Posted on: November 5, 2010 7:39 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 7:42 pm
NEW YORK -- The Knicks returned Friday night to Madison Square Garden, which has been cleared of asbestos -- but sadly, not all toxins.
The poisonous dust wafting throughout the World's Most Famous Arena was more collateral damage from the Isiah Thomas era, as the Hall of Famer's comments about wanting to replace Donnie Walsh when he retires from Thomas' old job were the topic du jour.
Walsh, who replaced Thomas in 2008 and needed two years to return the Knicks to respectability, said before the game he'd only read "a couple of pieces" of the ESPNNewYork.com interview with Thomas , but added, "I have no remarks about it. At all."
In a two-hour interview with the web site in Miami, where Thomas is head coach of Florida International University, Thomas said he thinks about running the Knicks again "every single day of the week;" that he may have been able to succeed where Walsh failed to lure LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to New York; and that he harbors fantasies of completing that vision as head of the Knicks in 2014, when the contracts Wade and LeBron signed with Miami this past summer expire.
The timing and content of Thomas' comments took team executives league-wide by surprise. But Walsh, seated in his customary spot at the scorer's table during pregame warmups, said he was "nonplussed." Asked about his relationship with Thomas, Walsh said, "I don’t consider Isiah a guy that’s not my friend, if that’s what you’re asking me. I always treat him like a friend."
Asked about Thomas raising the specter of his retirement, Walsh, 69, said, "I think when I hear retirement, I think it’s a choice that I make. But I’m not answering that question. I have nothing to say about the comments that were made today by Isiah. I have nothing to say."
Walsh, who has this season plus a team option left on his contract, was asked about the oddity of Knicks fans once again talking about Thomas -- even as Walsh has repaired the Knicks' roster, payroll, and image.
"Well," Walsh said, "I'm not."
Posted on: September 27, 2010 12:36 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 10:39 pm
Talks of a blockbuster trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Nets gained momentum Monday before getting bogged down again in the Nuggets' indecision, two people familiar with the negotiations told CBSSports.com.
One person briefed on the complicated, four-team talks described them as "moving along" after a weekend of inertia fueled by Denver's inability to make a final decision on trading its franchise player -- and Anthony's desire to make sure he was doing the right thing by signing off on a deal to New Jersey.
"Talking and waiting," was how another person with knowledge of the negotiations described them.
On Sunday, a person connected to the talks told CBSSports.com that there was a "more than 50 percent chance" Anthony is traded in the next 24-48 hours. The momentum gained Monday bolstered that prediction, with most of the focus on the original framework of the deal also involving the Bobcats and Jazz.
But as the discussions dragged on, frustration with the Nuggets' handling of the negotiations was building among the other executives involved in the deal. One person who has been briefed on the talks described the Denver team of GM Masai Ujiri, executive Josh Kroenke and adviser Bret Bearup -- consummating their first trade together -- as "a huge puzzle." A second person familiar with the discussions expressed frustration with "a lot of contingencies" the Nuggets were trying to place on the deal, and a third described the Nuggets as indecisive and hesitant.
Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor, speaking at Utah's media day , said, "If you're going to make that trade, it would've been done Friday."
The Nuggets have done this slow dance before, under different leadership, but the meandering pace of these trade talks has some execs marveling at how some things in Denver haven't changed.
As part of the scenario being discussed for weeks and tabled over the weekend while Denver executives strategized privately and sought other offers, the Nets would send No. 3 pick Derrick Favors and two first-round picks to Denver for Anthony. The Bobcats would get Devin Harris from New Jersey and send Boris Diaw to Utah, which could send Andrei Kirilenko and his $17.8 million expiring contract to Denver. Quinton Ross would go from New Jersey to Utah.
That basic structure "hasn't changed" since Friday, said one person who has been briefed on the talks.
As discussions progressed, however, sources confirmed reports that Utah was trying to get a second-round pick in the deal, and Charlotte was asking for cash or a pick for its involvement. Those issues were "being discussed" Monday, one of the sources said. At the same time, frustration was growing for Utah and Charlotte, although one executive with a hand in the negotiations pointed out that both teams would have something significant to lose if the deal fell apart: Charlotte needs a starting point guard, and Utah needs luxury-tax relief.
