Tag:Donnie Walsh
Posted on: April 24, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 10:09 pm
 

Celtics sweep sends Knicks to summer of questions

The Boston Celtics swept the New York Knicks in their first round NBA playoff series, sending New York into the summer with a host of questions. Posted by Ben Golliver.
celtics-knicks

The Boston Celtics sent the New York Knicks into the summer with a 101-89 victory in Game 4, sweeping the first round playoff series in relatively easy fashion. The series victory comes as no surprise, although New York's inability to pull out at least one win is a bit eye-opening. When your starting point guard goes down in Game 1 and your franchise player is dealing with back pain through Games 3 and 4, though, the sweep isn't crippling. That isn't rationalizing. That's reality.

The Knicks exited Madison Square Garden to cheers, and with their heads up. They chose to focus on the positive: the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2003-2004, and they're poised for countless return trips with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony locked into long-term deals. Things could be a lot worse for the Knicks. Hell, things have been a lot worse for the Knicks.

But that doesn't make this a worry-free summer. Not by a longshot. Despite the level of certainty that comes with having two franchise players on the same roster, there are plenty of unanswered questions looming. 

Teams like the Celtics spend the summer dealing with questions like "Who should be our backcourt energy guy off the bench?" The Lakers ask themselves questions like: "Which veteran forward has the proven ability to dish out flagrant fouls and annoy people?" Those are the types of questions that contenders ask themselves as they prune their bonsai tree.

The Knicks have planted their playoffs seed, but that's about it. New York's questions, really, are huge. Starting with: "Who is going to be our GM next season?" Continuing with: "Is Mike D'Antoni the right coach for this job?" Those lead neatly into questions about the roster. "Are we totally sure that we want to pay Chauncey Billups $14 million next season after he broke down in the first game of the playoffs?" And, perhaps the most pressing of all: "We still don't have a center, do we?"

Even with all of those questions hanging unanswered, Anthony struck an optimistic tone with the New York Times following Game 4. ""Some happy times is ahead of us," he said. And he's correct. The Knicks are on the rise, their salary ledger is in fairly tidy shape and the Celtics are another year older while the Orlando Magic appear to be imploding. There's nothing stopping New York from being an elite team in the mid-term future. We could easily be looking at an Eastern Conference that is dominated by the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat and the Knicks over the next five years. This summer, however, will be crucial to making that a reality.

Aside from Stoudemire and Anthony, New York's cupboard is pretty bare. Landry Fields is a nice piece, Ronny Turiaf is a rotation guy and Toney Douglas is worth keeping around. That's five players. New York will need to add another 3-5 quality pieces if they're serious about contending.

New York's dream of chasing an elite center like Dwight Howard, or even an above-average big man like Marc Gasol, are unlikely to come to fruition. Without trade assets or the ability to outbid for a free agent, that top-level talent is likely to pass them by. The good news: there's room to compromise. The Knicks really only need half of a center: a defense and rebounding specialist to make Stoudemire's life a bit easier. Throw that player in with Turiaf and the frontcourt rotation is essentially set.

The tougher question is what to do with Billups. He's certainly not worth the $14.2 million he's on the books for next season, but the size of his partial guarantee ($3.7 million) makes that a tough bullet to bite. There has been some discussion about an extension for Billups that could alleviate some of next year's cap hit but he hardly seems like the player you want to commit to long-term if you're New York, given the age of your stars and the nature of his game. Committing to Billups is far more likely to be a salary cap anchor rather than roster stabilizer. Paying him his $14.2 million and then attempting to shop him in advance of next year's deadline might be the best solution. He's capable, if not spectacular, and his expiring contract would be one of the few available trade chips in New York's war chest.

But nothing gets done roster-wise until the Knicks make a decision on Donnie Walsh. The saga surrounding his future has been one of the most puzzling in the league. Retaining Walsh is a no-brainer, assuming he's interested. But if he isn't brought back -- either because owner James Dolan decides to go another direction or because age caught up with him -- it's imperative that the Knicks find a like-minded executive to carry out his franchise construction plan. Given the gigantic dollars already committed to Anthony and Stoudemire, an executive wielding a scalpel is far preferable to one toting a chainsaw.

