Good afternoon, friends. It's been a long day away from the computer for me, and there's a strange relief in finally being able to sit down with my laptop after hours of frantic Twitter refreshing from afar. So, Donnie Walsh is no longer the president of our Knicks. He and James Dolan could not come to terms on a contract extension, so Walsh stepped down into a consultant's role, leaving Glen Grunwald as the interim boss. These are the facts. After the jump, let's try to make sense of this together.
- First of all, to Donnie Walsh: Thanks, bro. Thanks for building the Knicks back into a winning team. Thanks for restoring, at least for a moment, a bit of dignity to the front office. Thanks for conducting all facets of your job (well, at least the ones we could see) with the utmost class. You are excellent, and many of us loved you and will miss you as the man in charge. Once you're done consulting or whatever, have a happy, healthy time doing something else. If ever our paths cross, I would like to give you a hug. That is all.
- Now, while I was writhing and gnawing at my cheek on the train, Walsh gave a press conference explaining the whole ordeal. The excellent homies at Knickerblogger were on the call, and transcribed most of the important things he said. Howard Beck and Alan Hahn can help you out there, too. Basically, he insisted that the main difference between he and Dolan regarded the preferred length of Walsh's contract. Walsh wanted one year, Dolan wanted more. Walsh painted himself as aging, tired, and not ready to commit to multiple years. Okay.
- Walsh obviously didn't eviscerate James Dolan the way many Knicks fans and writers around the internet have done all afternoon. He's always been one to take the high road, even if it meant talking around some of the well-known foibles of his employer. In a way, he's been lying to us this whole time, which is something Will Leitch tackled with aplomb in this article.
- Frank Isola, warrior of truth that he is, recently shared a whole bunch of items that "the Daily News has learned" since the announcement. Among them: 1. Dolan's contract offer to Walsh included a massive pay cut. 2. Walsh submitted a list of preferred GM replacements to Dolan. 3. Said list apparently includes Mark Jackson and Bryan Colangelo, but not Chris Mullin. Okay.
- Slowing down for a second, Walsh, it seems, will still play a major role alongside Grunwald in this month's draft. After that, there are plenty of candidates in house already. Allan Houston is the young blood in the front office, and he's always been spoken of as Walsh's apprentice. Mark Warkentien's name has come up a bunch, and guys like John "Peter" Gabriel and Misho Ostarcevic are probably GM material as well. Basically, it's possible that the "search" for a replacement doesn't venture that far.
- Then again, names are going to fly. Isola went ahead and listed two of the more nauseating prospects, while Alan Hahn threw the names of Kevin Pritchard, Ed Stefanski, and Jeff Bower into the mix. This is New York. Until a new guy is inked, we'll hear every name under the sun mentioned. Doesn't matter if they're already employed.
- The biggest, scariest name in all of this, of course, is that of Isiah Thomas. I'd like to believe that David Stern or God or somebody will prevent Isiah from returning as GM, and I don't think it's likely. Still, he never really disappears, which is what we'd all love for him to do. In general, this move opens the door for all the conspiracy theories to rush back into the Knicks discussion. The Isiah stuff, the CAA stuff, the stuff about Dolan feasting on the souls of infant refugees... It's all kind of hard to dismiss at the moment.
- What this means for Mike D'Antoni is anybody's guess.
- This, I think, sums it all up. If Donnie was just fed up with the Knicks, I really can't blame him.
So, there it is. Personally, I thought Walsh was a very solid president and am sad to see him go. The uncertainty about his replacement and the future of the organization worries me. Anger doesn't factor into it, though. Not for me. If all the silly shit that goes on with the Knicks made me angry, I'd have given up my fandom a long time ago. I just accept it as part of the lifestyle at this point.
Again, best wishes to Walsh. We'll update as more stuff emerges (including workout stuff! There were workouts today, guys!). It's been a weird day to be a Knicks fan, but as always, we're in this together. SOLIDARITY. Let's all go outside and enjoy the weather!