New York Knicks: Kevin Pritchard and 5 Potential GM Candidates
With the abrupt departure of Donnie Walsh behind them, the New York Knicks must now turn their attention to finding his replacement.
While there are several solid GM options available, the Knicks will need to be selective in their choice.
They find themselves in a unique position, with an impressive star core already in place.
However, the blockbuster trade of Carmelo Anthony gutted their roster and left the Knicks with glaring holes in terms of depth.
What the Knicks need is a general manager who thinks outside the box and can come in and acquire complimentary pieces to put together a complete roster.
Here are five potential GM candidates that have the ability to turn the Knicks from a good looking team on paper, to a consistent title contender year after year.
The former NBA great is already endeared in the hearts of New Yorkers, as he was a standout at nearby St. John's university during his collegiate playing days.
However, the Knicks are less likely to care about his playing pedigree when it comes to his qualifications for their vacant general manager position.
Chris Mullin was most recently the general manager of the Golden State Warriors and was the man responsible for bringing playoff basketball back to the Bay Area.
He pieced together a competitive team mostly through the draft and minor free agent signings, while working with a small market budget in Oakland.
Mullin has exactly what the Knicks need at this point in time: creativity.
They have their star pieces in place; what the Knicks need now is for a general manager with a vision to come in and put together a complete team that is capable of making deep playoff runs year in and year out.
Mullin may prove to be that man.
The current senior vice president of basketball operations and interim general manager of the New York Knicks may have the inside track on the team's permanent GM position.
Glen Grunwald was the general manager of the Toronto Raptors from 1998-2004 and oversaw what is widely regarded as their greatest era of success.
It was Grunwald who orchestrated the blockbuster trade for Vince Carter and was responsible for the drafting of Tracy McGrady.
Under Grunwald, the Raptors appeared in the playoffs three straight seasons from 2000-2002.
He clearly has the pedigree to take over as the permanent general manager and is accustomed to working under the pressures of New York--an aspect that cannot be overlooked.
Jeff Bower has experience when it comes to building a complete roster through creativity.
His time as general manager of the New Orleans Hornets will be remembered as the foundation for bringing the Hornets franchise back to respectability.
Bower sought and acquired diamonds in the rough such as Morris Peterson and J.R. Smith, while bringing in such role players as Jannero Pargo and Rasual Butler. These moves were proven wise, as the Hornets won 56 games in 2008 en route to their first division title.
When it comes to finding players to fit a certain area of speciality, Jeff Bower is second to none.
The runner-up for the NBA Executive of the Year award in 2008, Bower would be a strong choice to fill the Knicks general manager position given his penchant for building a well-rounded roster.
Mark Warkentein may have the most impressive resume of any of the Knicks general manager candidates.
Warkentein was named as a consultant to Donnie Walsh in January of 2011.
Before that, he spent four seasons as the vice president of basketball operations (acting as general manager) for the Denver Nuggets.
During his time in Denver, Warkentein orchestrated two separate blockbuster deals for All-Star guards Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups.
His tenure with the Nuggets was also notable for his NBA Executive of the Year award in 2008, as well as his ability to get the Nuggets below the luxury tax.
More importantly, his Denver teams made the playoffs in each of his four seasons at the helm.
Warkentein knows how to build successful teams around star players, as he did in Denver with Carmelo Anthony, Billups, and Iverson, as well as with Lebron James during his one season as interim general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
When an NBA executive possesses a nickname that pays homage to his ability to "rip off" other teams, you know he's a solid candidate for a vacant general manager position.
Such is Kevin Pritchard, who's infamous "Pritch-Slaps" have become regarded in the NBA as some of the best examples of GM work.
Pritchard is widely regarded as the NBA's "rising" executive, making him an envious choice for general manager.
From 2007-2010, Pritchard was the general manger of the Portland Trailblzers.
He built a team so deep in talent that even when they were hit with a record amount of injuries in 2010, they still managed to win 50 games--a tip of the cap to Pritchard's capabilities as a GM.
Pritchard's track record in the NBA Draft speaks for itself, as he was responsible for drafting Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum.
He surrounded that young core with veteran talent, and the result was a consistent playoff contender during his tenure in Portland.
His ability to build around a core makes him a vastly appealing option for the Knicks, given the star players they already possess coupled with their lack of a supporting cast.