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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Breaking: Donnie Walsh Will Not Continue as Team President

As tweeted by Alan Hahn a few minutes ago, Walsh is no longer the Knicks team president, although he will remain in a ‘consulting role.’ Glen Grunwald, Hahn reports, will serve as interim GM. So: what does this mean for the Knicks? How did Donnie do as GM? And who will Dolan select next?


EDITED 11:35
Official Statement From MSG:

“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.”

59 comments on “Breaking: Donnie Walsh Will Not Continue as Team President

  1. DRed

    If it’s Zeke again I’m starting a webstie called Neterblogger and switching my loyalty.

  2. Jafa

    With one of the NBA’s worst owners, a lame duck coach and one of the league’s most frustrated and soon to be Brooklyn Nets fanbases, Knicks fans are extremely nervous about the future of the Knicks franchise.

  3. jon abbey

    “How did Donnie do as GM?”

    he botched the 2009 draft as badly as one could, at a time when NY had zero room for error if they wanted to land LeBron. he was brought in to land LeBron and failed at that, so I give him a C at best, admittedly in an extremely difficult situation.

    also, I think he was way too public about his love for Russell Westbrook in the days leading up to the 2008 draft, and gave a very smug interview at the start of that draft in which he seemed positive he’d get Westbrook. he didn’t.

  4. Jim Cavan

    I assume he’ll be working through the end of June, and thus the draft. Let’s just hope the talks with Dolan went amicably enough that we don’t have to worry about Stern walking to the podium and announcing: “With the seventeenth pick in the NBA Draft, the Knicks select Isiah Thomas, point guard from the University of Washington.”

  5. Jafa

    Wow jon abbey,

    I wonder what one has to do to impress you? First thing that comes to your mind is Donnie botched draft and the failed LBJ chase? How about his draft steals like Fields, a 2nd round pick, finishing in the top 5 in ROY voting, TD being a solid combo guard, Gallo being an efficient player and the foresight to want to draft Jimmer last year before everybody else heard of him?

    Not to mention the star players he signed or traded for, getting something for nothing in the David Lee situation, clearing cap space, dealing with such a difficult and low BBall IQ owner, etc.

    To bad he couldn’t be Pat Riley to truly be impressive.

  6. jon abbey

    I’m not a big believer in Fields, who was worthless for the second half of the season. Douglas is fine, but he needed a PG in that draft and did not get one. now we still need a PG, same as we have for what seems like decades. tough job, tough grading scale, but I will never forgive him for botching the 2009 draft.

    and yeah, I’d like Pritchard too. I’m not holding my breath.

  7. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’m with Jon Abbey on this one. Landry Fields is a pick that even I would have made, and there’s no way in hell that I should be considered a candidate for one of the top jobs in basketball. Being a good GM means: 1) understanding stats, 2) understanding risk, and 3) understanding the salary cap. Just because Walsh was able to trade the farm for a second-tier player and sign another to a huge deal doesn’t mean he had a good tenure as present. 2009 was absolutely botched, and that white kid from Syracuse has no business in an NBA uniform.

  8. Frank O.

    I am so sick and tired of the tumult with this team…
    You know, jon, usually I agree with you, and in the specific things you noted, I have to agree.
    But you ignore the big picture, IMHO. The Knicks are a vastly improved team after being in a horrible cap situation that few on this board, if any, could see their way out of for many years.
    They posted a winning record and made their first, albeit, short appearance in the playoffs, right on the schedule Walsh set.
    They have a pretty strong core of players, and they can create cap space for the right player(s).
    Certainly, Walsh was not perfect, but, once again, the team is left in the hands of a lame-brained owner who more often than not has led this team to the cellar.
    This move also calls into question D’Antoni’s future, and should he depart, we will face a team with serious continuity problems yet again.
    It would be nice if this team’s management didn’t have the disposition of a teething toddler up beyond bedtime.
    I grow tired of it.

  9. morenonsense

    I’m aghast, although not shocked, at this move. Just horrible. I’m willing to not go completely overboard, perhaps there are issues that we don’t know yet (although I doubt it), and “maybe” Dolan will hire a competent GM. But I’m of the opinion that Dolan forced the ‘Melo trade, which I still don’t love, and now he’s forced Walsh out, who has been the only person to operate correctly in the front office since Riley left. And seriously, as a lifelong Knicks fan, I swear that if Isiah comes around I’m out. I live in Brooklyn anyway, it’ll be time for a new page in my sports life. Helllllllllooooooo Nets.