As for D'Antoni, the trip to the playoffs should ensure his future for another season. He displayed progress and injuries and talent disparity are the causes of this sweep, not his decisions. He's well-regarded and solid enough, despite the questions on the defensive end, to take a deeper Knicks team further into the postseason in coming years.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:08 am
Edited on: April 11, 2011 11:19 am
 

Pacer speculation angered Donnie Walsh

Posted by Royce Young

As Ken Berger wrote last week, it's most likely that Larry Bird will return next season to his seat as the Indiana Pacers lead executive. There was a strong feeling that if Indiana had missed the playoffs, Bird would've walked away, which opened the door from some front office speculation.

With Donnie Walsh's future up in the air in New York, some saw a natural fit of him returning to the Pacers, an organization he helped turn into an Eastern Confernce powerhouse a while back. But Walsh isn't having any of it.

"I'm angry about that," Walsh told New York Post Sunday. "There's absolutely no truth to it. I never talked to [Pacers owner] Herb Simon or anybody else about it. To me, it's something someone makes up."

In terms of confirming that Bird will be back, Walsh said, "I'm glad he's coming back. He doesn't need it. If it's interfering with his lifestyle, I could see him saying: I'll go to Florida and fish all day."

For Walsh though, his contract is up April 30 unless owner James Dolan exercises his option for next season. There's been a lot of back and forth on whether that would happen, but with the way the Knicks are closing the regular season, Walsh's creation is looking pretty good. But Walsh didn't want to talk about his future with the Knicks.

"I've been doing it so long, I don't want to say it's a big part of my life," he said. "It's not the truth. It's just part of what you are. And I don't want to end it until I'm done and happy with it."

It was reported last week that Walsh's future with the Knicks may actually be in his own hands.

The Knicks would be crazy not to welcome Walsh back, but then again, things don't always work in common sense terms. Walsh has done a fantastic job working the Knicks' ridiculous salary down while creating flexibility and building from within. He's compiled a good amount of talent which opened the door for the Carmelo Anthony trade, something that wouldn't have been possible in years past.

I can understand the Indiana speculation because it makes sense for him to go home where he would be a bit more appreciated. He's done a pretty nice job in New York, but everyone just seems to try really hard not to notice.
Posted on: April 8, 2011 3:16 pm
 

Knicks interested in UK coach John Calipari?

Are the New York Knicks interested in University of Kentucky coach John Calipari? Posted by Ben Golliver. john-calipari

Another day, another rumor surrounding the New York Knicks front office. All the hot air stems from the fact that Knicks owner James Dolan, to this point, has not picked up the contract option for team president Donnie Walsh, leading to speculation that this will be Walsh's final season in the big apple.

Friday's rumor, courtesy of the New York Post, has Dolan considering college basketball's top recruiter and former New Jersey Nets coach John Calipari.
According to a team executive, who knows a thing or two about a thing or two regarding goings-on behind the screens, believes Dolan may have eyes for John Calipari….to run the front office and coach. Do I have confirmation on this? No. I unsuccessfully reached out to Calipari and left a message why I was calling. Does it make sense? Yes, especially in view of Dolan’s disinclination to do right by Walsh.
We’re talking about a marquee (there’s that word again) college coach fresh from another Final Four, who owns pro experience (some of it good with the Nets), is an outstanding recruiter (though NBA’s salary cap may limit impact) and relates remarkably well with young black players.
Shortly after that rumor hit, SI.com acknowledged that it was a possibility but also raised some questions. 
There are also reasons to question whether the Knicks would consummate the relationship. Calipari's credentials as a bench coach will be questioned: Even though he has experience as a head coach for the Nets, he has failed to win an NCAA championship with Memphis or Kentucky. Coaching in the NBA is far more difficult than in college, and anyone who wants to shoot down the speculation can make the case that Calipari would represent a bench downgrade from Mike D'Antoni.
Will the next collective bargaining agreement maintain free-agency in its current form? How important will recruiting be in future? This story is going to generate a lot of discussion, but it's hard to imagine the Knicks taking such a risk unless they're absolutely convinced Calipari's presence will deliver a third star to New York.
Dolan is way out there as an NBA owner, but this is too much for him. If you're going to hire a big name recruiter, why bother saddling him with coaching responsibilties? If you already have a relatively proven coach in D'Antoni, why replace him for someone that bombed out of the NBA and has proven to be much more effective in college? 

It's clear Calipari wields significant influence in basketball circles. His former players -- even guys like Blazers center Marcus Camby who played for him ages ago -- always sing his praises. But he loves the limelight and he's got all the limelight he can handle in Kentucky, where he's revered as a local idol and just made this year's Final Four. 

