Donnie Walsh: Ad Memoriam
Well, this sucks.
I’ve always been a fan of Donnie Walsh. I admired what he did with the Pacers, and when I heard he was coming to the Knicks I was pretty much ecstatic.
I bought into his theory of waiting for LeBron by getting rid of as many contracts as possible. I knew it was for the best, and the team the Knicks had when Walsh first joined needed many changes.
Sure, I don’t 100 percent follow his theory of building through free agency. I believe in balance, you build a team through smart drafting and smarter free-agent signings. But you can’t argue what he’s done.
There are some Knicks fans who are trying to downplay Walsh’s role with the team. Some argue it’s easy to lure stars to New York and Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of basketball (if it’s so easy then why did only Amar’e come and why did they have to trade half the team for Carmelo?)
Others argue that the Knicks could’ve gotten something better for Jamal Crawford or Zach Randolph, or that they shouldn’t have traded them at all. Of course, this comes in retrospect after the decision and seeing Crawford and Randolph’s success on other teams (they weren’t exactly spectacular on the Knicks).
The point of those trades was to get cap space for LeBron and I, as well as many Knicks fans, bought it.
I sure hope it is.
As much as I’d like to see Walsh stay, you should never push yourself past your body’s limits without good reason. So now he’s going to be a consultant, but let’s hope that the Knicks’ owner James Dolan listens to him.
With Walsh gone, I expect a domino effect to fall into place. Hopefully I’m proven wrong (I always want to be proven wrong with these kinds of things) but something’s bound to happen.
There are floating rumors of D’Antoni being lured to Toronto or being outright fired. With Walsh gone, D’Antoni’s probably upset at the higher-ups for not keeping him.
I have an uneasy feeling that D’Antoni’s job is not exactly safe. We’ve all seen Dolan do some stupid things before (cough, Isiah Thomas, cough) and he’s bound to do it again.
I wouldn’t be surprised if D’Antoni was fired or left. Many Knicks fans want him gone, I don’t. I believe in continuity and chemistry, and you can’t get that if you make a major change every year or so. Heck, this current Knicks team is only three months old.
D’Antoni leaving as well would mean a shift in the Knick’s team identity and we’ve all seen what a sudden shift in identity can do to a team with Boston.
Word is Dolan didn’t want to give Walsh full autonomy over the team. That probably means Walsh’s successor has to be on the same page as Dolan when it comes to the team. And it’s no secret as to who’s the one guy who’s always been on the same wavelength as Dolan.
(A bunch of Knicks fans around the world just shudder/fainted without knowing why)
That name is pretty much the equivalent of Lord Voldemort when it comes to Knicks fans. Isiah was the epitome of the Knick’s failures over the last decade.
Now there are and have been rumors that Isiah’s been pulling a Wormtongue on Dolan, poisoning, I mean “advising” him from the side ever since Isiah left the team.
Got to love the fact that these The Lord of the Rings analogies keep popping up. First LeBron and the Heat as the Nazgul and Dirk as Gandalf, but I digress…
It’s no secret that Dolan’s not exactly the brightest or best owner around. Combine that with Isiah’s persuasive powers and it’s a wonder that Walsh was able to pull the Knicks around in three years.
Now Isiah’s trying to and has tried to come back. He has this notion that he could’ve brought LeBron to New York and that he can still bring New York to glory.
I don’t buy that one bit.
Sure, people are going to defend his draft record. Some even call him a "drafting genius", but the truth is the only draft pick that was truly great was Wilson Chandler. David Lee’s a close second, but he only became good under D’Antoni’s offense, and until he gets out of a run-and-gun offense, we won’t know how good he really is.
Trevor Ariza's another close one, but all he seems to do is get traded around and sit on the corners waiting to shoot threes. Not to mention all the guys Isiah could've drafted (Rajon Rondo, Danny Granger, Paul Millsap) and the fact he gave up the second-overall pick in the 2006 draft for Eddy freakin' Curry.
But anyway, I could go into more details, but the main point is he was a shaky/questionable drafter and he’s even worse when it comes to free-agent signings. So let’s hope he doesn’t return to the Knicks.
The bottom line is that Dolan’s looking for someone who’ll listen to him. That’s why Walsh is gone. He may point to his health, but word is that Dolan wasn’t willing to hand full autonomy to him.
So Walsh left for whatever reason you want to believe. D’Antoni’s job is in question and you can feel about that however you'd like. But the big thing is that this opens the door for Isiah’s return.
If that happens, I expect a Doomsday/Rapture/2012 like scenario in New York with mass hysteria and rioting. Or at least a bunch of angry comments/bloggers online.