  10. jon abbey

    Frank O.:
    I am so sick and tired of the tumult with this team…
    You know, jon, usually I agree with you, and in the specific things you noted, I have to agree.
    But you ignore the big picture, IMHO. The Knicks are a vastly improved team after being in a horrible cap situation that few on this board, if any, could see their way out of for many years.
    They posted a winning record and made their first, albeit, short appearance in the playoffs, right on the schedule Walsh set.
    They have a pretty strong core of players, and they can create cap space for the right player(s).
    Certainly, Walsh was not perfect, but, once again, the team is left in the hands of a lame-brained owner who more often than not has led this team to the cellar.
    This move also calls into question D’Antoni’s future, and should he depart, we will face a team with serious continuity problems yet again.
    It would be nice if this team’s management didn’t have the disposition of a teething toddler up beyond bedtime.
    I grow tired of it.

    I’m not ignoring the big picture, I’ve been saying for years that this team will never win a title until Dolan is gone. I think Walsh did an adequate job, but he stepped into a job that needed better than that.

  11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I don’t know, fellas. I kind of miss seeing Jerome James in a warm-up suit at the end of the bench.

  12. Frank O.

    jon abbey:
    I’m not a big believer in Fields, who was worthless for the second half of the season. Douglas is fine, but he needed a PG in that draft and did not get one. now we still need a PG, same as we have for what seems like decades. tough job, tough grading scale, but I will never forgive him for botching the 2009 draft.

    and yeah, I’d like Pritchard too. I’m not holding my breath.

    Harsh again. Fields had a tough last third. You seem to have expanded it to half the season.
    He hit the rookie wall. He played in every game, a lot of minutes, and it took a toll on him. If his past performance is any measure, the kid improves his play every year. We can see in his college career, since he played a full four years, that he improved each year.
    His fitness will improve and he will play better this year. He works hard and is smart. But the NBA is unforgiving. If your energy drops off even a little, people eat you alive. This is especially true if you are not a physical freak.
    I know you have never gotten over the 2009 draft. That’s fine. But Fields was a very solid pick up in ’10 and he will continue to be solid.
    Also, as you may have noticed, there are a lot of teams that have guard troubles. But I would venture to say if you asked every coach and GM in the NBA right now, they would not say they Knicks have guard trouble with Chauncey Billups at the helm, and later with his contract used as a expiring you might attract a very strong point guard, if not a great guard who happens to want to play in NYC with Amare and Carmelo.
    And while this board doesn’t love Carmelo – indeed, I have had reservations about him – most every player in the NBA sees him as a special talent, which means he’s a kind of player people want to play with.
    But now, with Walsh gone, and D’Antoni potentially gone, much of what has been built to date may be for naught.

  13. tastycakes

    “the foresight to want to draft Jimmer last year before everybody else heard of him”

    Haha, yes, the foresight to want to draft a guy who hasn’t played a minute in the NBA! DONNIE THE GREAT PROGNOSTICATOR

    I totally agree with the C rating. It just feels like an A after the Layden and Isiah F-minus-minus-minus performances. But we now have an average team that might end up above-average-to-good in a couple of years, but it’s hard to see a championship on the horizon.

    Look, he did what he could to get LBJ and failed, and the consolation prize of Amar’e and Melo MIGHT be the foundation of something big… but much like Isiah before him, he gave up a LOT of cheap, young talent and draft picks, so if those two guys don’t form the core of something amazing, it’s gonna be a rough 5+ years of mediocrity with little hope of finding cost-effective help in the draft or in free agency.

    The Knicks need some progressive minded talent in the front office. Read some article this year that suggested the Knicks are one of the few dinosaur teams that didn’t really take statistical analysis seriously. Going to be hard to compete with modern franchises if the best you can do is a jock who makes decisions with his gut.

    But hey, we have an idiot running the team, so it’s no surprise that he, in turn, favors idiots.

  14. Jim Cavan

    So according to Hahn the Draft is basically Warkentien’s show. Listening to Hahn, I think he’s got it pretty right on: Donnie wanted more autonomy, Dolan wouldn’t give it to him, so Donnie walked. He’s 70 years old with a family in Indiana — he doesn’t need this shit. Unfortunately, we need him. Or someone approximating him.

