Tag: Allan Houston

James Dolan

Is Mills hiring a stepping stone to Allan Houston as Knicks GM?


Trying to discern what is going on within the New York Knicks front office and who has the power is a lot like Kremlinology — you try to figure out what is going on based on who is standing next to owner James Dolan during a parade. Or something along those lines.

So why the sudden demotion of Glen Grunwald and the hiring of Steve Mills as GM — the guy who presided over the Knicks Isiah Thomas era, something no Knicks fan wants to relive? The move left a lot of people around the league shaking their heads as Grunwald had built a roster that made the second round of the playoffs, the first time the Knicks won a playoff series since 2001. Maybe Grunwald fought for his own ideas and opinions and didn’t just roll over for Dolan. Maybe Mills has some grand plan to lure free agents this summer that Dolan loved. This is the Dolan show, so it always comes back to him.

Or maybe Mills is just the placeholder until they can give the job to former Knicks player Allan Houston. That’s what Jared Zwerling was reporting over at Bleacher Report.

But Grunwald’s new title, “advisor,” also begs this question: What if his new role has something to do with helping groom assistant GM Allan Houston to eventually become New York’s GM? Mills, too, could have been hired to tutor Houston.

Former Knicks player Chris Copeland, now with the Indiana Pacers, sensed there could be a bigger opportunity in store for Houston.

“I think he’s the next in line,” Copeland said. “I’m sad for Glen—I have nothing but the utmost respect for Glen; I like Glen and I think he’s a great guy—but I’m extremely excited for Allan if he does get that opportunity. I think he’ll do a great job there.”

I don’t think Grunwald was stripped of his power so he could tutor Houston. Grunwald’s new title of “advisor” is essentially the banishment to Sibera of the Knicks organization.

However, it makes sense that Mills is the placeholder and tutor for Houston, who has long been seen as in line for that job.

That said, even the job of the GM is really subject to the whims of Dolan, he is the final word and the GM has to execute it. How well you can convince Dolan that your idea is his and is a good one may be the ultimate skill needed for that gig.

Will the Knicks pick up Donnie Walsh’s contract? And how is this even a question?

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Pat Riley will probably win it. I can see that. But Donnie Walsh of the Knicks deserves to be NBA Executive of the Year.

In three seasons Walsh has taken a team drowning in big contracts for bad players and has turned them into something respectable. The Knicks are not contenders, but they are pretty good and very entertaining. No team has come farther in the last few years to get where they are than New York.

And yet, there are worries within Madison Square Garden that Walsh’s job may not be safe. His contract is up at the end of this season and owner James Dolan has until April 1 to pick up his contract for next season.

Nobody knows if Dolan will do that, writes Howard Beck at the New York Times. Which has plenty of people nervous because if not Walsh… he wouldn’t really bring back Isiah Thomas, would he? Is Dolan wearing Bad Idea Jeans? Bringing back Thomas the New Coke of basketball decisions. That can’t really happen, can it?

The problem is Dolan is so unpredictable and so secretive nobody can rule it out.

In that light, the move by Walsh this week to hire Mark Warkentien — the former Nuggets GM — makes even more sense (it’s not just the Carmelo Anthony connections). With Warkentien and current second-in-command Allan Houston in house, if Walsh is pushed out the door there would be two reasonable replacement options already in the Knicks front office. Meaning one would not have to look for Florida college coaches to be your GM.

Know that Walsh wants to stick around.

“I never have; I don’t think about that,” Walsh said, but he confirmed that he wanted to continue. “If I’m the right guy, probably. But I’m not in charge of that, so I don’t worry about it. I feel good at this point, about how this has gone for the Knicks.”

To realize how good a job Walsh has done, you have to look back at the 23-win Knicks of 2008, the last season of Thomas’ reign. That team had Stephon Marbury playing in 30 games and shooting 41 percent for his $19 million. They had Zach Randolph at $13.3 million, Eddie Curry at $8.9 million (at the start of a contract the Knicks still can’t unload) and Quentin Richardson was making $8.1 million. The Knicks had a payroll of more than $95 million, and with the luxury tax they paid out much more to miss the playoffs entirely. And that’s just the on-the-court issues, the team found ways to embarrass the franchise off the court, too.

Walsh came in and changed everything. Already have 25 wins and seem destined for a playoff spot. He brought in a new face for the franchise in Amar’e Stoudemire. There is an energy and excitement in the Garden and around the Knicks that has been missing for a decade.

If the Knicks don’t pick up Walsh’s contract, it’s a sign that ultimately nothing has changed in New York. And that the city’s hoops fans are destined for another decade of disappointment.

Former personal coach sues Allan Houston, Knicks

New York Knicks v New Jersey Nets

Apparently there is no statute of limitations on people who feel wronged by Allan Houston.

Art Rondeau  — a personal coach who worked with Houston in 1999 and 2000 — Monday sued Houston and the Knicks, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit claims Rondeau worked with Houston to reverse shooting slumps, however the guard never kept up his promises to praise Rondeau’s work publicly. Instead, the suit says Houston disparaged Rondeau to Knicks officials and reporters.

So 11 years after the fact he is suing Houston — now a Knicks executive — for $2.5 million. As you can imagine, the Knicks are saying the suit has no merit.

Houston’s shooting percentage did jump from the 98-99 season to the 99-2000 season however you choose to break down the numbers. Houston’s traditional field goal percentage jumped from 41.8 to 48.3, from three he improved from 40.7 percent to 43.6, and his eFG% (which combines the two) jumped from 45.9 to 52.5, his true shooting percentage jumped from 51.5 to 56.9.

However, there are a lot of factors that tie into how a players performs. How much of the jump was due to health or coaching or other factors is hard to prove. Especially a decade later.

But who doesn’t love a good Knicks lawsuit?

Report: Allan Houston may be named new Knicks GM. A win for irony.


Thumbnail image for Knicks_logo.gifAllan Houston, the former shooting guard famed for having one of the worst contracts in the history of the New York Knicks, may soon be the guy handing out the contracts for his former team.

According to Ric Bucher of ESPN, Houston is a front-runner to fill the vacant general manager position for the Knicks.

(Knicks president Donnie) Walsh would neither confirm nor deny Houston’s status. “He is working with me to learn the position of GM, whether with the Knicks or elsewhere,” Walsh said. “I feel Allan has the tools to be a great GM.”

The easy jokes are there (I used one in the headline) but this may not be that bad. Seriously. So long as Walsh is there he will be the driving force on all player moves, he will shape the personnel, and he’s proven good at it. Walsh will have the final say, Houston would do a lot of the dirty work, the dull parts of the negotiations.

Houston may be able to do that role, maybe well. I don’t know. But it’s not like they are giving the key to the franchise to a former point guard from Detroit again, there are checks and balances now. So if everyone is comfortable with him, why not?