James Dolan: Donnie Walsh Out As Knicks President

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The Donnie Walsh era at Madison Square Garden is over.

Walsh will not return as president of the Knicks, who must find someone else to continue the building job he started.

The Knicks announced Friday that Walsh will not return when his contract expires at the end of June.

“Donnie Walsh and I have mutually agreed that he will be leaving his position,” MSG chairman James Dolan said in a statement. “Donnie will remain with the team as a consultant for the 2011-12 season.”

But the man responsible for bringing excitement back to the Garden will still hold the reigns for the NBA draft on June 23.

“He will stay through the draft,” WFAN’s Craig Carton told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, “and once the draft is over he will leave the job.”

Carton added: “From what I understand, it came down to future control of the organization.”

Walsh spent three seasons in New York, leading a massive rebuilding job that got the team back into the playoffs this season following the acquisitions of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

But Dolan didn’t pick up his option for next season, and the two couldn’t agree on terms of an extension.

The 70-year-old Walsh said he decided Thursday that he wasn’t up to Dolan’s request that he stay on for at least two years.

“I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go and devote myself multiyear. On the other hand, I understand why he would want that,” Walsh said on a conference call.

Walsh’s departure is a major loss for the Knicks and opens questions about whether coach Mike D’Antoni will return for the final year of his contract though Walsh indicated D’Antoni would stay.

“I know that he is the guy that can take this team to the next level,” Walsh said. “Mike wants to see the job through.”

“In a relatively short time with the Knicks, Donnie made a tremendous impact, which will be felt for many years to come,” Dolan said. “We thank Donnie for his leadership, hard work and many contributions to the revitalization of the team.”

Senior vice president Glen Grunwald will serve as interim general manager.

Walsh and D’Antoni arrived in New York following the 2007-08 season and immediately went to work cleaning up the mess left by Isiah Thomas, who had served in both roles. For Walsh, that meant spending two seasons reducing one of the league’s highest payrolls, getting the Knicks far enough under the salary cap to afford two top players last summer.

The Knicks got only Stoudemire but traded for Anthony in February and finished 42-40, their first winning record in a decade. They were swept by Boston in their first postseason since 2004, and the roster needs significant upgrades to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Walsh had said he wanted to return, but he has battled health problems.

“I do miss my wife and my family, and this is a 24-7 situation, as a lot of GM situations are. This is even more intense,” Walsh said. “I’m running out of energy.”

Walsh denied any friction with Dolan or Thomas, whom the owner has remained close with and was nearly hired last summer as an adviser.

“I don’t think Isiah Thomas had anything to do with basically anything I’m doing now,” Walsh said, calling reports of Thomas’ involvement “an annoyance.”

His draft record in New York was underwhelming – high lottery picks Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hill are already gone, though Gallinari was used in the Anthony trade – but Walsh always said his focus was free agency, believing that was the quickest way to rebuild a team.

“I think I did that,” Walsh said. “I think I did the first step of that.”

“With some of the NBA’s premier players, an outstanding coach and one of the league’s most passionate and loyal fan bases, we are extremely confident about the future of the Knicks franchise,” Dolan said.


Full statement from Knicks owner James Dolan:

“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.”

Bad move by Dolan? Sound off on the move in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Markstripes

    Dolan is looking like the NBA’s version of Al Davis. After making the playoffs for the first time in God knows how many years, he raises ticket prices almost 50%. Now he follows that by asking the guy who took his team from salary-cap hell back into relevancy, to take a 40% pay cut?! He is making it really difficult to pull for this team.

  • steve

    hey Paul D everything i said is the truth. Isah is a basketball messiah. He will lead us to the holy grail which is the nba championship trophy. James dolan is a billionaire he knows what hes doing. Isah is the perfect Fit.I pray that another team does not take him from us. LONG LIVE COACH ZEKE THOMAS BASKETBALL EXTRODINARE.

  • Paul D.

    hey steve, just what in the hell are you smoking, man? Or maybe you’re just behind on your psychotropics. YOU ARE JUST BALLS OUT NUTS!!! You have to realize that. Register yourself at the nearest psyche ward. I don’t think that you should be left to your devices.. Go get some help. PLEASE!!!

    • steve

      ya mother

  • Kevin

    NBA and NHL Class Clown DOLAN who is behind crooked Cable’s monopoly should turn to daddy’s crooked pal Al “Hempstead Recovery Plant” D’Amato for some crooked guidance on his next GM. Maybe you can hire Boots Del Biaggio…oh wait, he’s in the slammer…

    Dolan, you have ruined NY Sports to the nth degree.

  • Robert Martinez

    Well is this a nightmare please wake me up! MR DOLAN you turn the mecce of basketball into a dump THANKS you I……..

  • Antny

    To Steve (comment @ 8:10 PM) – PLEASE tell everyone you are kidding about Isaiah Thomas being a genious! You REALLY can’t be serious!!!

    • steve

      you can stick it where the sun dont shine

  • steve


  • RonnieMaz

    Dolan and Wilpon. 20 years from now these times will be known as the dark ages in NY sports franchise history once these guys have literally gotten too old to do any further damage as owners. Everyone rips Al Davis out in Oakland, we have Al D times two here in NY with these two idiots. Lebron did not want to come here as long as Dantoni was coach. If the Mets had gotten just a little further last year Minaya and Manuel would still be at the helm there as well.

  • jeff

    @ chris…..terry…… is it because you are deficient in basic math or elementary reading comprehension or have never followed the knicks tha you DO NOT KNOW THAT the knicks were UNDER THE CAP WHEN DONNIE WALSH TOOK OVER…….

    just asking…..


    the hosts on the fan were never going to mention….since it does not fit into their narrative about the knicks……..just thought we’d help you out………donkey……

  • jeff

    chris…..your uncle Donnie was an embarrasment……as per Peter Vescey…on WFAN….two days before the Lebron announcement….”the knicks were under the cap when donnie walsh took over……this statement is not too hard to verify….