The Nuggets, who accelerated trade talks in response to ominous predictions of problems that would result from Anthony staying in Denver, convened for media day Monday -- and Anthony was there. Though that hurdle was far from a drop-dead deadline, it was nonetheless ideal from the Nuggets' standpoint to make considerable progress before being saddled with controversy and drama.
There was no hiding how torn Denver officials were Monday between trying to find a better deal and hoping that Anthony's camp could be persuaded to tamp down its trade rhetoric. After spending the weekend trying to determine if a better deal would emerge -- or if better assets could be acquired from the three other teams currently involved -- the Nuggets reached a tipping point in the most difficult decision a franchise ever has to make. That is one reason Denver tried to explore every angle and wanted to meet in person with Anthony before agreeing to trade him.
One avenue Denver pursued recently in the trade discussions was getting Gerald Wallace from Charlotte in the deal, a person involved in the talks told CBSSports.com Monday. But the Bobcats have insisted throughout that they'd only trade Wallace if it meant getting Anthony in the deal, and that's not happening based on Anthony's lack of interest in playing in Charlotte. For the same reason, Denver's interest in the Sixers' Andre Iguodala is a non-starter.
A package featuring No. 2 pick Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, the expiring contract of Jason Kapono and draft picks -- explored previously here -- also fails to pass the Melo test.
As the Nets' discussions continued to develop Monday, sources say one team that is more involved than commonly thought is the Knicks. After New York fell short in its pursuit of LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade, it would be devastating for the Knicks to watch Anthony go to their cross-river rival -- especially since that rival is moving into the city limits to Brooklyn in two years. While Knicks president Donnie Walsh has been in far from panic mode, he has been "working every angle" in an effort to get back in the game with Anthony, according to a rival executive familiar with Walsh's approach.
"He's the master," the executive said. "I'll put it this way: If there's any way to get something done that he feels good about, he'll get it done. He'll leave no stone unturned."
Posted on: September 24, 2010 7:19 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 10:46 am
The Knicks didn't get LeBron James. Or Dwyane Wade. Or Chris Bosh. Was the offseason a failure? Hardly. The Knicks are relevant again, with superstar Amar'e Stoudemire and supporting players Mike D'Antoni actually wants to coach. Playoffs? Let's not get carried away, but they have a shot. Which is more than the Knicks have been able to say for a long time. The buzz is back at Madison Square Garden. Now, all Donnie Walsh has to do is get Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul or Tony Parker. Maybe then he'd get some of the credit he's due. But even if Walsh never signs or trades for another player, he's already restored respectability and competitivenss to what was a lost franchise when he took over.
Training camp site: Greenburgh, N.Y.
Training camp starts: Sept. 25
Key additions: Amar’e Stoudemire (sign-and-trade), Raymond Felton (free agent), Anthony Randolph (trade), Kelenna Azubuike (trade), Ronny Turiaf (trade), Roger Mason Jr. (free agent), Landry Fields (draft).
Key subtractions: The stench of a decade of irrelevance. And David Lee (sign-and-trade)
Likely starting lineup: Felton, PG; Wilson Chandler, SG; Danilo Gallinari, SF; Stoudemire, PF; Ronny Turiaf, C.
Player to watch: Eddy Curry. Once again, all eyes are on the Knicks’ troubled center, who was on the verge of being an All-Star a few short years ago and now is hanging onto his career by a thread. Curry hasn’t made it through the first day of training camp for the past two years, so progress will be measured in baby steps. The best thing that could happen for all concerned is that Curry somehow stays healthy, keeps his weight in check, and shows enough in preseason to coax someone into taking on his $11.3 million expiring contract in a scenario that makes the Knicks better. For now, making it through a practice will do.
Chemistry check: Although the Knicks inexplicably flirted with past demons with the ill-fated attempt to bring Isiah Thomas back as a consultant, this is as clean as the slate has been at Madison Square Garden in years. With athletes like Stoudemire and Randolph, shooters like Gallinari and Mason, and a serviceable point guard in Felton, Mike D’Antoni finally will get to fully implement his offensive philosophy. Just as important, Stoudemire’s star power will bring the buzz back to the Garden.
Injury watch: Azubuike is still recovering from last season’s knee injury, and when he’s ready, he’ll be the starting shooting guard. That will give D’Antoni the flexibility to slide Chandler to the three or four, making him interchangeable with Gallinari and Randolph depending on matchups. Curry should be the starting center on paper, and the Knicks would like for him to be productive to increase his trade value. But if Curry falters – a good bet, given his track record – the Knicks are extremely high on Russian rookie Timofey Mozgov. D’Antoni is a huge fan of the 7-1 center, who figures to pass Curry on the depth chart by the start of the regular season.
