Tag: Glen Grunwald

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.

Report: Isiah Thomas could have job with Knicks but is hesitant to take it. For now.

Isaih Thomas Introduced as New Knicks GM

Right now, the Madison Square Garden organization — which owns the New York Knicks (along with the Rangers and other assets) — is in flux. Young, hard-charging MSG sports president Scott O’Neil is out and we don’t know which direction MSG goes next. Or how that impacts the Knicks.

So Knicks and MSG head honcho James Dolan did what everyone does when they have big decisions to make — he reached out to a trusted advisor and consultant.

Isiah Thomas.

That sends shivers down the spines of Knicks fans. Whether they like it or not, Thomas could have a job with the Knicks but doesn’t want it, a source told Frank Isola of the Daily News.

“Isiah is very close with Jim Dolan but he’s told me that he’s not ready to jump back into the NBA just yet,” said the source, who was with Thomas on Friday at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass. “There’s this perception out there that Isiah is desperate to get back, but that’s false. I think it will eventually happen but just not now.”

Sounds like spin to me. Thomas and Dolan know the backlash that would follow with Thomas being hired in any capacity — Knicks fans loathe the idea — so rather than make it official Thomas stays an unofficial consultant while saying “I don’t want a job.”

Not that it really changes anything. Dolan meeting with Thomas Friday spun a lot of heads because the conventional wisdom is Thomas would do anything to get back in the NBA and with the Knicks. No doubt there is a desire. He tried to consult with them while a college coach, but the NBA was able to kill that (you can’t be a college coach and NBA consultant at the same time, that’s the rules).

So did Dolan offer Thomas a formal job? Does it even really matter? Thomas has always had Dolan’s ear, that has not changed. Never has, never will. Notice that two guys with ties to Thomas — coach Mike Woodson and GM Glen Grunwald — have positions of power with the Knicks.

Give Thomas a job and the only thing that would change formally is where Thomas gets his medical benefits. Thomas’ voice is already heard in the organization. It’s just a matter of perception and backlash if he were hired.

Thomas is working on his masters degree at Cal Berkley and may just want to do that for a while remaining off the Knicks official books. But don’t doubt his ties to the team.

As expected, Knicks retain Woodson with multiyear contract

Mike Woodson

I hope you like iso ‘Melo Knicks fans.

The New York Knicks announced late Friday that coach Mike Woodson has been given a multiyear contract extension to continue as coach of the team. The details of the years and money are not yet known. This move was expected after Woodson turned the team around to go 18-6 to close out the season and make the playoffs, and also got Carmelo Anthony to hustle consistently.

“I’m very humbled and honored to continue coaching the franchise where I started my NBA career,” Woodson said in a released statement. “Our goal is to build off the success we had at the end of last season and to continue our quest of bringing an NBA championship to Madison Square Garden.”

Woodson took over the Knicks midseason after Mike D’Antonio was fired. D’Antoni struggled to get the Knicks to play his way, while Woodson got the Knicks to focus more on defense, while choosing to run the offense through Carmelo Anthony. Which made ‘Melo happy. Frankly, Woodson just did what Carmelo wanted but he got it to work and the Knicks won enough games to make the playoffs.

With the Knicks GM Glen Grunwald being a college teammate of Woodson, and with other ties including to Isiah Thomas, Woodson was expected to get an extension after the run the team had to end the season.

While it had been rumored that owner James Dolan would go after big fish like Phil Jackson and John Calipari, either the Knicks got shot down through back channels or chose not to pursue it.

Doesn’t matter why it happened. Knicks fans, the isolation heavy team you loved will be back next season.

Report: Knicks working on contract extension for Woodson; coach denies

New York Knicks coach Woodson reacts during Game 1 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference playoff against Miami Heat in Miami

UPDATE 2:40 pm: As should have been expected, Mike Woodson denied that these talks are going on. From ESPNNewYork.com:

“That’s not true, not at all,” he said after practice Tuesday.

As we have discussed before, what has been officially discussed and what has been actually discussed via second and third parties to smooth the way for a deal are very different things. That is just how deals get done in the NBA. This one may or may not come together, but the idea of there being talks through back channels should not be shocking.

And, of course, Carmelo Anthony again gave a ringing endorsement to Woodson as coach. Also just as shocking. ‘Melo likes the guy who runs 75 percent of the offense through him? Who saw that coming?

