How’s this for a new Knicks Big Three: Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Isiah Thomas?
After all, they need a point guard and Isiah is only 24 years older than Chris Paul.
On the flipside, the “mutally agreed upon” departure of Donnie Walsh as general manager could mean that the 50-year-old Thomas is being welcomed back into the fold by Knicks owner James Dolan. That is, if he ever really left.
According to our pal Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com, Walsh’s desire to be granted full control of running the basketball operation without outside influence is a prime reason he could not come to terms on a new deal to stay in charge of the Knicks through the 2012-13 season.
The Knicks had an April 30 deadline to pick up the fourth-year option on Walsh’s contract, which he signed in 2008 following the troubled tenure of former team president and coach Isiah Thomas. But that date passed with no action being taken, and Walsh and Dolan were discussing a new contract that would keep him with the team at least through the 2012-13 season. Walsh’s desire to have full autonomy was reportedly one of the sticking points. Thomas has continued to keep in contact with Dolan and was believed by many — including Walsh, a team source said — to be influencing the team’s personnel decisions.
Under Walsh’s leadership, which followed Thomas’ tumultuous term as coach and president, the Knicks improved from 23-59 in 2008 to 42-40 and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season. He was also the one who cleaned out the burdensome contracts that allowed the Knicks to sign Stoudemire last summer as a free agent and trade for Anthony at midseason.
Walsh’s departure also renews questions about whether coach Mike D’Antoni, who has one year left on his contract, will remain on the bench.
On a day when the basketball world was jumping up and down on the necks of the Miami Heat, who blew a 15-point lead in the final seven minutes of Game 2 Thursday night, were the Knicks just feeling left out of the conversation?
Or is the first step toward a Knicks Big Three with the return of Isiah to Madison Square Garden? All you can do is hold your breath. That’s what Knicks fans have grown accustomed to doing.