For much of the last decade, the New York Knicks have been a franchise marred by poor executive decisions, mainly stemming from the ownership of James Dolan and his relationship with Isiah Thomas.
As we head into the upcoming free-agency period, and season, with Glen Grunwald as the Knicks’ general manager, let’s take a minute to appreciate everything Donnie Walsh did for the Knicks, and show how important smart roster management is.
Amongst many topics that have risen to the forefront during the lockout is that of the perceived competitive advantage that large market has over small markets. If you follow me on Twitter, @AzazNYK, you probably saw my rant disparaging this on Monday. It befuddles me that making the game balanced has become a major hang-up in the CBA negotiations, when if the issue is examined closer, it is evident that smart management trumps everything in the NBA.
Way back in April, we posted “Chant For Donnie“, a post urging Knick fans to chant for Mr. Walsh at the last home game. I ended that post with the words: “Let’s show our appreciation to the man that has made New York City basketball relevant again and to the man who might not be here next season”.
On May 13, 2008, the New York Knicks’ new President of Basketball Operations, Donnie Walsh, named Mike D’Antoni the 24th coach of the New York Knicks.
An outside observer would see nothing wrong with this appointment, after all, D’Antoni and his high octane offense dubbed (Seven Seconds or Less) SSOL was the toast of the NBA only two seasons earlier and held a career .608 winning percentage while also being an assistant coach on the 2008 Olympic “Redeem Team”. Knick fans however greeted the move with a collective groan, yours truly included.
Donnie Walsh originally drafted Shawne Williams 17th overall in 2006 when Donnie was the General Manager of the Indiana Pacers. Williams has had his fair share of run-ins with the law and was out of the league for a few years. On September 23rd, the Knicks signed Williams to a one-year deal. Walsh gave Williams a second chance, and boy has he taken advantage of that.