By now, you’ve all heard the news that Donnie Walsh will be stepping down as President as the New York Knicks organization, but apparently will be staying on as a consultant, effective at the end of the month.
Walsh cites his health and the everyday grind of the position as he reasons for his resignation, but it’s clear that he and Knicks ownership were not always on the same page. That’s ok though, as one wouldn’t expect the two sides to always agree.
That being said, one would also hope that the latter is not the true reason Walsh will be leaving his post. In his very short time as Knicks President, Walsh did something multiple presidents were unable to do in the past: manage the cap properly and effectively get the Knicks under it.
While some fans may have balked last summer when Walsh was only able to bring Amar’e Stoudemire, he truly built a well-balanced team that certainly would have made the playoffs if it weren’t broken up by the Carmelo Anthony. Nevertheless, to see the team standing tall with two superstars in STAT and ‘Melo, and a championship winning point guard in Chauncey Billups, it’s hard to say Walsh could have done anything better during his short stint as President.
Whether or not Mike D’Antoni is the right coach for the talented team Walsh assembled remains to be seen. One of Walsh’s last assertions as Knicks President was that he still believes D’Antoni is the right man for the job. That may not be so, but D’Antoni still deserves a full year with the roster to prove Walsh correct. Only time will tell if he gets that chance with a new President in place soon enough. It’s clear that D’Antoni is and was a Walsh guy, so in the interest of getting on the new President’s good graces, perhaps D’Antoni should give in to hiring a defensive specialist for next season.
Whom that new President will turn out to be is anyone’s guess. Garden executive Scott O’Neil remains a favorite, as does Walsh confidant and former Nuggets G.M. Mark Warkentein. Though Walsh did not fully have the opportunity to groom someone to ultimately become his successor, he did spend some time working with former Knickerbocker and current Assistant G.M. Allan Houston. One of Walsh’s first assignments as consultant will be to advise the team on whom his successor should in fact be.
The good news is that Walsh will still be at the helm come draft time, which should work in the Knicks favor after Walsh found a gem in Landry Fields last year.
All this being said, it’d be silly not to be grateful for all that Walsh has done for the New York Knicks. He truly turned the team around unlike any before him seemed able to do. He fulfilled his promise, not only getting the Knicks back into the playoffs, but bring in two of the league’s top players and giving them a supporting cast that should be able to compete well into the future.
For that, thank you, Donnie.