  15. Frank O.

    jon abbey: I’m not ignoring the big picture, I’ve been saying for years that this team will never win a title until Dolan is gone. I think Walsh did an adequate job, but he stepped into a job that needed better than that.

    Fair enough. I’m probably just being pissy because of the Walsh thing.

  16. tastycakes

    “We have an idiot running the team” – I was trying to refer to Jimmy Dolan and Walsh was definitely not an idiot… ack, Knickerblogger, I’m only here because I’m so pumped up after last night’s Dallas win!

  17. jon abbey

    yeah, it’s harsh. I realized yesterday that my first Knicks memory is them getting Spencer Haywood when I was 9 years old. 35+ years later, and I have yet to see a title team. so, yeah, I’m not that tolerant of the organization.

  18. MKinLA

    Difficult to under-estimate Dolan’s stupidity.

    It was obvious to everyone but him 3-4 years ago that the Knicks needed to suck it up, hit re-start on the cap, and then re-build. Stern had to more-or-less order him to hire Donnie to get it done.

    Donnie did the hard work (not perfectly, but he did it) and then, as soon as there was a hint of light at the end of the tunnel, Dolan got impatient and over-reached for Melo, screwing the team up again.

    I want to know which talented NBA exec is going to be willing to work with Dolan after this.

  19. Garson

    If this ultimatly leads to Jeff Van Gundy on our sidelines, i wouldnt lose any sleep.

    If this leads to Isaih Thomas allowed in our building again, then we have some problems. I can see it now, “Isaih Promises to bring Paul to NYC”

  20. Frank O.

    jon abbey:
    yeah, it’s harsh. I realized yesterday that my first Knicks memory is them getting Spencer Haywood when I was 9 years old. 35+ years later, and I have yet to see a title team. so, yeah, I’m not that tolerant of the organization.

    I can understand that.
    I was seven when the Knicks last won a championship. The other day I watched game seven on youtube where Clyde just went off. I’m pretty sure I watched it with my dad the first time, but I was rally too young to recall it. People forget how hard the rims were back then…:)

  21. Nick C.

    Jim Cavan: So according to Hahn the Draft is basically Warkentien’s show. Listening to Hahn, I think he’s got it pretty right on: Donnie wanted more autonomy, Dolan wouldn’t give it to him, so Donnie walked. He’s 70 years old with a family in Indiana — he doesn’t need this shit. Unfortunately, we need him. Or someone approximating him.

    If that’s the case then the Melo deals comes back to bite them in the ass all over again. As for Walsh if he bailed for that reason my respect for him has gone up a thousandfold. Unfortunately the team is at the brink. With some wise additions this could easily be a team that is always in the mix to go to the finals, but some unwise decisions and its first round at best.

  22. Dan Panorama

    I’m just despondent. Donnie Walsh is easily one of my heroes of the last few years in any field — exactly what we needed not only for his decisionmaking but for his dignity and gravitas as well. James Dolan is a cancer on this team and there is no cure. It’s going to take another Bernie Madoff to get rid of his stake in this team. So depressed right now….

  23. Frank O.

    What Donnie said during negotiations probably came across something like this:
    “Listen, you’re so friggin’ stupid, I need more control of operations. Last year, this Isiah shit really was beyond ignorant. Did you forget he got the team nailed in an outrageous sex harassment case a few years ago? If I had more control, that simply wouldn’t have happened.
    The pressure you put on us to give away most of our starters for Carmelo, who the starters had just pounded at MSG a few weeks before, was beyond idiocy. Can’t have that anymore.
    And let’s be honest, you haven’t been successful at anything, having inherited everything you have from daddy. So rather than dragging all of New York through your “I’m trying to prove myself to daddy” snit, why don’t you play with your band, let me run things, and you can pop the champagne in the end?
    —-
    It may not have been what Walsh said, but it probably was what Dolan heard…
    Idiot

  24. DS

    You know, I’ve seen the skeleton of the Barclays Center and it’s not even that massive; it’s comparable in size to the mall across the street. The Nets will be right down the street from me, they have a young exciting point, competent management. Who knows, when D’Antoni gets fired maybe he’ll join Avery Johnson’s staff to run the 7SoL through Deron.

    Consider me converted.

    Ciao, bitches!

