Management

Lawrence Frank to be New Coach in Detroit

According to Marc Stein to ESPN.com the Pistons have tabbed Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank to become their next head coach. This is detremental to the Knicks because Frank was Mike D’Antoni’s top choice to run the Knicks defense. He was rumored to be a strong candidtate in New York due to his time spent with the team before last season and the fact that his family remained in New Jersey while he coached with Boston this past season. Its unknown where the Knicks go from here. It is a mystery to me why the Knicks did not go hard after former Rockets assistant Elston Turner who now holds the defensive coordinator job with the Phoenix Suns. It will be interesting to see where the Knicks go from here as now Minnesota is the only open coaching vacancy with everybody else having a good part of their staffs in order. I was afraid this would happen and it has. It is not the end of the world but Frank would have been a fabulous fit with the Knicks.

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Knicks Finish Season Below the Luxury Tax Threshold


Thanks again Donnie Walsh. It was announced Saturday that the Knicks finished the season with a $67 million payroll, $3 million below the $70 million luxury-tax threshold. This was the first season since 1999 that the Knicks finished below the threshold having paid $20-30 million annually under jackasses Scott Layden and Isiah “Zeke” Thomas. Once again Donnie Walsh continues to make strides and this is a stride that cheap ass James Dolan ought to appreciate. Dolan, being the money hungry power monger that he is, should appreciate what Walsh has done for his organization. While his man lover Mr. Thomas was producing losers on the court while costing Dolan $30 million annually, Walsh has produced a winner and SAVED Dolan from paying money over the cap. In the end, this accomplishment is just one of many you can add to Donnie Walsh’s tenure with the Knicks and in the end it will not matter due to James Dolan’s moronic and egotistical ways of running his team.

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Knicks Let Rodney Heard Go

Earlier this year, the Knicks and east coast scouting director Rodney Heard were fined on behalf of a 2010 yahoo article uncovering years of illegal workouts performed by Heard. The Knicks were fined 200,000 and Heard 20,000. The yahoo sports article written by Adrian Wojnarowski can be found here. Heard is most famous for holding an illegal workout with Kansas forward Brandon Rush in an Atlanta gymnasium that resulted in a bad knee injury causing Rush to go back to Kansas for another season.

Rodney Heard had an expiring contract this offseason and the Knicks have decided to part ways with him. Heard came to the Knicks as a close friend of Isiah Thomas so it should be no surprise that he caused the Knicks tons of PR trouble and money with his illegal workouts. I was happy to hear that Heard and the organization were going separate ways. We do not need anymore Isiah Thomas shit going on in the organization.

 

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Amare “Thinks” He’s Staying in the States

There have been a ton of reports lately on whether Amare is staying in the states or if he is going to go to Israel or Europe. Amare provided an update via twitter a couple days ago:

“Europe teams are calling, I think I’m going 2 stay here in the states. My loyalty is with the State of New York an the NYK’s. Who’s with me?”

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love Amare but if there is anyone who should benefit from the lockout, its Amare. He will have extended time to rest his knees and his back and recharge for next season or whenever the next season is. I know nothing is final but it does sound more and more like he is going to remain in the states.

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Report: Knicks Assistant Coaches Sign Through Next Season

According to Marc Berman of the NY Post, all 3 of Mike D’Antoni’s assistant coaches have signed extensions for next season.

“A source said Mike D’Antoni’s assistant coaches — Dan D’Antoni, Phil Weber, Herb Williams and Kenny Atkinson — have signed contract extensions for next season, though the club has not and will not announce it. D’Antoni has plans to add another defensive assistant to the staff.”

I like the current coaching staff and I’m pleased to see that they’ll be back next season. I’m also excited for D’Antoni to hire a defensive coordinator. We need one and I’m praying that Lawrence Frank isn’t snatched up by Detroit and that he’ll come to be our defensive coordinator. If he’s the coach in Detroit then other names I have heard are former Oklahoma Sooner head coach Kelvin Sampson, Memphis assistant Dave Joerger and Orlando assistant Steve Clifford. There hasn’t been much news lately about the search although the Knicks are currently trying to find the right man for the job.

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New Knicks Announcer Charged With DWI

On July 21, the Knicks hired Spero Dedes away from the Lakers to be the new radio and part time play by play man replacing Mike Crispino. Early Sunday morning in Queens, Dedes, 32, was pulled over for speeding and was then charged with a DWI. He was released on 500 dollars bail.

What a great start to Dedes Knicks career. It doesn’t really mean anything but I thought it was kinda funny. Get a job and a little more than a week later wear a DWI. Kinda funny. Great job Spero!

