Donnie Walsh Gone! Panic?!

Hey guys, I was stunned at the news yesterday about Donnie, but I have spent some time trying to rationalize it and I think it has worked. I mean we still have Amar'e and Melo', come on!                                      

This post came from my blog: The Post Up



In case you haven’t heard the news already, the president/general manager of the New York Knicks, Donnie Walsh, reportedly came to a mutual agreement with Knicks owner James Dolan that he would not be returning in the same position after his contract expires on June 30th. Donnie Walsh had reportedly asked for more autonomy in his position and also a two year extension, so that he could complete the rebuilding process that he started in 2008. Walsh’s wishes were not granted and instead of being welcomed with open arms, as many current Knicks fans would, Dolan proposed a 40% salary decrease in any extra year on his deal. It is obvious that Dolan and Walsh did mutually agree on something, which is that they were not compatible and that together, the future well-being of the Knicks would be in jeopardy.  


Many would disagree with me and would say that Walsh is such a great man, an elder statesman of sorts, that should be given more respect and control by the Dolan. With the Walsh’s failure to acquire Lebron last summer and his subsequent reluctance to propose a desirable trade to the Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony, Dolan became fed up with Walsh’s conservatism and took matters into his own hands. There were rumors that were spread that Dolan orchestrated the Melo’ trade and that he should be to blame for the Knicks lack of depth and youth. True, or not, the trade has brought hope and excitement to New York. With two legitimate superstars like Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the foundation is set and others will come. I think that this is what Dolan believes as well and the trade that occurred was somewhat of an act of desperation to complete his team’s  foundation (People discount the inclusion of Billups in the trade; he really presents good value as a point guard and expiring contract next season.).  


Walsh’s demise was not an act of desperation by Dolan. Dolan knew exactly what he was doing over the last month and I have believed that the changing of the guard that we will be seeing over the coming months was imminent all along. There is a responsibility that the owner of the New York Knicks has, which is to create and maintain a winner that will not only satisfy fans in the Big Apple, but also challenge the Yankees for popularity amongst fans. Walsh re-established the Knicks in the Eastern Conference as a playoff contender, but now they need to take the next step. Things move fast in the big city, and I just don’t think that Walsh could keep up.


Over the last few years, the stories with the Knicks have been: who will the Knicks get in free-agency next summer, who can they trade for next year, how much cap-space will they have next year. The speculation always pertains to what will happen months, or sometimes years down the road. The Knicks have the ground-work set to win now. Knicks fans don’t necessarily need a big three to be satisfied as basketball fans. When I think of the New York Knicks franchise, I think of a grind-it-out dirty team with a defensive tenacity that overshadows their offensive potential. The Knicks, with the help of Coach Mike D’Antoni, have become the complete opposite of the last few years with their top-5 offense and pathetic defense. I have confidence that Amare and Melo’ can improve defensively especially when considering Amare’s heightened role as leader on the team and Melo’s importance to the city he was born in. The two should feel a responsibility to their team and fans to play better defense. However stars also should also be pushed to improve defensively, but unfortunately with D’Antoni, they lack the necessary motivation to play defense.


This is where the ousting of Walsh may prove to benefit the Knicks as D’Antoni has been placed on the coaching bubble. D’Antoni has been subject to mass criticism by fans for his defensive ineptitudes and inabilities to truly coach and adapt to situations. It seems like he is just a revolutionary offensive mind that should be kept in the chair next to the head coach as an assistant. This is pure speculation, but I believe that D’Antoni is all but gone at this point. I realize he is still owed six million for next year, but Dolan has shown no signs of bashfulness when it comes to spending money over the years. If taking that next step toward becoming a championship contender means hiring a new coach, I don’t think Dolan will hesitate to welcome a new face and leader for the Knicks.


I’m not going to give a whole list of guys who I think should coach the Knicks, instead I will just recommend Mark Jackson for the job as I think he is a no brainer as coach of the Knicks. He is everything I think the Knicks need. He is charismatic, defensive-minded, humbling, and a proven player that will garner respect from current stars like Melo’ and Amare. This all going without saying that he is worshipped by Knicks fans as one of the greatest point-guards of all-time.


The man to bring him in as coach should be Mark Warkentien in the general manager position, who is an assistant for Walsh and was the GM for the Denver Nuggets before this year. Warkentien built some really solid teams around Melo’ when he was in Denver, and I always thought that they were one player away from challenging the Lakers and Spurs for supremacy in the West. Well, he would come in with two stars making the job much easier for him this time around


I would not panic Knicks fans. You still have two of the best players in the league and some very nice pieces that will all but guarantee a playoff berth in next season’s playoffs. Championship teams aren’t built overnight and Donnie Walsh realized that, but it appears as though his timetable for success was much more extensive than Dolan’s. I think with the proper changes to the front-office and the coaching staff, the Knicks will have a chance to contend for the Eastern Conference Finals. The Knicks are a few players away from title contenders, but with a more aggressive front-office, I think the Knicks will begin to challenge the Yankees for supremacy in the Big Apple sooner rather than later.


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