Camp battles: Aside from Curry-Mozgov, D’Antoni has a pretty good idea of what the rotation will be. Mason, Bill Walker, Randolph and Turiaf give D’Antoni the most bench flexibility that he’s had since he came to New York. Fields, a sleeper in the draft who impressed with his length, athleticism and intelligent play during Summer League and in offseason workouts, figures to be a regular part of the rotation.
Biggest strength: The Knicks have been so bad, irrelevant and mismanaged for so long that the fact that team president Donnie Walsh has them under the cap with a superstar big man and young talent around him has gone overlooked. Such is the hangover from the pursuit of LeBron James. But remember: If Walsh hadn’t created cap space for two max players, James wasn’t coming to New York anyway. If Walsh hadn’t landed Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t want to come, either.
Glaring weakness: Aside from needing one more star to compete with the elite teams in the East, the Knicks need something D’Antoni isn’t known for: defense. They definitely have the athletes to defend better than their reputation under D’Antoni would suggest. Now they have to add the commitment and prioritize it, which will be one of the most important goals in training camp.
Posted on: August 11, 2010 6:24 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 7:48 pm
NEW YORK -- Not surprisingly, Isiah Thomas and the Knicks aren't reuniting after all. The deposed team president will not take a consulting job with the Knicks, citing the NBA rules that forbid the arrangement.
After nearly three days of reviewing league policies that apply to the consulting arrangement Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan tried to arrange with Thomas, the Knicks and NBA officials reached the only conclusion possible: Thomas' job as basketball coach at Florida International clearly disqualifies him from working in any capacity for an NBA team. League rules strictly prohibit any coach, scout, executive, consultant or anyone else remotely employed in basketball operations with an NBA team from having any contact with draft-ineligible players. Such contact, obviously, is a key part of a college basketball coach's job.
"After speaking with Commissioner Stern and Knicks executives, it has become apparent that my new agreement violates certain NBA by-laws," Thomas said in a statement. "Because of this, I have decided to rescind my contract with the team.
"I have nothing but the utmost respect for Jim Dolan, Donnie Walsh, Mike D'Antoni and the entire Knicks organization, and I want to thank them for affording me this opportunity. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that the Knicks didn't perform up to the standards the fans had every right to expect while I was in charge. I take full responsibility for that. I was very much looking forward to this unique opportunity to help the organization do what I do best: find basketball talent. I wish the team nothing but success in the future."
The Knicks announced Friday that they were hiring Thomas -- whose scorched-Earth tenure as Knicks president and coach ended with the hiring of Walsh as team president in April 2008 -- as a consultant to advise the organization in a variety of ways. Among Thomas'
duties was to "provide valuable insight and analysis of young prospects from around the world."
As CBSSports.com reported Monday , such an arrangement was a clear violation of the NBA Constitution and By-Laws, which do not even allow basketball operations employees with NBA teams to publicly speak about high school, college or international players not yet eligible for the NBA draft -- much less have direct contact with them.
In announcing that Thomas was voiding his contract, officials with the NBA and the Knicks made efforts to minimize the public-relations embarrassment the team would endure as a result. This was obvious in the timing of the public announcements on the Thomas fiasco Tuesday: First, Isiah's statement. Then, a thumb-in-the-eye to Knicks fans from Dolan, who praised Walsh and D'Antoni in a release issued by the team but said he was "disappointed" he couldn't hire Thomas and that he will "continue to solicit his views."
"I continue to believe in his basketball knowledge, including his ability to judge talent," Dolan said of Isiah in a rare public pronouncement. "He's a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views. He will always have strong ties to me and the team. We wish him continued success at FIU. I also believe Donnie Walsh has done a terrific job since joining the Knicks and my tremendous respect for him has only grown since he's joined the organization. I'm confident that the work that Donnie, Coach Mike D'Antoni and their staffs have done this summer has the team poised for long-term success."
Finally, a classically subdued missive from Stern, who said in a statement from the league office that there was no need for him to take action since Thomas' contract had been voided. (Gee, I wonder why?)
"However, we have reminded the Knicks of NBA rules that prohibit team personnel, including consultants, from having contact with players not eligible for the draft," Stern said.