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How the Lockout Affects the Knicks

     If there is one NBA team that is most negatively affected by the lockout, it is the New York Knicks. For a team that is in the middle of building their team around the current salary cap, the new salary cap could be completely detrimental to the team. For a team that needs a training camp to gel, losing training camp and being thrown into the season should be detrimental to the team. For a team that has 2 max contract superstars and lacks depth, a smaller checkbook and cap restrictions forbidding the Knicks to add the players that they need will absolutely be detrimental to the team. Any way you look at the “proposed” structure of the new CBA, it looks bad for the New York Knicks. I am going to highlight both how the work stoppage right now hurts the Knicks and how the new CBA will likely hurt the Knicks.

Work Stoppage
     The NBA work stoppage right now prevents players from having medical insurance, has knocked out the NBA summer league, has prevented teams from signing draft picks and will prevent any roster moves from being made. Right now Toney Douglas has a surgically repaired shoulder that he needs to rehab and the lockout will prevent him access to team facilities so he’s pretty much on his own. Billups has the bum knee and Amare has the bad back, they need treatment and now they will have to use independent medical facilities instead of working out with team employees. With the lack of medical insurance, it is unknown how much working out the players will be doing. In addition to the lack of medical insurance, the work stoppage also prevents teams from working out players and the summer league has been canceled. With all the depth problems that the Knicks have, they need to find a few diamonds in the rough through the D league or summer leagues. As pertains to next season, the Knicks hands are tied. Also, team chemistry was obviously a great issue with the team after the Carmelo Anthony trade. Why wouldn’t it be? We took 5 guys who had started games for us and in return we got a superstar, a veteran point and a bunch of bench players. It was a 10 player switch. Team chemistry takes time to establish. Training camp would have been that chance. With the work stoppage there most likely will be no training camp therefore cutting down the practice time the team has to gel together.

New CBA
     Right now the NBA salary cap is at 58 million per team with a luxury tax allowing teams to go over a 70 million dollar cap by paying a tax. The new CBA most likely will have a lower cap. After the 2011 season, the Knicks currently have 41 million dollars on the books, leaving 17 million to spend under the old CBA. It’s almost guaranteed that the new salary cap with be lower than the current 58 million. Some even say as low as 45 million. Now with a lower cap, its rumored the current contracts will be lowered but nobody knows by how much. With a lower cap number, the NBA is also trying to implement a hard cap. I’ve heard rumors that this hard cap would be set about 10 million above the salary cap and would not be able to be exceeded. Therefore there would be no luxury tax. This isn’t good for a team like New York that is going to have to resign its own players. They’ll have to make it work in a set cap. They won’t be able to, like in the past, sign free agents up to the salary cap and then re sign their own players by going into the luxury tax.
     Either way you look at it, this lockout does not favor the Knicks at all. The players cannot work out together, get treatment for their injuries or meet with coaches to go over x’s and o’s. The organization cannot work out players or sign free agents. For a team swept in the playoffs due to injuries, lack of camaraderie and lack of depth, this lockout really hampers us. Lets pray to god that this lockout ends before training camp or we’ll be watching the finals just like the Knicks will be; from home. Or maybe there won’t be a finals. Who knows.

 

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Thank You Donnie Walsh

     As Donnie Walsh departs at the end of the business day Thursday, he deserves praise and thanks from anybody who calls themselves a Knick fan. Despite his clash with Dolan, Walsh successfully turned the biggest laughing stock in the league to a team on the rise anchored by two superstars. He transformed Madison Square Garden from a place riddled with losing, debt and sexual harassment charges to a positive environment that is filled with hope for the first time since the Ewing era. Today is a day that we should look at the great things Walsh has done for our favorite team. Lets put into perspective what Walsh’s accomplishments were.

2008-2009 Season
     Walsh takes over a team, fresh off the Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment suit, with a 130+ million dollar payroll. Walsh fires Isiah Thomas and signs Mike D’Antoni to a 4 year 24 million dollar deal. With the 6th pick in the draft, Walsh selects Danilo Gallinari from Italy who blossoms into a quality player and a fan favorite. On November 21, 2008, Walsh orchestrates the two trades that serve as a launching pad for the entire rebuilding process. In one trade, Walsh trades Jamal Crawford to Golden State for Al Harrington. In the other trade, Walsh flips Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins to the Clippers for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley. Both moves are created to clear the salary cap for the 2010 off season in which LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer are free agents. On Feb 24, 2009 the Knicks and cancerous point guard Stephon Marbury agree on a buyout thus removing him from the organization. The Knicks win 9 more games than in 2007 and finish 32-50.

