Donnie Walsh, Pacers adviser and former Knicks president knows what it’s like to try to sell players on playing in New York: you can’t. So as Phil Jackson looks to convince this year’s free agents to take the court in the Big Apple, Walsh has some words of wisdom (Post, April 10).
“That’s one of the most misunderstood things in the NBA, to be honest with you, that you can talk a veteran NBA player into coming to a city just by sitting down with him, talking to him and offering him the most money,” Walsh said in a radio interview. “These guys know what they want to do. They have their own agendas, and they know whether they want to go to New York or they don’t want to go to New York. And there are a lot that want to go to New York, so it isn’t like there aren’t people out there.
“But if you pick out, let’s say, LeBron James, you don’t know like what he wants to do. If you think you can go up and talk to him for a while and he’s going to come flying down there, that’s not going to happen. They see their careers in certain ways and what they want to do, they want to do.
“I don’t think it’s really up to Phil Jackson to talk them into it. They know if they get the salary they want, they know what New York’s all about, if they want to get into that, a big city like New York and live in it and an exciting city with good fans, then they’re going to do it. If they don’t like that, and not everybody likes that, they’ll go somewhere else.”
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
During much of Donnie Walsh’s tenure with the Knicks (parts of 2010 and 2011, specifically) the longtime executive wanted to bring home a Big Apple hero and groom Chris Mullin into his replacement as General Manager and/or President.
However, true to (previous) form, James Dolan inferred with a basketball decision, strongly believing that Mullin was not cut out to be an executive. The Hall of Fame forward, who Walsh once signed in the twilight of his playing career to play for the Pacers, was Vice President of the Golden State Warriors from 2004-2009. The team he built once beat the Dallas Mavericks (the number one seed in the West) as the eighth seed, a rather impressive feat, to say the least.
If Walsh had hired Mullin, perhaps there wouldn’t have been such a disconnection with management following his departure, and the Knicks wouldn’t be in the position they’re in today. That, of course, is absolute speculation.
Fast-forward to 2015, and Mullin is being celebrated back at St. John’s University, where he will step up as a first-time head coach this coming fall.
With Phil Jackson running the show, the Knicks already know a thing or two about taking a chance on unproven talent.
Still, Mullin sympathizes with Derek Fisher, who he actually signed to play for Golden State in 2004.
“I do, yes. It’s tough, man. I don’t know if people understand — losing is tough,” he told the New York Post in a recent interview. “It keeps you up. It’s not good for your health, you know? And you start thinking, you can’t get things out of your head. … It’s not good for you. I do have empathy for him.”
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
Phil Jackson is currently working for the Knicks under a five-year, $60 million contract that he signed last March. Just over a year into things, and the team is putting the finishing touches on what has progressed into the worst season in franchise history.
Following last season’s decline, it didn’t appear as though things couldn’t get any worse. Clearly, that narrative was incorrect. Jackson swapped out Mike Woodson for first-time head coach Derek Fisher, hoping for a new start and a fresh voice in the locker room, but New York has failed once again, this time, to turn things around.
Nevertheless, Jackson’s tenure is going to be a process. His first full season (this season) in town was set to be transitional period, and it has been. The Knicks are hoping to spark something positive following the NBA Draft and this summer’s free agency. Still, there’s a chance the team’s potential summer targets turn their backs on the Knicks, and Jackson subsequently falls flat on his face in his first go-around at recruiting, so to speak.
Knicks’ owner James Dolan appears to have faith. What’s more, he doesn’t believe the status of the Knicks will come to a point where he will need to step in and interfere with Jackson’s plans. While the future may look bleak now, the owner isn’t of the mindset that they’ll continue to decline. He even went as far as saying New York has made “progress” in a recent interview.
If Jackson wants to right the Knicks’ ship once and for all, he must plan on doing it rather quickly. He’s alluded to the fact that he’s likely to step away before his contractual obligation is up on multiple occasions.