    2) not to mention that donnie is the gm who assembled that gang of thugs which attacked the fans in indiana…..which should have disqualified him from ever getting another gm job in the nba……

    3) not to mention that donnie hired a coach whose style of play has NEVER won in the nba……being an also-ran is not winning…..!!!!

    4)donnie walsh is an embarrasment to ny……and real knick fans…..the knicks are unwatchable…..why should I pay 110 dollars to watch guys just run up and down the court…when I can it for free at the rucker or any nyc playground..


  • Jimmy

    Allan Houston will be the man.

  • moose425

    This is why i have Direct-TV….Ban all cablevision products…

  • Chris

    Jeff = Moron. Knicks were 38 miillion over Cap when Walsh took over. Nothing else you said is even worth reading. You lost all credibility with the moronic comment. What world do you live in.

  • Jay

    Unite against Isiah! If protests can bring democracy to the middle east, it sure as hell can keep Isiah from the Knicks. Lets not wait untill he his rehired. If Isiah is rehired…… LETS GO NETS!!!! Mr. Carton, I think it’s time to rally up the troops for a protest against Isiah! I don’t want to become a Net fan, but I will!

  • Dave

    This is why even owners cannot be exempt from being fired; in which case, the league office should intervene.

  • Chris

    If Isiah comes back, I will NEVER step foot in the Garden again. Donnie Walsh deserved better….

    • Dave

      I can’t disagree with this one. Isiah was a cancer.

  • Robert Martinez

    Well this horrible sinse the Dolans took over this team, we as knicks fan it has been a down fall. I thought when he hired Donnie it was a step in the right dirrection. the league should make him sale the knicks to somebody who cares about their fans and not this guy that have the knicks as a wright off for taxes

  • jeff

    Dolan is such a dummy that the team which was bought for $300 million in 1997 is now worth $ 655 million in 2011…….making it the most valuable franchise in the NBA…even after Donnie Walsh f ‘ ed up the LeBron signing…….all of the owners in the NBA should be so clueless as Dolan……….imagine if the Big Three instead of playing in Miami …were playing in New York….where they are suppose to be….how much the knicks would be worth………

    DONNIE WALSH SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED 10 MINUTES AFTER THE LEBRON NEWS CONFERENCE LAST YEAR……Lebron james could go to any NBA team except the Nets or Pat Riley and Walsh be allowed to keep his job

  • Gary

    Heeere’s Isiah!!!

  • Tommy

    Just once, I, or anyone, who has gone to the MSG Gulag(thanks Raissman) would love to question Dolan to ask what goes through his mind, and what does he really know about running any type of business?

  • jeff

    1) Walsh was incompetent…..he was the manager of the franchise with the most value….2nd in revenues….most cap money and largest fanbase …largest tv market…and most famous arena and yet he failed to land one of the top 3 free agents in 2010

    2) the knicks were under the cap when Donnie took over

    3) LeBron James is 26…the Miami Heat will be the benchmark for the Eastern Conference for the next 5 years……like the Celtics have been for the past 5 years….and the Knicks are 2-21 against the Celtics in their last 23 games….i.e…Donnie does NOT know how to put together a team that will represent the eastern conference in the finals…

    4) if the knicks CAN’T land the top free agent when they have the most cap space and most money…how are they going to land the top free agent when they have limited cap space over the next few years

    5) the Lebron debacle has cost Dolan at least a billion off the top…..Lebron’s signing with the Heat increased their value 17% before he played a game….imagine how much more the knicks would be worth…..200 million easy…combine with the ad rates Dolan could charge madison ave….and if Dolan could raise tix 50% for Stodemaire…imagine what he get for Lebron James

    6) knick fans if you knew how little recruiting Donnie did for Lebron James….you will drive Donnie to the airport……with the coach

    • Brett

      so i guess the fact he took a team that Isaiah destroyed and actually got them under the cap still got 2 all stars and made the playoffs for the first time in years means nothing because Lebron went to Miami to play with Wade? guess what…Wade wasnt going to ny.

    • Troy J Orourke


    • Terry Agoris

      Nice troll Jeff. If your going to make an argument, cite real facts and not stuff you made up off the top of your head as you were writing this please.

      An example, Knicks were not under the cap until 2010, which was the beginning of the basketball season. Thats just one part of your post that is false.

    • Noel

      Dude – what are you smoking?

    • Syrio Forel

      Hi Jimmy!

  • Lucca

    Why is Carton the spokesperson?????

  • ff

    my guess is that calipari will be the next gm and head coach–the whole CAA powers seem to be ru(i)nning the nba these days and calipari is one of there guys. hes always stated he wanted another shot at the nba

  • Rodney

    NO Isiah Thomas! We don’t need him back and it would be a complete lost of the fan base regardless of any success or failures. Walsh deserved a longer stay but I guess the fact that there will be no NBA next year had some part in the decision. James Dolan – Show us that your parents sent you to a decent school and do not bring back Isiah Thomas.

  • Jimmer Cavanaugh

    Very bad day for the Knicks. Nothing good here ever lasts, it’s ridiculous.

    • Tony Korleone

      I hear ys on that J.C. !

  • Tony K

    Probably will be back to the Stone Ages with Isaiah … I know lets have Isaiah run the draft and lets trade for Point Guard S. Marbury and Shooting Guard Iverson

  • frank

    james dolan is a deuche

  • David

    The Knicks will always be a joke as long as James Dolan is the owner– a big joke. Look at the Bulls, at the Thunder, etc. If James Dolan owned either of those teams, they would be horrible– that is a fact.

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