14 names), even with Jay-Z involved in the picture, it still wasn’t enough to overcome one glaring hurdle … Carmelo never confirmed to anyone he would want to play for them in the first place. In order for any of the trade possibilities to become a reality, Anthony would have to agree to signing a 3 year extension on his contract. The only teams that Anthony has reportedly expressed serious interest in are New York & Chicago. Don’t get me wrong here, the Nets did what they were supposed to do in this if you’re looking to build a winning team and winning enviroment. They went aggressively at one of the best players in the league and for awhile were willing to try and sell him on staying with them long term. Sometimes it just does not work out and it was getting more and more clear as the days turned into weeks and soon to be months, that Carmelo Anthony does not appear ready to make that kind of commitment to a team such as the New Jersey Nets.

Prokhorov showed me in that press conference why he’s a successful business man. Not a lot of people in his position as a team owner would have so aggresively went after someone who never really expressed interest in coming to play for them. Those same people in his position also would not have so aggressively withdrew from a potential deal such as the one for Anthony. Prokhorov knew the longer these talks were going to continue, the more of a strain it would have on his franchise. What they don’t get in Carmelo Anthony, they do get in more time to come up with a eqaul or even better solution in the long term. The Nets have a lot of room on the salary cap and five 1st round picks over the next 2 years. As poorly as they are playing right now, those draft picks are going to be high.

Where does this leave Carmelo Anthony now? My guess is either a surprise deal to Chicago or New York by the All Star Break or playing the season out and looking to come to the Knicks as a Free Agent. Only he really knows though and at least he now gets to concentrate a little bit on basketball. New Jersey fans should not feel too bad about this deal falling through though. They now have a owner who clearly is focused on looking to put a winning product on the court without being over aggresive and knows win to walk away from a bad deal. That’s something sports fans in the tri-state area are simply just not used to seeing around here with it’s basketball teams.

New Jersey Continue To Pursue Carmelo & This Time Maybe Billiups

 

~ The Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes continues to be one of the storylines of the 2010-2011 NBA season. When Anthony left  a $65 milion dollar extension deal from his Denver Nuggets on the table last summer, it set the wheels in motion for a season full of trade rumors and possibilities. The latest rumor reportedly involves a three-team deal involving the Nuggets, the New Jersey Nets, and the Detroit Pistons.

According to a report from ESPN the 3 team deal proposed would be:

  • Anthony & Chauncey Billiups of Denver goes to New Jersey along with Rip Hamilton of Detroit.
  • Johan Petro & Troy Murphy (& his expiring contract) of New Jersey would go to Detroit.
  • Detroit would also surrender a 1st round pick in the deal.
  • New Jersey would send Rookie Derrick Favors, Former All Star Devin Harris & at least 2 1st round picks to Denver.

The deal as most like most proposed deals involving Anthony looks alright on paper, however it has a few kinks in it. Billiups has made it known through his agent that he does not want to play in New Jersey and would request a buyout of his contract. The other kink is a big one … the Pistons are up for sale and are currently working under restrictions as far as roster changes.  Then of course is the obvious kink, the deal (or any other deal proposed) does not work unless Anthony agrees to sign the $65 million extension for three years with the team he is traded too, which in this case would be New Jersey. Anthony has reportedly told Denver the only team he will sign an extension with if traded is the New York Knicks. Apparently, the Nets either didn’t get the memo or they know something nobody else knows. They really are the one team that can offer Denver the most in a deal and they do have a Billionaire owner with a lot of money he’s itching to invest. It also helps that Jay-Z is a minority owner and he would obviously play a large role in selling Anthony on the idea of playing in New Jersey and then long term in Brooklyn when the Nets make there move.

Until Anthony comes out and says exactly what he wants to do, the rumors will continue, the Nets will continue looking for a third team to fit into a trade for him, and the team that might benefit the most from this is the Knicks. New York is playing it’s best basketball in years and even though they’d love to have Anthony on it’s team, the panic button does not have to be pressed right now. The two biggest trade pieces the Knicks have are Wilson Chandler & Danilo Gallinari, both are playing well and New York isn’t exactly in a hurry to move them. Best case scenario right now is the Knicks continue to play well and Anthony becomes a free agent this summer. That’s of course unless Anthony knows something that we all don’t know.

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