Donnie Walsh just landed the best sports job ever. And it's not because he’s working for his hometown New York Knicks, or because he has an unlimited payroll.
No matter what he does from this point on, there is nowhere to go but up.
Isiah Thomas put the Knicks in such a bad position that any person—and I mean any person—who comes after him will be hailed as a hero. You or I would be considered a hero if given control of this team right now.
Next year the Knicks have $29 million in expiring contracts from Marbury ($21.9 million) and Rose ($7.7 Million). Walsh can either use that huge amount to get another franchise player, via a trade, or simply let the contracts run out. Just by doing nothing he would take almost $30 million off the books and get rid of a locker room cancer player in Marbury.
On top of that, Walsh has two players—Randolph and Crawford—that other teams would like to have for sure and a third—Curry—that some teams still might gamble on.
Not only can Walsh get a franchise player (Elton Brand perhaps) by trading Marbury’s expiring contract, he can also get some cap relief by trading Randolph, Curry, and Crawford for expiring contracts.
Combine that with the fact that he’ll have a high lottery pick and the possibility of drafting Rose or Michael Beasley to go along with key role players like David Lee, Nate Robinson, and Renaldo Balkman, and the Knicks can have decent team on the floor next year while rebuilding for the long run.
The key is that they are getting back cap relief in almost every trade and, if it’s possible, draft picks. Realistically, the Knicks have to look for cap relief by the end of the 2010 NBA season. There are a lot of good free agents, and it will take about two years to fix up this mess and rebuild one of most storied franchises in history.
In order for the team to succeed going forward, they have to cut all ties with the Isiah Thomas regime. I personally think Isiah is the best scout in the NBA and a decent head coach, but he has to go. The Knicks have to change the corporate culture of the team. Everything starts from the top.
Even though Walsh isn’t going to make any personnel moves immediately, Knicks fans can rejoice in the fact Isiah Thomas can’t make any more personnel moves. That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?