Prying him away could eventually happen but not when he's at the top of his game.
Posted on: April 5, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: April 5, 2011 11:21 am
 

Donnie Walsh's future in his own hands?

New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh reportedly controls his own destiny with the team. Posted by Ben Golliver. donnie-walsh

New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh has transformed his franchise, landing two superstars over the last 12 months and building the first playoff team the organization has had since 2003-2004. Sure, the Knicks are still sitting at .500 as of Tuesday but they should finish the season with at least 40 wins, something they haven't accomplished since 2000-2001.

The Knicks' future is even brighter. One question: Will Walsh be around for it?

That's been a common question over the last few months in the New York media, as the deadline to pick up the option on Walsh's contract is April 30. Knicks owner James Dolan is often painted as a wild card and some are confused as to why Walsh's option hasn't already been picked up.

The New York Post reports that Walsh's future is in his own hands.
Two league sources say they believe it is up to Walsh, 70, on whether he comes back next season. One of those sources said money was a non-issue, but Walsh had a difficult decision to make as to whether he wanted to return or felt his work at the Garden was complete.
"My dream from Day 1 is to put this team on the path to a championship level," Walsh said. "I don't think it's there now, but we're getting close. That's what I said I'd do in three years. That's what I've done."
...
"We're on the way now, yeah. We've got a core group that can be the makings of a very good team," said Walsh, sounding like a man who could walk away content in a job well done.
The paper notes that Walsh's contract runs through the end of June, so negotiations on a new deal could take place even if his contract option isn't picked up this month.

Unless there's an issue with his health or age or there's a back room power struggle that the public isn't privy to, Walsh has every reason to finish what he's started in New York. And the Knicks would be crazy not to retain him. The results, and Walsh's decades worth of experience, speak for themselves.
Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:36 pm
 

Magic game is a must-win for the Knicks

The Knicks acknwoledge their game Monday against the Magic is a must-win game. But what does that mean, exactly?
Posted by Matt Moore




It has come to this. 

A Monday game at the Garden, not nationally televised, against a team whose championship window seems just as shut as their own, though the home team has brighter hopes for the future while the visitors are left clinging to a relevance two years gone. After one of the biggest trades in a recent history full of huge trades, the New York Knicks face a must-win game against the Orlando Magic, the fourth seed in the East, in March, at home. 

This is what it has come to.

The Knicks are in a position of desperation, losers of nine of their last ten, and six straight. Carmelo Anthony himself painted the picture clearly Monday morning, as our own Royce Young brought you earlier
"We understand how important this game is for us," Anthony said at the Knicks' training center. "It's almost a must win for us. That mentality, that's something that I want to approach it, as a must-win game. We've been talking about that throughout the team."


Mr. Young himself asked the question of how a game which does not eliminate you from playoff contention can be a must-win, especially against a team as strong as the Magic (or relatively strong, as Ken Berger describes). Here's how. The Magic game for the Knicks represents their last chance to right the ship. There are a handful of games against lottery squad opponents before their final two games of the season, a back-to-back against the Bulls and Celtics which would be brutal if those two teams would be playing their starters, which they won't be, or trying, which they won't be. Seeds will be settled and if they're not, the Celtics or Bulls still won't be going all-out to obtain the top seed with four days till the second season begins. The Magic game, however, is a playoff opponent they could conceivably (but are unlikely to) see in the first round, a measuring stick if they can surmount a challenge to present themselves as worthy enough to be measured. 

If the Knicks are going to make a step forward beyond just making the playoffs this season, the first thing is to stem the blood flow. Doing so against the Nets won't mean much. The emotional letdown of a loss to the Magic on top of all the other shortfalls against contenders (the Celtics) and non-contenders (like the Cavs, Bucks, and Bobcats) would be the final nail in the coffin. That phrase is used a lot, but consider that the Knicks have already had nails from those other teams slammed into the wood and the light is getting awfully narrow. 

Oddly enough, the East Coast elite under the bright lights of the Garden have to take a strikingly Midwestern stance. They have to draw a line and hold it. There are other cliches you can throw out there about getting water out of the boat and things like that, but the reality is this: context is everything. 

