Donnie Walsh is working on a blockbuster trade to acquire Carmelo Anthony, which would provide the Knicks with a second star player and vault them into the elite category of legitimate championship contenders. There have been indications that this move could be made by the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The question that remains, however, is will Walsh be around to see the fruits of his labor develop as he envisioned it would?
Walsh, who turns 70 on March 1, has one year left on his contract, but it's a team option that must be picked up by April 30. Walsh has yet to be told by Knicks owner James Dolan if the option will be picked up and Walsh's agent, Steve Kauffman, has yet to discuss the possibility of a contract extension with Dolan.
Meanwhile, the Knicks are close to adding Mark Warkentien as a consultant to work under Walsh. Warkentien, of course, is the 2009 NBA Executive of the Year who was general manager of the Denver Nuggets before he was told in July that his contract would not be renewed. His connection with the Nuggets and, as a result, Anthony, are obviously notable as the Knicks attempt to work a trade to acquire the four-time All-Star forward.
The addition of Warkentien will at least quell the concerns that Isiah Thomas might return to the franchise in a similar capacity. Dolan hired Thomas as a consultant in August only to have the NBA block the move because Thomas was still employed by FIU as the head men's basketball coach. While Thomas still maintains a personal relationship with Dolan, it is not believed he will again be considered for an official role with the franchise.
Yet in an indirect way, Thomas may be the reason why Dolan has yet to commit to Walsh at this point in the season. It was on March 12, 2007 when Dolan gave Thomas a three-year contract extension the day after the Knicks moved into the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the East with 22 games left in the season. Dolan proclaimed the team was headed in the right direction and even ventured to say he didn't think it was a premature move.
The Knicks subsequently lost 17 of the final 22 games to fall completely out of playoff contention. Thomas was removed as team president and head coach a year later.
The current Knicks are in sixth place in the East with 34 games to go with a decent cushion between themselves and the ninth position. But the playoffs are by far a lock just yet.
MAVERICKS 113, KNICKS 97: Dirk Nowitzki had eight of his 29 points in a 26-6 run to open the third quarter that buried the Knicks. Dallas (33-15) took an 82-58 lead at that point, but Danilo Gallinari then scored eight of his 27 points in a 13-0 run to pull the Knicks back within striking distance. It still wasn't enough. The Knicks (25-23) hit just six of 23 from three-point range and were out-rebounded 54-34.
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