According to Marc Stein and my pal Ian Begley over at ESPN New York, the Knicks have replaced General Manager Glen Grunwald with former MSG President Steve Mills.
Since taking over for Donnie Walsh and attempting to finish what the former started, Grunwald has done a very good job. He's reeled in some very impressive and/or reliable talent over the past two seasons to surround the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. It seems strange to even suggest firing and/or re-assigning an executive that put the finishing touches on a team that is coming off one of their more successful seasons in two decades.
Sure, the Knicks fell a bit short of expectations, but there was a lot to build upon heading into this past offseason. By adding the likes of Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, and Beno Udrih (not to mention, re-signing players like J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin), it seemed like Grunwald was bringing in solid talent the best he could.
If there could be any criticism of Grunwald at all, it would be the fact that the collective vision of both himself and Coach Mike Woodson (that the roster needed to be packed with experienced veterans) failed in year one of such an experiment, simply because those very veterans broke down when it mattered most. With some of the new acquisitions, the team seemed to have remedied that a bit.
According to a statement released by owner James Dolan, Grunwald will stay on with New York as an adviser.
Mills has most recently been vying for the position of Executive Director of the NBPA, and was considered a leading candidate to replace Billy Hunter. During his first Knicks tenure, Mills hired Isiah Thomas and testified for the defense during the Anucha Browne Sanders trial, among other things.
It's strange that the Knicks have moved so abruptly to replace Grunwald. Clearly, Mills is a trusted Dolan confidant. It's not like New York is replacing Grunwald with an executive proven to build teams worthy of winning multiple NBA titles.
With this new development, one has to wonder just how short the leash now is on Coach Woodson, an old college buddy of the now former General Manager. Frankly, whether Grunwald is there to have his back or not, the pressure is on Woodson to get the Knicks further than ever anyway. His old friend's ousting only further proves that.
Something interesting to note is that the fact that the Knicks didn't replace Grunwald with Assistant G.M. Allan Houston instead. That said, it'd be quite unfortunate for New York to have to remove Houston, if he weren't to succeed upon entering this situation anyway. Perhaps it's for the best they wait for his potential new appointment.
But the fact that Grunwald is out? Wow.