Going into the season, making the playoffs, even under .500 as a low seed with and underwhelming track record against elite teams would have been a huge step forward for the Knicks. It would have been legitimate progress towards the future they want to represent for themselves, that of a championship contender. But the Melo trade changed everything. It was a move for the future, that's absolutely true. The move wasn't made to win this season, but to build a core. However, it brought two stars and cost a metric ton of player assets. And somehow the Knicks have gotten worse. It's outperforming expectations you set in preseason and failing those you thought reasonable at the All-Star Break. Expectations aren't set in stone, they're fluid. The Bulls face different expectations for the postseason than they did at the All-Star Break, higher ones, and the Heat lower. The Knicks had low expectations which they are likely, but no longer assured, to reach, before the season. Now they have higher expectations that they have nearly no shot at reaching. Their best shot is to get hot at the end of the season and make some noise in the first round to build some excitement going forward. 

That starts with a push, with a spark, with holding the line. 

That starts with Orlando. Must-win games are considered ways to prevent an ending. For the Knicks, this is something that must be achieved to create a beginning. 
Posted on: March 15, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 3:14 am
 

Dr. D'Antoni and Mr. Hyde: Inconsistent Knicks

The new-look Knicks have had supreme highs and desperate lows. So what's the story with the Knicks' inconsistency?
Posted by Matt Moore





There is no more valued word among NBA coaches than "consistency." Consistency is the mark of greatness, the key to success, the building block of progress, and the thing that is most elusive for teams during a season. Getting players to exert the same level of effort, focus, understanding, and execution across any stretch during 82 games is nearly impossible, made all the more difficult by injury, youth, chemistry, suspension, and ego. So how do you work to get consistency from a team? You practice, endeavor, train, bond, and most of all, try and bring in players that will provide that kind of effort and production night in and night out. The easiest way to do that is to have star players. Veterans who know how to execute, and can duplicate that performance at a high level on a Thursday night, nationally televised game against a Western Conference title contender and on a Tuesday night League-Pass-er against a lottery squad. Star players in the NBA are more than just players capable of incredible highlight reels and singular stats-stuffed box scores. They bring it each and every night. Superstars are how you make your team more consistent. 

So why are the new-look Knicks so inconsistent?

Since trading for Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks are 6-6. The Nuggets are 8-2, but that's a whole other story. It would be one thing if the Knicks were beating middle-of-the-road teams and losing to elite squads, essentially playing to their potential and role this season. But that's not what's occurring. The Knicks have wins over playoff teams in New Orleans, Memphis, Atlanta, and a huge win over Miami. They have losses to Dallas and Orlando, understandable, since those teams are better overall than the Knicks. But they also have two mortifying losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and one to the currently bottoming-out Pacers, who they face in a back-to-back rematch Tuesday night. (Update: The Knicks fell to the Pacers again, on a Danny Granger dagger to lose the back-to-back set.) In short, the Knicks are all over the place. 

The Knicks traded in a lot of assets that had been playing well together to get Carmelo, banking on the long-term and short-term payoff to outweigh the cost of sending four starters to Denver in return for one starter and a superstar. What's interesting is how the team has shifted since the trade. The Knicks had been averaging a 107.7 offensive efficiency and a 107.2 defensive efficiency before the trade. Offensively, they've improved as you would think they would, jumping to a 110.7 offensive efficiency. Defensively, however, they've also taken a hit, jumping to 108.7. Sounds about right. But the bigger issue is not the overall results, which are favorable, still. This team was never going to be a defensive ironmonger under D'Antoni. His system is geared to send potential rebounders springing for the break. That, plus the kind of light-footed bigs needed to make the system function results in a high number of offensive rebounds allowed, which provide more opportunities to score, and with most of the personnel geared for offense, that means they're often not defensively brilliant and the result is the team giving up a ton of points. But the team is still outscoring the other side on average. So what's the issue?

The issue is that they manage to pour it on against teams like the Heat who are defensively brilliant while holding the Triad to an 88.7 offensive efficiency. That's stunningly good. Then three games later they give up a 126 defensive efficiency to the Cavaliers, who couldn't hit water if LeBron James walked back in the door and personally towed them to water. They drop 107 points (118 offensive efficiency) on the Hornets, then turn around and produce just 93 (98.9 efficiency) against the Pacers. The Knicks are going up and down and there's no rhyme or reason to it. You can attribute part of the random nature of the results to Chauncey Billups' absence, but not enough. The Knicks are simply all over the place. Furthermore, the results aren't really tied to Melo's performance, either. 