  25. Count Zero

    Sad to say but I saw this coming as soon as the season ended and he didn’t get an immediate extension. I don’t think Donnie was able to live with the idea that all that hard work on the cap was blown out of the water when he got over-ridden on the ‘Melo deal. He wasn’t going to come back unless he was sure it wouldn’t be done to him again.

    You know — I have never switched my allegiance on a sports franchise in my life. I’m still an Islanders fan for crying out loud! But I swear that if Isiah returns in any front office or bench capacity, I am switching to the Nets. I just can’t watch Dolan and Zeke drive this franchise into the ground again.

  26. AlbanyKnicks

    Walsh often traded something for nothing, giving away Zach Randolph and Jamaal Crawford, and others. The big trade with Houston was a disaster. Walsh traded away too many draft choices. I am watching the defensive minded teams succeed in the playoffs, and I thing seven seconds or less cannot win a championship. Walsh brought in D’Antoni. I give Walsh an F. In the weak East the Knicks can make the playoffs and may be exciting but can never win with me first players such as Melo.

  27. Nick C.

    How do you criticize a guy for trading Jamal and Zach and turn around and critcize him for trading for Melo?

  28. Jafa

    AlbanyKnicks:
    Walsh often traded something for nothing, giving away Zach Randolph and Jamaal Crawford, and others. The big trade with Houston was a disaster. Walsh traded away too many draft choices. I am watching the defensive minded teams succeed in the playoffs, and I thing seven seconds or less cannot win a championship. Walsh brought in D’Antoni. I give Walsh an F. In the weak East the Knicks can make the playoffs and may be exciting but can never win with me first players such as Melo.

    Isiah Thomas often traded something for nothing, giving away LaMarcus Aldridge, Joakim Noah, Trevor Ariza and others. The big trade with Chicago was a disaster. Isiah Thomas traded away too many draft choices. Isiah Thomas brought in Larry Brown and Lenny Wilkins. I give Isiah Thomas an F.

  29. steveoh

    There are moments when being a Knicks fan is exhilarating.

    But most of my days make me want to jump off a bridge onto a bed of rocks spiked with rusty swords, surrounded by piranhas.

  30. latke

    I don’t think Walsh was great, but I think he was better than having Dolan interfere. Like 2 billion times better.

    And the only reasonable explanation for this firing is that Dolan is frustrated about his musical career not going exactly as he’d hoped, so he needs something else to try to fuck up. The guy is the worst owner ever. Yeah, he spends money, but I think if Stern put Dolan in charge of a team, and said, “Hey buddy, I know you’re a little on the slow side, so what we’re going to do here is give you twice the cap space of all the other teams, just to level things out,” we’d still end up with a 30 win team. He’d probably go back and sign Marbury and Francis, then maybe add Iverson just for good measure.

  31. Kikuchiyo

    Don’t miss the heart of the story here: Dolan isn’t letting ANYONE have authority over personnel and Walsh has therefore bolted. So even if you don’t like Donnie (and I do), your dream replacement will still watch the entire team get traded for whomever Dolan fancies.

  32. Frank

    I’m torn about this situation. On the one hand, you sort of felt like with Donnie at the helm, the train couldn’t go too far off the tracks no matter what Dolan wanted. On the other hand, one could easily say, like others have said above, that Donnie didn’t do that great a job.

    1) Probably choosing the wrong coach. I really enjoyed watching D’Antoni’s Suns, but I sort of feel like he’s been the wrong choice for NYC, which has always been a defense-first, tough-guy sort of city. Even worse, I think D’Antoni’s presence and lack of defensive reputation pretty much ensured that Lebron wasn’t coming. Players around the league have CONTEMPT for D’Antoni’s defense – you can hear it when they talk about the Knicks. Not sure whether MDA survives this change, but if he does, he needs to really ratchet up the defensive commitment.

    2) 2008 draft – Gallo was a good pick, certainly better than Joe Alexander, but look at the players he DIDN’T take — Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez (probably more valuable than Gallo despite his horrid rebounding), Roy Hibbert, Javale McGee, DJ Augustin.

    3) 2009 draft – beaten to death ad nauseum

    4) 2010 draft – no 1st round picks, but if we liked Jimmer that much we could have bought one, with minimal cap difference. Dallas ended up buying Memphis’s 25th pick just for cash – that salary was only 925K. Fields was a nice pick considering out of all the 2nd rounders, only Harangody and Fields got any significant court time.

