Amidst all the chatter surrounding the recent news of Donnie Walsh’s departure it’s easy to lose sight as to what this means for the franchise moving forward.
Some can spin the name Isiah, some can talk about CAA and the agency’s stranglehold on the franchise. Others may choose to focus on the fact that Walsh may be stepping away at the right time and the team is a sinking ship waiting to happen. That they went all-in with the Carmelo trade and they will always be second fiddle to the Heat and the Bulls during Anthony and Amar’e's prime years.
I can’t help but think, based on what I know and based on what I’ve been reporting throughout this whole situation, that Walsh truly believed he could made this franchise a championship contender if he was allowed to do it his way.
What will be interesting is who will be here next. Again, I can’t see it being a desperate John Calipari who wants the position very, VERY badly. I believe Mike D’Antoni will be here for a year and then Phil Jackson will be coaching the team with the hopes of taking them to the next level.
I have to say that not having Walsh as a major part of the franchise puts a damper on things for me. It is a sure sign that agencies have not just taken over athlete’s interests, but franchise interests as well. There’s an element that just doesn’t sit well with me. But I can’t say I’m surprised considering I couldn’t stomach the AAU circuit when I coached high school ball. The game is evolving, but what Walsh will continue do in his next stop, and there will be one, is evaluate talent. That will never change and that’s what drives me as someone who has been immersed in basketball for his entire life. I learned a lot from Walsh during his tenure in terms of patience in making a deal and understanding how to evaluate. I learned that from a few conversations and from watching it from afar.
What Walsh leaves is legacy surrounding putting the franchise back to a point of respectability at a time when the franchise was the laughingstock of SPORTS, not just basketball. Real Knicks fans won’t forget that. Walsh had his moments of weakness and may not have always made the right move, but his decision was always done for the sake of the franchise. That was his main objective. Team first, self second.
Sadly, that feeling wasn’t mutual from ownership.