Anthony scored just 14 on 6-18 shooting against the Hawks and they won easily. He pours in 29 on 10-16 shooting against the Cavaliers and they lose. There is one interesting corollary. In the 12 games Melo has been with the Knicks, they have never won when Anthony has posted a negative +/- mark, and never lost with a positive +/-. It seems obvious, but it does show that Anthony is in some way relevant to the Knicks' nightly performance. 

So how does D'Antoni solve this rollercoaster puzzle? In short, he can't. James Dolan (and Isiah Thomas) cut the roster he put together with Donnie Walsh off at the knees in order to screw on the robotic Melo cyborg suit he's got now. Chemistry doesn't just come together, it takes time. And consistency is an even further extension of that. D'Antoni's not going to all of a sudden be able to fix the problems the Knicks are having because the problems aren't obvious. They're complicated and intertwined in effort, hot and cold shooting nights, opponent matchups, and the ever elusive idea of chemistry and how players play and live together. That takes time, and work, in a situation where the Knicks have no time to work on such issues. Either these things will fix themselves naturally over the final month of the season, or you're just going to have to flip a coin as to which side of the Knicks we see in the first round. 

(Efficiency stats courtesy of HoopData .)
Posted on: February 21, 2011 11:50 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 12:59 am
 

Melo trade: No one man should have all that power

Carmelo Anthony is a New York Knick, and it's clear that he's been the one running the show from the beginning. But is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Posted by Matt Moore

It's over. It's finally over. Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the New York Knicks along with Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, and Anthony Carter for Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov, along with the Knicks' 2014 first round pick according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.  

And for Melo? He wins. Beyond everything else, beyond the Nuggets' posturing and threats, beyong New York's cool stance which evaporated into dust, and beyond the desperate attempts by the Nets, including an embarassing crawl back into talks over All-Star Weekend, Carmelo Anthony won.  He got what he wanted, to go to a major market and play next to a star in Amar'e Stoudemire. He got it how he wanted it, under an extension to provide him with financial security under a max deal. And he got it when he wanted it, before the new CBA could be put in place, improving chances that he'll get to hold on to as much money as possible. 

It's day 236 of the Melodrama, and that's the last time we're going to use that phrase. Anthony has pulled off one of the most stunning coups by a player in recent history, and managed to only need eight months to get it done. So, good work there, Melo. Next time, throw us a bone and pull it off a little faster? Actually, we take that back. Don't ever do this to us again. Ever. Please. We're literally begging you. 

This trade represents the extension of what started this summer with "The Decision" and LeBron James and Chris Bosh being wined and dined by executives with proposals, plans, and fan initiatives. We're in a new era, and the players are running the shots. Perhaps that more than anything signifies the key clash involved in this summer's CBA talks. Anthony was able to not only demand a trade from a playoff team, but designate where he wanted to go, and have it done the season he wanted to go. 

We'll never know for sure if Anthony was willing to leave the money on the table to go to New York had he not been traded, nor will we know if he would have accepted a trade to the Nets had the Knicks not gave in and essentially offered up everything but their own children in this deal. What we know is that Melo now joins Amar'e Stoudemire, and that in and of itself is exciting, and weird. 

Carmelo Anthony has a usage rate of 32.5% of all possessions, while Amar'e has a usage of 31.7%. Those are obscene numbers for taking up possessions.  The two are going to have to now work alongside the biggest stars they have ever played with. Melo wanted to be a big star on the big stage, but let's be clear. Amar'e Stoudemire did not go to New York to be a sidekick. We'll have to see how they work alongside together and how Melo adapts to the high pace of Mike D'Antoni's system which also emphasises ball movement. This isn't going to be seamless. Yes, Melo was acquired and yes, he is the star jewel they wanted to add (one of three, it would seem). But there is a degree of concern here and all that's before we look at New York as a team

But all that's for another day. This is a big day of victory for Melo, for CAA, for Leon Rose, and the ever-expanding power of the William Wesley power base, who have just extricated an All-Star from his team and moved him to the team they wanted to move him to. You have to appreciate how Melo's handled all this, even if he started to crack at the end. He's managed not to get fined through this entire process. Think about that. All these questions, all this pressure, all this nonsense, and he managed not to get fined once for his comments. He also managed not to alienate the Nuggets into trading him somewhere he didn't want to go, and managed to secure meetings with Knicks ownership to make him feel good about the future. 