Anyway, the fallout from attempting to circumvent NBA rules -- or simply being unaware of them -- will be nothing compared to the public scorn heaped on the Knicks for even contemplating a reunion with Thomas in the first place. His tenure as team president and then coach featured ill-conceived trades (Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry), a sexual harassment lawsuit that cost Madison Square Garden and Dolan $11.5 million, and a salary-cap mess that took Walsh more than two years to clean up.
The announcement of Thomas' ill-fated reunion with the team also overshadowed a rare run of positive developments for the Knicks, who made credible pitches to sign free agents LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, landed power forward Amar'e Stoudemire instead, and have the flexibility to add a second max player through trades or as a free agent next summer. The biggest damage may have been inflicted on Walsh and D'Antoni, whose reputations were cast in a poor light by Dolan's belief that the team couldn't attract future free agents without Thomas' credibility as a Hall of Fame former player.
Sources say some elements of the Knicks' power structure -- i.e. Dolan -- believed after the failed bid for James and Wade that Thomas and his credibility with star players was needed to close the deal on future signings. Thomas, in fact, played un undefined role in the team's recruitment of Stoudemire, and also landed a meeting with James' associates during a failed 11th-hour bid to persuade the former Cav to join the Knicks. Walsh went out of his way to thank Thomas for his help in landing Stoudemire, a move that was met with head-scratching gazes in the media audience during Stoudemire's introductory news conference last month.
What has to scare Knicks fans even more than Dolan's continued belief in Thomas is the fact that Thomas could regain eligibility to work for the Knicks simply by quitting his job as Florida International coach. So it is possible that Knicks fans haven't heard the last from Isiah.
But then, who ever does?
Posted on: August 10, 2010 7:02 pm
NEW YORK -- We're barely a month removed from the biggest free-agent feeding frenzy in NBA history, and already the next wave has begun.
The Knicks' controversial attempt to hire Isiah Thomas as a consultant hasn't dissuaded candidates from pitching themselves as the right man for a job that team president Donnie Walsh has left vacant since he was hired two years ago -- a day-to-day GM who eventually would succeed him. The latest twist, according to sources familiar with the situation, has potential candidates angling to present themselves to Walsh and Garden chairman James Dolan as the man who is capable of delivering Carmelo Anthony as a free agent next summer.
The overtures have fallen on deaf ears with Walsh for two reasons, sources say: 1) Walsh has yet to receive clearance to hire a general manager to handle the day-to-day basketball operations, and 2) The respected, 69-year-old executive has grown tired of the free-agent recruitment game and the dishonest pitches that invariably come with it.
Walsh's desire to decompress from the untoward free-agent hysteria, however, didn't stop Dolan from hiring Thomas -- who was ousted and replaced by Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni in 2008 -- as a consultant whose primary duty will be to recruit free agents. Sources say the hiring may very well be struck down by the NBA, which has strict rules against team employees having contact with high school, college and international players not yet eligible for the NBA draft.
Thomas positioned himself to return to the Knicks by convincing Dolan that he played an important role in the team landing free-agent power forward Amar'e Stoudemire this summer. The Knicks struck out on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and decided they needed someone with Thomas' clout to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
But Thomas isn't the only current or former NBA executive trying to tout himself as the man who can persuade Anthony, a free agent next summer, to join Stoudemire with the Knicks. Part of that strategy, sources say, includes efforts on the part of at least one candidate to pitch himself to Creative Artists Agency -- the firm that represents Anthony -- as an addition to the Knicks' front office who could bring Anthony with him.
Walsh has had it on the back burner for some time to hire a lead assistant with a big enough profile -- and substantial enough resume -- to replace him when he retires. Such a move would create a rare spasm of continuity for an organization that had known nothing but change and turmoil prior to Walsh's hiring two years ago. Strong indications within the organization this summer have pointed to former player Allan Houston being groomed as Walsh's successor. Houston impressed Dolan and other team officials with his performance in an expanded role during the free-agency period this summer.
Walsh is two years into a four-year contract, and the Knicks must decide by March 31, 2011 whether to guarantee the final year of the deal.
Anthony, an ideal fit for the Knicks, already has told confidants this summer that he's eager to explore playing in New York. His dilemma is whether to turn down a three-year, $65 million extension offer from the Nuggets with only 10 months left in the current collective bargaining agreement. The new deal is expected to be much less lucrative for players. Sources say owners who were rattled by this summer's free-agent frenzy -- orchestrated by CAA, which represented James, Wade and Chris Bosh -- are determined to clamp down not only on player salaries in the new agreement, but also player movement.
