Donnie Walsh scaled back the scouting assignments of Rodney Heard one month before a website reported that the Knicks director of East Coast scouting may have circumvented NBA draft rules by conducting secret workouts of college players in Atlanta, The Daily News has learned…Heard is one of several scouts originally hired by Thomas that remain on the Knicks payroll. Last season, Walsh told The News that he admired Heard’s ability to recognize talent and respected the fact that Heard was not afraid to voice his opinion in meetings.
In fact, Heard and another Thomas disciple, Walker D. Russell, are the two Knick scouts who were pushing Walsh to draft point guard Brandon Jennings in June 2009. But Walsh drafted power forward Jordan Hill, a player Mike D’Antoni favored and that decision proved to be a costly one for the club.
Walsh admitted that he didn’t have a feel or was on the same page with his scouts last year as it related to Jennings. I still really believe that they drafted Hill, a big man, ultimately so that they had the option to move him with Jeffries in order to gain more cap space. The Knicks may have had a real decision to deal Jennings because they seemingly had plenty of belief that they had a real chance at landing two top free agents. They ended up with one as we know.
Hindsight is always 20-20, and I still truly wonder what they would have done if they ended up drafting Jennings and were forced to figure out meeting their main objective, which was to clear Jared Jeffries and cap space before last season’s trade deadline.
The Knicks seem to be in a good position from the point guard standing in terms of Felton and Douglas. And they may have a better alternative in terms of Chris Paul or Deron Williams, especially when you consider if there are salary roll backs yet the cap stays the same, they may be able to add one of the game’s best.