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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