Anthony's desire to play in New York is so strong, sources say, that those close to the three-time All-Star have scoffed at the efforts of executives touting themselves as being able to deliver him.
"Carmelo already wants to play in New York," one person with knowledge of his plans told CBSSports.com. "He doesn't need anybody to bring him there. He's a gunslinger. That situation is perfect for him."
Anthony's teammate, Chauncey Billups, said after Team USA practice Tuesday that he still doesn't know whether Anthony will sign the extension or test the free-agent waters next summer.
"If I was a betting man? I don’t know," Billups said. "Of course, I'm biased because I'm playing on the team that he’s playing on. But I'm optimistic that he’s going to come back and play for the Nuggets. I know he loves the city. Shoot, he’s been there since he was 20 years old. So I'm optimistic, but I don’t know. I wish I did, but I don’t."
Posted on: August 10, 2010 6:06 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2010 7:13 pm
NEW YORK -- Three members of the Team USA coaching staff weighed in Tuesday on the Knicks' controversial hiring of Isiah Thomas as a consultant, with Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim saying it crossed a line that shouldn't be crossed.
"If it’s good one place, then it’s good anywhere," Boeheim said after the U.S. men's national team scrimmaged on the city's West Side in preparation for the upcoming FIBA World Championships in Turkey. "You throw all that out there, and it wouldn’t be good. It doesn’t make much sense to me. I just don’t think it’s a good thing."
Krzyzewski, head coach of the U.S. team that opened a week-long training camp in New York, was more measured in his opinions on the Knicks' decision to employ Thomas, a former team president and currently an NCAA head coach at Florida International. Saying Thomas is his friend, Krzyzewski stopped short of saying the arrangement was unseemly, but made it clear that it wasn't something he'd do.
But the coach with the largest crowd of reporters around him was the Knicks' Mike D'Antoni, a Team USA assistant who will not be traveling to Turkey as he treats a back problem. D'Antoni struggled to put a positive spin on the return of Thomas to the organization that ousted him after an embarrassing tenure as both team president and coach. Aside from the obvious conflict of interest -- and strong possibility that the hiring is a violation of NBA rules -- some have painted Thomas' return as a reflection of how Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan views the performance of D'Antoni and team president Donnie Walsh.
Several times during an interview session with reporters on the practice court at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, D'Antoni repeated that Thomas' vaguely defined role within the Knicks' hierarchy is "not my area." D'Antoni said he learned of the decision "like everybody else" -- in a news release distributed Friday by the Knicks.
"He is a Hall of Famer and he’s one of the top 50 players in the game and he has a lot of credibility out there," D'Antoni said. "Donnie is very smart to be able to tap into him when he needs him, and if it’s an advantage to the Knicks, we’ll use it. That’s about all there is. There’s not a whole lot else to it."
Asked if the Knicks' attempt to bring Thomas back into the power structure from which he was ousted only two years ago reflected poorly on Walsh's standing with Dolan, D'Antoni said, "Donnie is running the show. He’s made some unbelievable moves up til now and we’ve got a nice young team coming on. I hate all the hoopla on the other end, but we should be focused on the upcoming season. That’s kind of what I’m focused on."
Dolan's decision to re-employ Thomas, according to sources, stemmed from the team's disappointing recruitment of top free agents this summer. After the team fell short in its pursuit of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade -- who united with Chris Bosh in Miami -- some elements within the organization became convinced that the team needed someone of Thomas' stature as a Hall of Fame player to close the deal with future free agents Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul or Tony Parker. Thomas, in fact, sold himself to Dolan as having played an important role in the Knicks' signing of Amar'e Stoudemire and also secured an 11th-hour meeting with James' representatives in a failed attempt to steer him to the Knicks.
But even if the Knicks attempted to narrowly define Thomas' role simply as a free-agent recruiter, sources have told CBSSports.com that the arrangement will nonetheless have a difficult time withstanding the test of the NBA rulebook. The league's constitution and by-laws explicitly forbid any NBA coach, scout, executive or consultant from having contact with draft-ineligible players -- an obvious requirement of an NCAA coach's job. League officials and lawyers are in the process of reviewing the legality of Thomas' hiring.