The clock is ticking.
Knicks president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills addressed season ticket holders on their strategy for this upcoming offseason as the Knicks try to bounce back from their record-breaking terrible season. Along with their plans for the draft and free agency, Jackson also mentioned which players he hoped would be sticking around next season (Knicks, April 8).
Jackson and Mills both praised Lou Amundson, Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway for their character on and off the court.
“They brought a lot of joy to us just by watching how they play,” Jackson said. “Great energy, team players, they do a job out there and they all can play defense and they’re two-way players as we say. So, that kind of says in a nutshell about what’s going to happen with this team. That’s the direction we’re looking to go.”
The front office is looking to pull a draft pick and free agents who would fit with those characters already making an impact on the squad.
“On July 1st, we chase free agents that we know are likely to come to this organization and we do that in a way that compliments our draft choice and compliments the team and the way we want to play basketball,” Jackson said.
The full event, which took place at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, aired on MSG Network Wednesday night.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
Should the Knicks lose each of their final four games this season, they’ll subsequently assume the worst record in all of the NBA. This would guarantee them a top four selection in this coming summer’s rookie draft.
Of course, the players on today’s team are clearly short-sided, caring more about the product they put forth at this current time. No athlete wants to be a part of a team that finishes in last place. It’s a reflection upon them and their respective efforts. But alas, New York has also succumbed to the worst record in franchise history. Worst record in the league almost pales in comparison.
While they might not come out and admit it, team officials are secretly hoping for the “worst” possible finish. At this point, it’s what’s best for the team. It gives the Knicks the best chance at snagging one of the more talented players in the draft.
The Knicks could use a big man, and there’s no denying that centers often prove to be more expensive in the open market during free agency. This means it’d be smarter for the Knicks to draft such a player, and aim to make him one of the backbones for a potential future run back to greatness.
With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see how New York will prioritize the prospects. Karl Anthony-Towns and Jahlil Okafor are clearly the top for most teams, but following each one’s emergence in the Final Four, will the Knicks favor Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky over the likes of D’Angelo Russell and/or Emmanuel Mudiay? That remains to be seen.
Recap: The Pacers swept the season series from the host Knicks in their bid to earn an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Need to know: The Pacers swept the Knicks for the second time in franchise history (also 4-0 in 2007-08).
The Pacers led 54-38 at halftime and remained in control the rest of the way. George Hill had 20 points and Roy Hibbert 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead Indiana, which outrebounded the Knicks, 54-34. Luis Scola added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Langston Galloway had 19 points and Andrea Bargnani 19 for the Knicks.
The Knicks reverted to their usual shooting ways, hitting 34.6 percent from the floor. In their Sunday victory over the 76ers, the Knicks shot more than 50 percent for the first time in 55 games.
The Pacers were without Chris Copeland who was stabbed in an early-morning incident in Chelsea
Indiana has won three in a row after dropping nine of 11.
Links: AP recap | Box Score
What’s Next: The Knicks host the Bucks Friday (7:30 p.m.)
The Indiana Pacers are in New York to take on the Knicks on Wednesday night.
The game is scheduled for 7:30 on MSG and ESPN New York.
Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, Andrea Bargnani, Langston Galloway and Shane Larkin are expected to start.
Former Knick and current Pacer Chris Copeland was stabbed last night in Chelsea. He is in stable condition.
February 4, 2015 – New York jumped out to a blazing start as they took a 29-22 lead after twelve minutes only to be outscored 67-32 over the next two quarters as they were easily defeated 103-82 by the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks with 18 points over 25 minutes. Lou Amundson posted a season best 17 points and three rebounds over 21 minutes. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 11 points off the bench. Rodney Stuckey led the Pacers with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists over 32 minutes. Roy Hibbert recorded 18 points and five rebounds over 24 minutes. David West and Soloman Hill each added 10 points. To read more of this story, click here