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OmegaNYC
March 25th, 2008, 12:14 PM
Source: Donnie Walsh strikes deal with Knicks as Isiah Thomas twists

By FRANK ISOLA
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Updated Monday, March 24th 2008, 4:52 PM
http://www.nydailynews.com/img/2008/03/25/alg_walshsimon.jpg

Mast/AP
Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh (r.) announces he is leaving organization after 24 years and is set to join Knicks.
http://www.nydailynews.com/img/2008/03/25/amd_isiahthomas.jpg

Keivom/News
The new revelation with Walsh means bad news for Isiah Thomas.

Donnie Walsh didn't want to step on Larry Bird (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Larry+Bird)'s toes. Who's to say he'd be willing to trample on Isiah Thomas (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Isiah+Thomas)'.

Walsh is expected to be introduced as the Knicks (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+York+Knicks)' new president, perhaps as early as this week. An Indiana Pacers (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Indiana+Pacers) official contacted by the Daily News Monday night confirmed an ESPN (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/ESPN+Inc.) report that Walsh has agreed to a three-year, $15 million contract. Neither Walsh nor the Knicks would comment on the report.

The news came just hours after Walsh announced that he was stepping down as Pacers CEO and just days after it appeared as if Walsh was about to regain control of the team from Bird, the team president. The Daily News had reported that Walsh was leaning toward remaining in Indiana.

"A lot of his current and former players are in shock," said the Pacers official. "They all thought he was staying and Bird was leaving."
Instead, Walsh, part of the Pacers' front office since 1986, attended a press conference with Bird and co-owner Herb Simon (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Herb+Simon) to explain his decision to leave the franchise.
"As far as what I'm going to do (overall), I'm not sure," said the 67-year-old Walsh, a product of the Bronx (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/The+Bronx). "As a result, I'm not going to comment on it until I have a better idea."

However, ESPN reported that Walsh already had a deal in place with the Knicks, which would explain the Pacers' hastily called press conference to announce Walsh's departure.
Two weeks ago, the Daily News obtained flight records that revealed that the private jet belonging to Garden chairman James Dolan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/James+Dolan) made two separate trips to Indianapolis (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Indianapolis) over a 24-hour period. It was later confirmed that Walsh had met with Knicks officials. The Knicks did not contact either Jerry West (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jerry+West) or Jerry Colangelo (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jerry+Colangelo).

If Walsh is being hired to replace Thomas as the Knicks' president and brings in a new GM - former 76ers (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Philadelphia+76ers) GM Billy King (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Billy+King) or the Nuggets (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Denver+Nuggets)' Mark Warkentien, for example - logic dictates that Walsh also would want to hire a new coach.
But Dolan has not always used logic when making major decisions, as evidenced by the fact Thomas is still working at the Garden. Also, Walsh has a good working relationship with Thomas, having given him his first head coaching job, with the Pacers. Yet a person who spoke to Walsh yesterday doubted that Walsh would keep Thomas as his head coach.

However, it was reported last month that the Knicks had contacted Kiki Vandeweghe (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Kiki+Vandeweghe), currently in the Nets (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+Jersey+Nets)' front office, and that Dolan was hoping to have Vandeweghe run the front office and keep Thomas as coach. Both the Knicks and Vandeweghe have denied meeting.

The Knicks also have refused to discuss Thomas' future. Although the team has fallen apart under his watch, Thomas continues to talk as if he will be back with the club next season in some capacity, which would be unpopular with fans. It also would potentially undermine Walsh, because such an arrangement would mean that Dolan was still calling the shots.
Monday night, Thomas praised Walsh as "one of the best who has ever done it," but would not address Walsh's future or his own.
"I don't have an answer to your inappropriate question," Thomas said. "I don't comment on my job status. And I'm sure not to going to comment on anything Donnie chooses to do or not do."

Coincidentally, one of the coaching candidates mentioned as a possible replacement, who also has a long history with Walsh, was at the Garden last night. Mark Jackson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mark+Jackson), who currently is a broadcaster for the YES Network (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Yankees+Entertainment+%26+Sports+Network+LLC), expertly tip-toed around questions concerning his interest in guiding the Knicks. Jackson did say that Walsh and former Garden president Dave Checketts (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Dave+Checketts) were the best basketball minds he has ever worked for. He also admitted that as a former Knick, he was upset over the current state of the franchise.

"It's disappointing to watch where they are right now," said Jackson, who witnessed the bizarre culture of the Garden firsthand as a Knicks media official listened in on his interview.

Walsh was said to be pushing for Jackson to coach the Pacers before Bird hired Jim O'Brien (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jim+O'Brien). Walsh eventually said he was stepping down from his position, only to drop hints that he was not prepared to retire.
Other possible Knicks coaching candidates include former Bulls (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Chicago+Bulls) coach Scott Skiles (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Scott+Skiles) and current Celtics (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Boston+Celtics) assistant Tom Thibodeau (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Thibodeau), who worked in New York under Jeff Van Gundy (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jeff+Van+Gundy) and Don Chaney (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Don+Chaney).

JCMAN320
March 25th, 2008, 04:09 PM
Well my boys embarassed the Knicks as usual last night. New Jersey beat New York 106-91. Since J-Kidd came to the Nets, the Nets are 25-7 over 7 years, that includes a 4 game playoff sweep in 04'. I was suprised the Knicks took the season series 3-1, first time since 98', but the Nets restored order last night. Also a little tidbit New Jersey has the best record of any team in the NBA against New York over the course of both franchises history.

Hey Knicks who's your daddy? Hahaha

All seriousness though I think Donnie Walsh would be great. NY guy and understands the Eastern Conference. He would be a great GM for the Knicks.

Isiah has done more than any other President, GM, Coach in the history of the NBA to destroy and permenantly damage the image of a franchise. The NY Knicks are the joke of the NBA and have done a disservice to their fans. I mean the Knicks lost their 7th straight home game and that hasn't been done sine 1963!! I mean nobody takes the Knicks seriously and the Garden has become homecourt advantage for every other team but the Knicks!!