2009-2010 Season
     On June 25, 2009, Walsh trades Quentin Richardson to Memphis for cash considerations and center Darko Milicic. In the 2009 draft, Walsh selects Arizona forward Jordan Hill with the 8th selection and trades a second rounder and cash to the Lakers for the rights to Florida State shooting guard Toney Douglas. On Feb 18, Walsh makes 2 more great trades. He flips Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries (and his horrific contract), a 2012 first round pick and the right to flip picks in 2011 to Houston for Tracy McGrady and his expiring contract. Then he trades Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry to Boston for expiring contracts Eddie House and JR Giddens as well as Bill Walker and a second round pick. These trades create a plethora of expiring contracts on the roster with Eddy Curry being the only Thomas holdover that was impossible to deal. The Knicks finish the season with a 29-53 record but go into the off season with millions to spend and increased optimism.

2010-2011 Season
     In the 2010 draft, the Knicks select Syracuse guard Andy Rautins and Stanford guard Landry Fields in the 2nd round. They also trade cash considerations to Milwaukee for their second round selection, Tulsa center Jerome Jordan. July 8, 2010 provides the first building block in Walsh’s vision as he is able to sign Amare Stoudemire to a 5 year, 102 million dollar contract. The next day, David Lee is signed and traded to Golden State for Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph, Kelena Azubuike and a 2010 second round pick. Free agents Timofey Mozgov, Shawne Williams, Raymond Felton and Roger Mason Jr are signed before the end of the off season. In a surprise, Shawne Williams makes the squad over Patrick Ewing Jr. On Feb 5, 2011 Mark Warkentien is brought on by Walsh as director of pro player personnel. February 22 provides Walsh’s club a second superstar. The Knicks trade Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a future first round pick, 2 second round picks, cash and the right to swap 2016 first round picks to the Denver Nuggets for superstar Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter and Shelden Williams. Minnesota is also involved in the deal as the Knicks send Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and cash to Minnesota for Corey Brewer. Walsh had been hesitant to give up the kitchen sink for Melo and co. but it’s widely believed that the Dolan/Thomas marriage sabotaged Walsh’s plan and jumped in to complete the contract. Nevertheless, the Knicks acquire their second superstar. On March 1st, the Knicks wave Corey Brewer, sign Jared Jeffries and claim Derrick Brown off waivers. The Knicks finish 42-40 and make the eastern conference playoffs as the 6 seed.

2011 Offseason
     Walsh is widely reported to be returning but on June 3rd, the Knicks announce that they will be parting ways with Walsh. Donnie, being the class act he is, says all the right things in the media and that it was a “mutual” agreement. While it may have been “mutual”, it was because of Dolan’s ignorance and tyrannical ways. He did not want to give Walsh the full autonomy that he deserved and wanted to run the team as he saw fit. Walsh runs the 2011 draft as the Knicks select Georgia Tech  point guard Iman Shumpert in the first round and purchase the rights to Kentucky center Josh Harrellson in the second round. On June 31, Walsh’s contract expires and he steps down from his general manager position. He will remain as a consultant.

Perspective
     Donnie Walsh did wonders for this team. He took Isiah’s crazy house of an organization and transformed it into a winning team with tons of hope for the future. He cleared the payroll and filled it with superstars. Who knows what kind of deal we could have gotten for Carmelo if Dolan hadn’t stepped in. We may have been able to keep one or two more players. Walsh’s firing, although said to be “mutual” but it was a firing, shows just how incompetent James Dolan is as an owner. The man has no clue what he is doing and did Walsh an egregious injustice by not allowing him to finish what he started. As appalling as this whole ending has been, Walsh continues to handle the set of circumstances he has been given with class. He was the savior that this team needed. Even with an egotistic owner interfering with his  job, Walsh was able to make the Knicks winners again. For that alone, we must be thankful. Donnie Walsh deserves much better then how James Dolan has treated him but as fans we must give him our thanks. He’s made our team exciting, he’s given us hope and he’s made us winners. Thank you Donnie Walsh. Knick fans everywhere know what you did for our club and we appreciate it.

Lets follow @AnthonyMSG and get #ThanksDonnie trending on twitter.

