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Getting to Know Donnie Walsh

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If you're like me, you couldn't pick Donnie Walsh out of a lineup of old white men before this week. He's always been around, but isn't as visible a GM as guys like Cuban, Dumars...or Isiah Thomas. First of all, here he his:

Nice. Slicked-back hair, a short-sleeved plaid shirt, and a shiny wristwatch. He's a man of the people with a touch of class and New York sensibility. And how about that facial expression? It's like the Mona Lisa of candid GM photos. Is he warm? Calm? Firm? Sinister? If there's one thing this photo says it's that Mr. Walsh is ready for the pressure of New York, thank you very fucking much.

What else can we learn? Well, Walsh is from the Bronx, played ball at UNC, and has coached in college and in the pros. He's the man who drafted Reggie Miller, dug up Jermaine O'Neal, and drove Jamaal Tinsley's getaway car. Larry Bird has stolen some of his responsibility over the last few years, but Walsh made the last two decades of Pacer basketball, an era we New Yorkers know far too well. For more expert insight, I went to Tom from Indy Cornrows:

Donnie Walsh would be a huge step in the right direction for the Knicks. He's New York born and bred, already has good relationships with the NY media as evidenced by how much Pacers news has been reported out of NY over years. Personally, I'm hoping he stays with the Pacers but I have a feeling he doesn't want his prints on Bird leaving or not getting a chance to run the team by himself. Unless his wife is opposed to the NY arrangement it seems like a no brainer. The last few years have been a struggle but there have been so many factors involved and he hasn't been acting alone.

Walsh is a guy who faced down venomous local reaction to draft Reggie Miller over Hoosier hero Steve Alford. Over the years he continually tweaked the  Pacers and improved the team for their sustained success through the end of the 90s. The '98 team was the Pacers best team that lost to the Bulls in 7 and Walsh seemed to do a great job of keeping a title contending team together while setting it up for the future. A key gamble was to move Antonio Davis to take Jonathan Bender out of high school. As it turned out, AD would've really helped in the Finals against the Lakers, of course, how much we'll never know. But, Bender retirining at 25 without ever playing significant minutes due to injury was a big blow to the franchise and something many overlook thanks to The Brawl. The next big move Donnie made was with Isiah as coach. About two days after Zeke said he was frustrated with the team's defensive mind set and that they needed "some dogs" to get out there and scrap, Jalen Rose and parts were dealt for Ron Artest, Brad Miller and others. Short term gain was great, long term not so much. When the Pacers decided not to re-sign Miller, they were left with Artest and the rest is history. Then we head into the Bird/Walsh era where neither lets the other take the blame for things that went wrong. By all accounts, Walsh worked the deal with Golden State which I contend is a decent deal for both. All the parts are overhyped.

Whoa, didn't realize I had that all tucked away in my head. Bottom line, if Donnie Walsh ends up at the Garden, you can nod your head in affirmation.

It's good news, all around. Walsh is a guy with an eye for talent and a respected name in NBA circles. The guy is good news. In fact, the only bad news I can think of is that he's got previous connections to Isiah, and this guy as well. But let's cut the man slack. The rumors are nothing more than rumors at this point, and there's gonna be some competition, but I'm hopeful that a guy like Walsh might be leading this team come next season. Leave your thoughts in the comments.