Is this a good thing? We've got Chris Paul in New Orleans, Dwight Howard in Orlando, and Deron Williams in Utah. They're all capable of being free agents in 2012. And a pattern has been set. Sure, it was annoying for Melo for a few months, and hard on his team. But in the end, Anthony got what he wanted, and gets to reap the rewards of playing in a major market and all the endorsements that go along with it. The parties, the glamor, all of it. Of course, he may have set back his ability to win a title because of what was required to get him, but he won't be blamed for that. He'll get to enjoy it, as will his wife La La Vasquez, who has wanted this for a while. 

Behind every man with an inflated sense of self worth is an ambitious woman seeking another television deal.

This is the ultimate empowerment of the athlete, to the degree of forcing teams into decisions they didn't necessarily want to make, and doing so on their terms. A dangerous precedent has been set for NBA players, where the way to win? Team up, even if it means forcing your team to walk the plank. That Denver managed to get out of this with a favorable set of assets is their good fortune, especially after the way they bungled this for six months.  But it doesn't change the fact that Denver's now rebuilding, because Anthony wanted to leave. That's it. No complicated set of initiatives, no overwrought ideas of clashing philosophies, the Nuggets weren't looking to move in a different direction. Melo got what he wanted, when he wanted it, how he wanted it. Welcome to the new NBA landscape of player power plays. 

Now we'll have to see if he's worth even a fraction of the drama (see, we told you we weren't saying it again) he's created for us. 

Welcome to New York, Carmelo. Hope you're ready, because the pressure does not end now. 

For more on our coverage of the Carmelo Anthony trade to New York, check out:

Ken Berger's report on the breaking deal

Royce Young discusses the impact the deal has on the Knicks. 

Ben Golliver hands out trade grades and winners & losers.
Posted on: February 20, 2011 3:10 pm
 

Knicks release statement for Melo damage control

Knicks release statement assuring they are in "constant communication" and that no outside individuals are involved in Carmelo Anthony trade talks. World raises eyebrow, says "Uh-huh."
Posted by Matt Moore

The New York Knicks released a statement Sunday affirming that they are all on the same page regarding the Carmelo Anthony discussions, are working together, and that no outside influence is involved in the ongoing talks. The release actually never specifically mentions who they're talking about, as is typical of this bizarre circus that has enveloped All-Star Weekend. From the release: 


“We want to make it abundantly clear that we have been in constant communication throughout this process and the three of us are in complete agreement with everything that we are currently working on. Together, we will do what is best for the long-term success of the franchise. In addition, we want to make it clear that no one from outside our organization has been involved in this process in any way. We will have no further comment at this time.”

The release comes hours after Ken Berger of CBSSports.com among others reported that Isiah Thomas has been brought back into the fold on the Melo negotiations, and has in fact undercut Donnie Walsh's attempts to maintain leverage in the negotiations. The phrase "amateur hour" was used by one source to Berger in regards to how Knicks owner James Dolan has taken Walsh's legs out as Thomas appears to have more and more influence in the conversations. This release will do nothing to stem that tide of opinion. Why?

Because who puts out a release to say it's not so?

The interesting cut of the release is the second to last line, stating "no one from outside the organization has been involved in this process in any way." The curious question there is exactly whether or not Thomas is "outside the organization." The league denied a request from the Knicks to allow Thomas to serve as an advisor while head coach of Florida International University. But Dolan has maintained that he has and will continue to seek counsel from Thomas as a trusted advisor. 

Dolan's continued reliance on arguably the worst executive in the history of professional sports management is boggling.  Even for an owner who hasn't shown himself to be the most patient, the most rational, the most deliberate owner out there, keeping Thomas after he nearly single-handedly brought the Garden to ruins is beyond comprehension.  There's no explaining it, not after it took Walsh nearly two and a half years to bring the Knicks back to a point where they could look to the playoffs again.  This is the kind of whim that can bring an organization back to rubble after just getting its foundation up, and that's evident by Berger's report that Walsh is reconsidering his long-term place with the Knicks should the pattern continue. 

Even if the situation is overstated and the release is on point, it's a damaging development. The Knicks have had to release a public statement to confirm that their president of basketball operations and head coach are still in charge of basketball decisions and that there's no rift. How are the Knicks going to maintain leverage in the fiercest trade negotiation we've ever seen if they're constantly having to cover their flank from talk of subversion by their former executive?

Forget Carmelo Anthony, forget revenue sharing, a change in BRI, 2012 free agency or any of that. What the Knicks organization really needs is a swift slap to the back of the head. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com