Why the New York Knicks Made a Big Mistake with Grunwald Demotion

Zach GewelbCorrespondent IIOctober 1, 2013

Did James Dolan make the right decision regarding New York's general manager position?
Did James Dolan make the right decision regarding New York's general manager position?David Dow/Getty Images

The New York Knicks have made a huge mistake with their decision to demote former Executive Vice President and general manager Glen Grunwald to an advisor role in favor of former MSG president and CEO Steve Mills.

While it is not clear exactly why New York made this decision, one thing is certain: Owner James Dolan wanted Mills to return to the Knicks, via an ESPNNewYork.com article by Ian Begley and Marc Stein:

I am pleased to be able to welcome Steve back to the Knicks, team owner James Dolan said in a statement...We look forward to his leadership and believe he is the right person to help us reach our ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, people around the league, including agent Rick Kaplan, believe that Grunwald’s demotion was uncalled for:

Steve is a great guy, but Glen’s firing is absurd, Kaplan stated in a text message Friday morning to The Post. He did a great job in a challenging environment. Turns out it was a thankless job.

I agree with Kaplan’s assessment of Grunwald’s tenure in New York. He has done a fantastic job tooling together a contending team despite the cap-limits the Knicks have been forced to deal with.

This offseason alone proves Grunwald’s worth to New York. Despite financial restrictions, the former general manager brought in seven new players and re-signed three.

While some of Grunwald’s moves can be considered risky, such as the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani in a deal centered around a 2014 first-round pick, most of his decisions seem to be low-risk, high-reward.

Glen Grunwald was demoted after putting together New York's 2013-14 roster.
Glen Grunwald was demoted after putting together New York's 2013-14 roster.Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

He decided to bring in Metta World Peace to serve as a defensive stopper alongside Iman Shumpert. Grunwald’s decision to sign point guard Beno Udrih to back up Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni gives New York a proven ball-handler and game manager.

He also signed two big men in Jeremy Tyler and, more recently, Cole Aldrich to increase New York’s frontcourt depth.

Aside from the Bargnani trade, Grunwald made smart, savvy decisions to improve a Knicks roster that was ousted in the second round of the playoffs against a more physical Indiana Pacers team.

He did what he needed to do to make the Knicks a more physical team capable of matching up against big, strong teams such as Indiana and the Chicago Bulls.

Not only has Grunwald improved the Knicks roster during his tenure with New York, but he has also helped the team advance to the second round of the playoffs, which no general manager had done in New York in over a decade, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News said via twitter.

And what is Grunwald’s reward for his efforts?

A demotion to an advisory role.

And as Isola tweeted, Grunwald’s new role is nothing to be excited about:

Also, keep in mind that Steve Mills is the person who hired Isiah Thomas, who, as Begley and Stein wrote, “... presided over the team during one of its least successful stretches…”

Did Dolan and the Knicks make the right decision in demoting Grunwald and hiring Mills?

Time will make that decision for us.

Grunwald deserved praise, not a demotion, after bringing the franchise its first second-round playoff appearance in over a decade.

Hopefully, Dolan and Mills will keep the new Knicks advisor involved moving forward.