Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Donnie Walsh is out as the Knicks President, prompting the immediate question of whether Isiah Thomas will return to succeed him at Madison Square Garden.
Knicks owner Jim Dolan had until June 30 to pick up Walsh’s option for next year but the two sides did not agree on terms.
“He wanted total control and I don’t think that was forthcoming,” a source close to Walsh said by phone.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni has one year remaining on his contract, but his status is now in limbo as the team seeks a new President.
A conference call with Walsh is set for 1:30 p.m.
Dolan issued the following statement.
“Following a long series of discussions regarding his future role with the New York Knicks, Donnie Walsh and I have mutually agreed that he will be leaving his position as president, basketball operations of the Knicks at the end of June. Donnie will remain with the team as a consultant for the 2011-12 season. In a relatively short time with the Knicks, Donnie made a tremendous impact, which will be felt for many years to come. We thank Donnie for his leadership, hard work and many contributions to the revitalization of the team.
“We will now begin an immediate search for a new president and general manager, but do not have a timetable for the decision. Glen Grunwald, the Knicks’ senior vice president, basketball operations, will serve as interim general manager beginning in July, overseeing all player transactions. With some of the NBA’s premier players, an outstanding coach and one of the league’s most passionate and loyal fanbases, we are extremely confident about the future of the Knicks franchise.”
Dolan remains close with Thomas, the former Knicks coach and President, and attempted to hire him as a consultant last summer before the NBA stepped in and put a stop to it because Thomas currently serves as the head coach at Florida International.
Walsh resented Thomas’ influence with Dolan and reportedly threatened to resign last summer when Dolan suggested he name Thomas general manager.
“He’s a good friend of mine and of the organization,” Dolan said of Thomas in a prepared statement last August. “I will continue to solicit his views. He will always have strong ties to me and the Knicks.”
The source close to Walsh said he didn’t know the team’s plans but wondered if Thomas was in them.
“You wonder who’s standing behind that curtain because you get a feeling someone’s standing behind the curtain,” the source said.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.