Image via Bleacher Report

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Knick Fans, Meet Glen Grunwald

     At the close of business Thursday, NBA front office legend Donnie Walsh will be stepping down from the Knicks front office to take a “consulting” role with the team. Given his clash with clown owner James Dolan, it’s unknown how much say Walsh will really have. What is known is that the interim general manager will be Walsh right hand man and former Toronto Raptors GM Glen Grunwald. The journey of Glen Grunwald is an interesting one. To me, he seems like a man who has paid his dues and has plenty of basketball experience as both a player and a front office man. Him and Isiah Thomas, yes that Isiah Thomas, were co-captains on Indiana’s 1981 championship team. He was drafted in the 5th round by the Celtics but never played in the NBA. Grunwald graduated from Northwestern with a law degree and Indiana with a Business Administration degree. After spending time with the Nuggets, Grundwald’s first big job came as Isiah’s right hand man when Thomas was hired as the Raptors general manager during their 1994 inception. In 1997 Thomas’ bid to become owner in Toronto failed and he resigned. Grunwald was hired as GM. He made many successful personnel moves, such as trading for Vince Carter, Charles Oakley and Antonio Davis and trading Damon Stoudamire away, in building a winner out of a perennial lottery team. He built a strong team around Vince Carter and they made the playoffs from 1999-2002. His veteran teams got old and injury riddled quickly and began to lose games. In the 2004 draft, Grunwald selected Chris Bosh fourth overall and the team fell just short of the 8th seed in the eastern conference. Grunwald was then fired. He became the President and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade before returning to Isiah Thomas’ side as senior VP of basketball operations with the Knicks in 2006. When Thomas was relieved of his duties in 2008, Donnie Walsh was brought in and kept Grunwald in the same position he held under Thomas. Now Walsh is the one who is leaving and Grunwald is now the man in charge. Although the Isiah Thomas friendship and prior experience is obviously alarming for Knick fans, I’ve read numerous times from different writers that Grunwald is not seen as a Thomas loyalist by anybody around the league. It will be interesting to see if Grunwald has big enough balls to stand up to the Thomas-Dolan marriage. Clearly Walsh could not get what he needed out of the moronic owner, it remains to be seen if Grunwald will be able to. The people in place right now seem to be Grunwald’s people so there shouldn’t be much of a transition or dispute over personnel as we know Dolan rules the organization with his moronic tyrannical ways. While Walsh was calling the shots, I believe Grunwald has had a bigger role in both free agent recruiting and personnel decisions than anybody has been led on to believe. Grunwald does have ties to CAA which has to appeal to Dolan as he seems to be inclined to let the agency run the entire organization. Grunwald’s ties to Thomas and CAA would seemingly make him a strong candidate to be hired as the general manager once the upcoming lockout is resolved.

     Grunwald’s goal is simple: Build a supporting cast around Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. The goal seems simple but it may not be. Thanks to Walsh, Grunwald no longer has to build the team but he needs to surround the building blocks with talent. Given his past history of personnel decisions, I feel somewhat confident in his abilities. While he’s not seen as an Isiah disciple, the looming dark cloud of Thomas’ influence is still surrounding the organization and Grunwald’s prior relationship with him scares me. If anything Grunwald’s tenure should be interesting but beware Knick fans, the job is far from finished. As Dallas showed Miami in the finals, basketball is still a team sport and basketball is played with 5 men at a time, not 2 or 3. If the Knicks don’t build the right supporting cast, this team will never reach the pinnacle that Knick fans expect it to each.

 

Image via NBA.com

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Knicks Extend Qualifying Offer to Derrick Brown

     Just in, the Knicks have just extended a qualifying offer worth a little over 1 million dollars to backup small forward Derrick Brown. The good news keeps on coming today. First the Kurt Thomas rumors, now this. I am a big Derrick Brown fan. He’s 6’8, 220 pounds. I think he has a ton of potential due to his great athleticism. During Mike D’Antoni’s late season tryout for playoff bench minutes, I thought Brown played very well. Obviously he wasn’t going to play many minutes as he was a new comer from Charlotte after the deadline and he still has a long way to go, but I would have been interested to see how he did thrown in against Boston in the playoffs. Couldn’t have been any worse then Bill Walker’s 0-11 in game 1. I like Brown’s potential a lot. His dunk against Toronto just showed what kind of player he can be. I think some of the decision to pass up Chris Singleton in the draft had to do with the fact that the Knicks are very high on Derrick Brown. The way the roster stands right now, Brown would be in line to compete with Bill Walker (…) for minutes as Carmelo Anthony’s backup. Clearly I dislike Walker a lot and I like Brown. I really hope we keep him and I will be excited to see how he progresses in the coming years.

Here’s Brown’s monster dunk on Toronto this year:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waGeAbhmgFs]

 

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