Boeheim, whose Syracuse team famously lost the 1987 NCAA championship game to Thomas' alma mater, Indiana, on Keith Smart's game-winning shot, doesn't need lawyers to tell him the arrangement makes no sense.
"You would maybe understand it if it was a guy that was retired and had tremendous success in the NBA and won something -- anything," Boeheim said. "And somebody said, 'Well, why don’t you just give us your sense of things.' I could see that. But I can't see this."
Posted on: March 18, 2010 1:15 pm
Edited on: March 19, 2010 8:11 am
Mark Jackson’s decision to sign with an agent this week has not gone unnoticed in coaching circles, where it is believed that the former All-Star point guard and current broadcaster finally will get his chance to roam the sidelines as an NBA head coach.
Jackson did not employ an agent when he was in the running for head coaching jobs in New York and Minnesota last summer and Phoenix in 2008, preferring to deal one-on-one with team executives. Jackson, 44, got passed over for all three jobs but is expected to be in demand once the NBA’s coaching carousel starts spinning at the end of April.
“Despite the economy and the potential work stoppage, there’s going to be more movement than we’ve seen in the past,” said one person involved in the coaching business.
The two most sensible landing spots for the ABC/ESPN commentator are the Clippers and Nets, according to sources familiar with both situations. Jackson lives in Los Angeles and is a native New Yorker. Despite turmoil in both organizations, the situations will be extremely attractive for top coaching candidates this summer.
One person familiar with how coaching candidates view the Clippers job described the team as being in the “best shape in the league” payroll-wise and talent-wise. There are signs that frugal owner Donald M. Sterling, who demoted and then fired former coach and GM Mike Dunleavy in recent weeks, could be ready to open his notoriously tight checkbook for a high-profile name like Jackson. The Nets, according to sources, would be viewed as more of a longer-term growth opportunity for Jackson, who has no previous coaching experience. But the cap space to sign a max free agent, the possibility of landing presumed No. 1 pick John Wall, and the team’s eventual move to a new arena in Brooklyn – one borough over from Jackson’s native Queens – might overshadow the fact that the Nets (7-61) are on their way to one of the worst seasons in NBA history.
Another situation that bears watching is Indiana, where Jackson enjoyed some of his best years as a player. Former Pacers GM Donnie Walsh, who also is represented by Jackson’s new agent, Steve Kauffman, thinks highly of Jackson and still holds sway over Pacers owner Herb Simon when it comes to transformational decisions such as a coaching hire. If the Pacers decide to dismiss Jim O’Brien after the season for a new voice, and Jackson’s communication skills and popularity within the organization will be among his biggest strengths.
Jackson’s decision to sign with Kauffman Sports Management made official his well-known private desire to leave the broadcast booth for a chance to coach. Sources familiar with Jackson’s thinking say he is cognizant of the role his lack of experience would play and is determined to recruit the most experienced assistants possible to help him make the transition. Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans and Golden State are among the other teams that could be contemplating coaching changes this summer.
Posted on: February 3, 2010 2:09 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2010 8:05 pm
The Knicks held a moment of silence Wednesday night to honor Hall of Famer Dick McGuire, who died earlier in the day at age 84. And silence is what there will be more of at Madison Square Garden without him.
"You could sit with him and talk about the team, what he thought about the team and what he thought we needed," Knicks president Donnie Walsh said. "I'm going to miss that."
The Knicks and the NBA lost a legend when McGuire died Wednesday morning at Huntington Hospital in Long Island, N.Y. Incredibly, he was with the Knicks as a player, head coach, assistant coach, scout, and most recently in his role as consultant. He was a five-time All-Star, led the Knicks to three straight NBA Finals (1951-53), and remains third in franchise history with 2,950 assists.
His No. 15 jersey, retired in 1992, was to have the spotlight shone on it during Wednesday night's game against the Wizards. McGuire was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993, but personal accolades and ego were strangers to him. Even as age advanced on him, McGuire used to ride the Long Island Railroad to the Garden, walk into the building carrying a simple duffle bag with handwritten scouting notes, and talk basketball with anyone who would listen. Those who knew what was good for them did.
"He knew what it took to play in this league, and he knew what it took to win in this league," Walsh said. "... He was an everyday guy who loved living on Long Island, loved his family, and didn't take it too seriously."
His brother, legendary coach Al McGuire, died in 2001. They are the only two brothers enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Dick McGuire is survived by his wife Teri, four children, and seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.