Let’s hope James Dolan doesn’t take him literally.
Donnie Walsh did what a good executive of a slumping (1-6 in last seven) team should do — tried to take the heat off his players and coach. Walsh threw himself on the grenade when taking to Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“I take more responsibility than the players or the coaches because I made a monumental trade in the middle of the season, and it appears to me they’re having a hard time getting together, which is understandable,” Walsh said.
“That’s why I don’t like to do it in the middle of the season,” Walsh added. “We gave up a lot. We got back a lot. But I do think this trade is going to make us better in the future. In the long run, this trade will make us a better franchise.”
Remember that when this trade was going down Walsh wanted to go slower and give up fewer assets to Denver in the deal. It was owner Dolan — maybe on the advice of Isiah Thomas, Dolan says no but plenty of other people say yes — who pushed to include more players and make sure the trade got made. This was the owners trade, but he’s not going to fire himself.
Also, Walsh is right — this trade was not about this season. It was about a year or two from now, when more talent can be assembled around the team’s two stars, when more chemistry and trust has been developed. Right now there is precious little of that, and it shows.
Walsh’s deal is up at the end of this season and Dolan has until April 30 to pick up his extension. Walsh has not been perfect, but he has done the hard work to get this team out of salary cap hell and start to rebuild, he deserves the chance to finish the job.