As Chris Mullin heads into the Hall of Fame telling cool stories about him and Larry Bird, there is a tinge of regret in New York.
When Mullin was pushed out the door as general manager of the Golden State Warriors — so Don Nelson’s cabal could have more power — there were other teams around the league that showed interest in picking him up. But nobody more so than Donnie Walsh with the Knicks, Marc Berman reminds us at the New York Post.
Being able to pick his successor was important to Walsh because, well, does anyone who cares about the Knicks want James Dolan to do make that call? But Dolan did make the call and now Walsh is gone, too.
According to a league source close to Donnie Walsh, his biggest regret as Knicks president was not being able to hire Mullin as the team general manager and then groom him as his successor. In fact, the source said if owner James Dolan had granted Walsh permission to hire Mullin last summer as GM, Walsh likely would still be the president — and not an Indiana-based club consultant.’
Sources said Walsh backed out of a verbal agreement on a two-year extension due to contract language partly related to control in hiring his successor…
The source said Dolan did not view Mullin as polished enough to be the face of the Knicks. He once described Mullin’s thick Brooklyn accent in the “Book of Basketball” as a cross between Bruce Springsteen and WFAN’s Mike Francesa.
Not that the Knicks landed in bad hands, but Mullin would have been a great fit — New York kid comes home to run the franchise and leads it back to glory. Great story. But this is Dolan’s Knicks, so that never happened.