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Walsh Plans To Get Knicks Under Salary Cap, Change Media Policy
Published April 3, 2008
|Walsh Plans To Get Knicks Under Salary Cap Soon|
BIG APPLE: YAHOO SPORTS’ Adrian Wojnarowski wrote, in Walsh, Dolan “hired the preferred choice” of NBA Commissioner David Stern (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/2). Stern: “I am pleased for both the Knicks and Donnie Walsh. In Donnie, the Knicks have secured the services of a seasoned basketball professional who is held in high regard throughout the league and to whom I have often turned for input on basketball matters over the years” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/3). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said the hiring of Walsh by the Knicks “is not just happenstance.” Wilbon: “The league likes and endorses this because the league is tired of sitting there in town, a few blocks away, with a team – a signature team – that stinks. They’re tired of this. So Donnie Walsh has all power and I’m sure was promised all power” ("SportsCenter,'' ESPN, 4/2).
Nets President Rod Thorn: “It helps to have a strong team in the biggest market in the country. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. I don’t know if it’s of primary importance, because the league is doing well and some of the best teams aren’t in major markets. But you generate more publicity if you have a strong team in its largest market” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/3). ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, on the Knicks hiring Walsh: “You have to respect the decision that (MSG Chair) James Dolan made, at least for a change. ... (Walsh) is considered one of the best executives in the business, so you can’t knock that choice” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/2).
Thomas' Days With Knicks
Appear To Be Numbered
Presidential Pardon? Thomas “made it clear Wednesday that he doesn’t want to go anywhere.” He was “steadfast in saying he wants to be involved in some capacity and will sell himself and his philosophies to Walsh.” Thomas: “I think with any new boss, you have to sell your program and there will be some things that hopefully he’ll like and I’m sure there will be some things that he wants to change.” (NEWSDAY, 4/3). Walsh confirmed that he has “spoken with Thomas more than once about taking over for him as president -- and that Thomas expressed a desire and willingness to work with him.” On Long Island, Ken Berger writes, “So it is exactly as we suspected: Thomas has been directly involved in planning his own funeral. And he already has Dolan and Walsh acting not as undertakers, but paramedics.” (NEWSDAY, 4/3). ESPN's Skip Bayless said Thomas "campaigned for Donnie Walsh to replace him as the team builder ... which gave me pause because I think Isiah is angling for the one guy who wouldn't balk at keeping Isiah as the coach" ("First and Ten," ESPN, 4/2). In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes Walsh can “give Thomas the last seven games of this season and that is all he gets and then he goes, just because Donnie Walsh is much too smart a basketball guy to let him stay” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/3).
MILLS STAYING: On Long Island, Alan Hahn notes MSG President Steve Mills, who was “front-and-center when [Thomas] was welcomed into the organization, never stepped foot on the stage” during yesterday’s press conference. There was “some speculation that Mills could be the fall guy in the wake of the Knicks’ disastrous season.” But Mills “will keep his position and will continue to be in charge of the business operations for the Garden’s three sports franchises,” the Knicks, NHL Rangers and WNBA Liberty, and the other sports properties (NEWSDAY, 4/3). In N.Y., Fred Kerber notes Walsh will not report to Mills, who "appears to have lost his Knicks clout" (N.Y. POST, 4/3).
SO FAR, SO GOOD: In N.Y., George Vecsey writes Walsh was “discreet and polite and yet interesting. We are not used to that at [MSG].” The “nice part about Walsh was that he did not condescend.” Walsh is "formidable enough to have wrested autonomy from [Dolan], who has employed assorted watchdogs and listening devices as a form of intimidation toward his coaches Larry Brown and Thomas. Walsh apparently would not take the job without the freedom to speak without an underling sticking a recording device in his face.” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/3). Also in N.Y., Steve Serby writes Walsh “said all the right things yesterday” (N.Y. POST, 4/3). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence writes, “Walsh was honest and as open as he could be.” Walsh “admitted that he doesn’t have ‘a magic wand’” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/3). On Long Island, Shaun Powell writes the reason Dolan “may have gotten this one right was revealed when Walsh drew up his blueprint for restoring the Knicks.” Powell: “Finally, someone in the organization gets it. Finally, someone sees the value of putting the Knicks, with more resources than anyone in basketball, in position to go after superstars or trade for superstars” (NEWSDAY, 4/3).
Walsh Plans To Loosen Dolan's Strict Media Policy