10:19 am: Phil Jackson who?

Apparently one playoff win — plus how the Knicks closed out the season playing defense and going 18-6 to make the playoffs — was enough to convince New York Knick owner James Dolan and the Knicks front office to take the interim tag off Mike Woodson and keep him as coach.

So reports Frank Isola at the New York Daily News.

The Knicks have initiated talks that would keep Woodson as the team’s head coach for the foreseeable future, the Daily News has learned. The talks are only in the preliminary stages but it is clear that Madison Square Garden management is convinced Woodson is the right man for the job and will not pursue either Phil Jackson or Kentucky head coach John Calipari.

It was expected that Dolan wanted the big, splashy name to swoop in as head coach. However, on the court the team has responded well to Woodson — well, at least Carmelo Anthony has and plays hard for him in a way he wouldn’t for Mike D’Antoni — particularly on the defensive end.

Woodson got the team to close out the season playing well. In the playoffs the Knicks have struggled with the Heat, something that would have happened regardless of coach considering this injury-riddled roster — but they did end their 13-game playoff losing streak with a win Sunday.

In fact, Garden chairman James Dolan met with Woodson in the head coach’s office for 45 minutes prior to the Knicks’ emotional Game 4 victory over the Heat… Woodson has the support of several key players, most notably Carmelo Anthony. He also has a strong ally in GM Glen Grunwald, his former college teammate at Indiana. Both Grunwald and Woodson are long-time friends of former Knicks president Isiah Thomas, who serves as a de facto adviser to Dolan.

Ironically, it’s not the ties to Isiah that worries Dolan (although it does Knicks fans) rather it’s his ties to Larry Brown. Dolan and Brown clashed plenty in the year Brown coached the Knicks and Woodson both worked under Brown as an assistant for years and adopted some things from Brown’s style.

Keeping Woodson is a solid move. But now GM Grunwald needs to work in concert with him to reshape the roster. Right now, even when healthy, this Knicks team is not going to beat the Heat or Bulls, regardless of who is coach. They have questions to answer this summer, like should they try to trade Amare Stoudemire or go after free agent point guard Steve Nash (certainly a point guard upgrade but he would take the ball out of Carmelo’s hands and make him work off the ball).

But clearly the team they have has responded to Woodson.

Knicks GM wants to bring back Woodson (who dined with Isiah)

IL: Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls

While rumors are floating around that Knicks owner James Dolan will still make a big money run at Phil Jackson, the best coach for that team may well be the guy doing the job right now.

And general manager Glen Grunwald — fresh off having the interim tag ripped off his title — likes the idea of brining back Mike Woodson, reports the New York Post out of Grunwald’s press conference.

“Woody has done a fantastic job,’’ Grunwald said at a press conference one day after he formally had the “interim’’ tag removed from his title. “I can’t give him enough credit for the job he’s done. Normally coaching changes don’t result in such a dramatic improvement in a team’s performance. I’ve known Woody a long time. We’ve had our separation, but to see how he’s grown as a coach and person after six years in Atlanta, that kind of experience he got there growing the team, and improved them over his tenure, and to see firsthand him working as a head coach here is very impressive.’’

That and other comments make it sound like he’s sold — but it’s not his call, it’s Dolan’s call. And who knows what Dolan is thinking? Would it really stun you if Dolan made a run at Jackson or John Calipari or even Gregg Popovich? Just because.

Keeping Woodson (and having Grunwald on staff) also keeps open ties within the Knicks to Isiah Thomas. The one specter that scares Knicks fans. Again from the New York Post.

Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson and Isiah Thomas met for dinner Tuesday night in Westchester County, hours after Glen Grunwald got promoted as the permanent executive VP/GM, according to sources.

Woodson, Thomas and Grunwald were teammates on the Indiana University basketball club for three seasons. Thomas, fired by Florida International earlier this month, is seeking employment and has lobbied hard with owner James Dolan to try to get back to the Knicks in some capacity.

Lets not go too overboard here — these are old college friends getting together for dinner. I’m sure they tried to talk basketball and their wives rolled their eyes and tried to change the topic.

But again, this is Dolan as captain of the ship. Would it shock you if he brought Thomas back in as a consultant? He’s already tried to do that once, and now that Thomas is not tied to the college game anymore… just sayin’.