After letting Donnie Walsh go — because all he did is return the team to the playoffs while slashing the payroll in half, why would you want to keep him around? — the question became who was on dock? What would owner James Dolan do next to screw up the stability of the franchise?
Turns out, looks like nothing. The inhouse guys that stepped in when Walsh was pushed out may be keeping their jobs for a while. So tweets Alan Hahn of Newsday.
Meanwhile, as in the Fix, hearing #Knicksmore content to keep Grunwald/Warkentien hierarchy in place and groom Allan Houston. Thoughts?
Well, those two haven’t made any bad decisions since July 1.
Seriously, this is the smart and stable move. Hahn is talking about Glen Grunwald and Mark Warkentien, who are fully capable of doing the job and keeping the rebuilding going.
Grunwald worked for Isiah Thomas in Toronto and came to the Knicks, but don’t hold that against him. He also served at the right hand of Walsh for years. Grunwald is respected around the league by peers. Warkentien came over from Denver (before the Carmelo Anthony trade, go ahead and think that’s a coincidence if you want) and is another guy who has had success building a team. They both report to team president Scott O’Neil.
Those are guys who intimately understood what Walsh was trying build, and they are guys with experience and know how to run a team. This is a good bit of stability.
Well, until Dolan wants to play with his toy again and screws it up.
The Knicks went from being a money-burning loser to a cost-effective playoff team with two superstars in just a few years under Donnie Walsh. How cost effective? They brought in a second superstar last season in Carmelo Anthony after paying through the nose for Amar’e Stoudemire, and they still dodged the luxury tax. From the New York Post:
Give former Knicks president Donnie Walsh a pat on the back. The NBA announced yesterday its audit for the 2010-11 season is complete and, according to a person familiar with the situation, the Knicks did not pay a luxury tax for the first time since the now-expired collective bargaining agreement was reached in 1999.According to a person debriefed on the audit, the Knicks 2010-11 payroll finished over the salary cap following the Carmelo Anthony bonanza, but finished at $67 million — $3 million less than the luxury-tax threshold.
via Knicks avoid luxury tax – NYPOST.com.
Naturally Donnie Walsh stepped down after the season because James Dolan wanted more of a commitment from him and they’re still searching for a replacement, but really, things are great!
It’s still pretty notable what has been done to the Knicks. The Knicks used to overpay for a terrible team and now they underpay for a playoff contender, even if they’re not going anywhere without plunking down serious money for a supporting cash. Then again, there’s no telling if the new salary cap will allow them to spend. That’s got to be a concern in these CBA talks for owners like Dolan or the Heat’s Arison. They need to maintain the ability to spend around their superstar players. The Knicks were under the luxury tap this year, which is great for them. But if they want to take a step forward, they need upgrades, which won’t be possible without any room under the new cap.
Unless they rollback salaries. And then things get more and more complicated.
How unexpected was the exit of Donnie Walsh from the power structure of the Knicks?
It caught Carmelo Anthony off guard, he told Newsday.
The Knicks forward said Monday that he was getting treatment at the Knicks ‘ practice facility Friday when he heard that Walsh will be ending his tenure as team president.
“It was awkward,” Anthony said when asked how he felt. “I was up in Westchester and someone pulled me aside and told me. It caught a lot of people by surprise, because no one knew what was going on.”
It also reportedly caught Walsh himself off guard. It caught everybody but owner James Dolan off guard. (And maybe Isiah Thomas.)
Dolan had no obligation to tell Anthony or Amar’e Stoudemire his plans in advance, nor did he need to consult them. But, that’s what good organizations do — they at least give their star players a head’s up, so they don’t learn about it from some random guy at the practice facility, or on ESPN (or PBT!). You show that kind of respect to your stars. But respect has not been a buzzword with the Knicks in a long time.
According to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, former Knicks general manager Donnie Walsh will still be “calling the shots” for the Knicks in the 2011 NBA draft.
While it’s a bit of an awkward situation, the Knicks seem to trust Walsh, whose replacement may come from within the organization, in this situation.
According to Ford, the Knicks, who hold the #17 pick in the 2011 draft, are focused on five players: Klay Thompson, Jimmer Fredette, Josh Selby, Marshon Brooks, and Kenneth Faried.
Isiah Thomas will not be the next president and general manager of the New York Knicks. That is very different than saying he will not have influence, but he will not have the job and the title and the desk. Just ask him.
Who will? Probably a few of the guys already in the building in a power sharing arraignment.
That’s becoming the conventional wisdom around the Knicks, as articulated in the Daily News.
The team of Scott O’Neil, Glen Grunwald and Mark Warkentien, all of whom are already employed by the Knicks, are the front-runners to run the basketball operation, the Daily News has learned.
Grunwald is an Isiah Thomas disciple and former general manager of the Toronto Raptors. He currently serves as the Knicks’ senior VP of basketball operations and was named interim GM… Grunwald is highly regarded by his peers around the NBA and within the Knicks organization, having served under both Thomas and Walsh. According to a source, his responsibilities would be to handle the day-to-day functions on the basketball side along with Warkentien, who was hired Jan. 30 as a consultant.
Grunwald and Warkentien would report directly to O’Neil, the president of Madison Square Garden, who began taking on a greater role with the Knicks’ personnel moves dating back to last summer’s free-agent recruitment of LeBron James and including February’s celebrated trade for Carmelo Anthony.
They would replace Donnie Walsh, who was not picked up for a new deal when all he did was return the team to the playoffs after slashing the payroll in half.
Maybe some places this power sharing can work. But in Madison Square Garden under James Dolan? Yes, I have my doubts, too. But this may be the direction things are headed for the Knicks.