    5) Getting fleeced on 2 major trades. We can blame the Melo trade partially on Dolan but the Jefferies trade was all Donnie. Forgiveable because of the LBJ thing, but still – FLEECED.

    So going forward, I don’t know what to think. Warkentien, Pritchard would be fine with me. If MDA is gone I’d love to see Rick Adelman here. JVG would be a dream come true but I can’t imagine he’d sign up for such a chaotic situation.

  33. Kikuchiyo

    Let me add that being a Knicks fan in this era has taught me to watch other teams too. And that game in Miami last night was FANTASTIC!!!

  34. adrenaline98

    My feeling regarding this is simple…It’s not that I think Donnie Walsh did an amazing job. GMs make moves and they could be VERY right, right, poor, VERY poor, and only time will tell.

    The reason I wanted Walsh back is because I know he will not do VERY poor. Some moves were VERY right (Amare). Others were poor (Jordan Hill). Landry Fields was right.

    Isiah Thomas ranges from Poor to VERY Poor. This is why I wanted Walsh to stay. I have a comfort level with him that he won’t screw something up SO BAD that we are in multiple seasons of 20 win seasons with a 100 million salary situation .You have to screw up pretty royally to pull off what Thomas did, and Walsh will NEVER do that.

    If it’s not Isiah, then I’d be willing to give them a shot. If it was, well, I’ll just be a Nets fan.

  35. Frank

    RE: Dolan – obviously we’d rather have an owner like Mickey Arison who just signs checks and lets his guys do whatever — but it’s hard to know what kind of power Donnie asked for. Total control over basketball operations/trades is probably not realistic in this day and age. If I were an owner of a team, I would definitely have to have final say on major trades. It’s possible Donnie said – “look, I’m 70+ and don’t need this job. The only way I stay is if you rubberstamp anything I suggest AND I get to choose my successor.”

    And if I were Dolan, I’d probably say no.

  36. adrenaline98

    P.S., I think PJ would be the best choice to coach this team, given its parts. Great star management.

  37. New Guy

    This may not be the worst thing in the world. I liked Donnie but didn’t he want to bring in Chris Mullin to succeed him? Donnie was hit and miss. The problem is we’re all afraid the next guy will be miss and miss.

  38. Frank

    Interesting stuff coming out of the conference call – not sure whether Donnie is just being gracious re: the getting older and not wanting to commit reasons, or whether it’s true. And not to defend Dolan, but if I’m Dolan, I don’t want Donnie coming back just for 1 season, then leaving the team is chaos next summer just when the CP3/D-Will/DH12 FA class goes on the market.

    JUST PLEASE – hire someone reasonable. Warkentien – fine. Pritchard – awesome, although I highly doubt he’d want to deal with another owner like Paul Allen or James Dolan. I’d even take Allan Houston if for no other reason he loves this franchise and seems intelligent. Just NO ISIAH. And whoever comes has to be able to totally clean house, including dumping the coach, scouts, etc. if he feels necessary. We don’t need any Isiah lackeys hanging around this joint anymore.

  39. Jim Cavan

    Just so y’all know, Thomas B. is streaming the talking points from the DW press conference on a new thread.

  40. New Guy

    You guys are talking about Isiah like children scared of the Boogey Man. There’s no way he’s coming back.

  41. Frank O.

    And the difference between his retirement and Ewing’s is notable.
    Pat was a bitter dude, and the game was a mental grind for him.
    Shaq always had more fun…and way more size. ;)

  42. adrenaline98

    Here’s what I want:
    Amare
    Carmelo
    CP3
    Phil Jackson

    Fields + Defensive big.

    Someone make this happen.

  43. Frank O.

    adrenaline98:
    Here’s what I want:
    Amare
    Carmelo
    CP3
    Phil Jackson

    Fields + Defensive big.

    Someone make this happen.

    I’ll make some calls…:)

  44. Kevin McElroy

    If there’s even a sniff of Isiah having any contact with Dolan, formal or otherwise, the odds of Phil Jackson even considering a job here are less than zero.

  45. Ted Nelson

    massive: h Thomas, point guard from the University of Washington.”

      

    Agreed. Seems like the best candidate based on the limited information I have.

  46. Ted Nelson

    Ted Nelson: Agreed. Seems like the best candidate based on the limited information I have.

    Quoted the wrong thing… meant:

    massive:
    I’m just hoping he hires Kevin Pritchard.

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