NBA Rumors: Portland Trail Blazers Must Hire Donnie Walsh to Rebuild the Team
Walsh is currently a consultant with the New York Knicks until June 30, and according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, he has been given permission by the Knicks to talk to other teams about a position for next season.
"Donnie's very interested in continuing to work on a full-time basis," Walsh's agent, Steve Kauffman, told CBSSports.com.
The Portland Trail Blazers already have begun yet another GM search, and it is believed that Walsh will explore that situation first since the job is known to be open. If Larry Bird steps down as Pacers president after the season, there are indications that owner Herb Simon—a longtime friend and proponent of Walsh—would strongly consider a reunion.
Walsh, a strict follower of protocol, would not be comfortable speaking with teams about positions until they are officially open, sources said.
Will the Blazers make the playoffs next season?
Walsh is one of the best front-office executives in basketball, and completed the incredibly difficult challenge of clearing tens of millions of dollars in salary cap space so the Knicks could be major players in the summer of 2010 free-agent bonanza that was headlined by LeBron James.
The Blazers will have just under $49 million in salaries next season, so they will have some nice room under the salary cap to work with. Only star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a salary over $10 million for next season.
Walsh is known for making some smart draft choices and trades throughout his career. His best transaction came with the Indiana Pacers in 2000, when he sent forward Dale Davis to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for forward Jermaine O'Neal and center Joe Kleine. O'Neal went on to become a dominant power forward for many years with the Pacers.
The job of bringing Portland to the elite of the Western Conference is nowhere close to the challenge that was saving the Knicks from salary-cap jail.
With good young players such as Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, the Blazers have a nice foundation to work with.
If Walsh could have a good draft and make a significant signing in free agency, then the Blazers would be well on their way toward success again.
The Blazers need to rebuild, and with someone as talented as Walsh likely available in the offseason, the team has no choice but to offer him a front-office position.
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