NEW YORK -- It has been 19 months since Knicks president
"I'm not the great new hope,'' Walsh said that day '"I'm just a guy that's going to come in and try to create a team."
But 19 months into the Walsh Era in New York and we are left to wonder: what exactly has Walsh done?
Priority No. 1 for Walsh has always been to get the Knicks payroll, the highest in the league when he took over, under control. And he has done that, excising the bad contracts of
While the Knicks' bottom line has gotten better, their play has not. New York won 32 games last season, a nine-win improvement from 2007-08 but one win less than what Isiah and Co. accomplished the season before that. This season the Knicks already have been blown out by 23 in Miami, fell by two points in Charlotte and lost by 14 at home to Philadelphia. The lone victory came against a weary New Orleans team that was coming off an emotional loss to the Celtics the night before. The latest debacle came on Wednesday, when winless Indiana rallied from a nine-point deficit to take a 12-point victory.
It wasn't just that the Knicks lost Wednesday -- it was the
They played like it, too. With Granger bombing away from all angles, the Pacers connected on just 23.8 percent of their three-point attempts. They committed 22 turnovers (against 15 assists) and scored a paltry four points off of fast breaks. The Knicks, however, lowered the bar even further. They connected on 26.9 percent of their eye-popping 28 three-point attempts and chipped in with 19 turnovers of their own. They sent the Pacers to the free throw line 28 times and made
"We have to learn to be solid," said D'Antoni. "Obviously we're not there yet."
Obviously. While D'Antoni has had to deal with a constant reshuffling of the roster over the last two seasons, he has been wholly unable to recapture the same magic he had in Phoenix, re-raising the question of whether it was D'Antoni or
Walsh, however, hasn't given D'Antoni much to work with. Part of that is a consequence of the push to clear as much cap space as possible for the free-agent class of 2010, but part is also because Walsh whiffed on several key opportunities to improve the roster. He couldn't entice
These misses not only affect New York's present, but also its future.
Plan A for Walsh has always been to entice some combination of
The lure of playing for the popular D'Antoni, having home games at Madison Square Garden and living on Madison Avenue is strong but it's not stronger than the desire to play for a winner. James is playing for a title contender and has an owner who doesn't flinch at tacking millions onto the payroll if his superstar so desires. Wade has already won an NBA championship in Miami, and though the Heat are in a quasi-rebuilding mode, Wade has a strong relationship with head coach
If the Knicks fail to entice James, Wade or Bosh, what are their options?
Only time will tell if Walsh's plan will pay off. If the Knicks land James, get McGrady on the cheap and re-sign