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View Full Version : Article: Change of Pacers upstairs (from Boston Globe)



BostonConnection
11-18-2007, 03:13 PM
As far as I can tell this article hasn't been posted here yet, talks about Donnie possibly going to work for another franchise - Peter May suggests the Knicks would be a good fit:

http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/articles/2007/11/18/change_of_pacers_upstairs/?page=1

BASKETBALL NOTES
Change of Pacers upstairs
Walsh is moving on . . . to NY, perhaps?

By Peter May | November 18, 2007, Boston Globe

There could be a number of attractive free agents in the NBA marketplace next summer, ranging from Baron Davis to Gilbert Arenas to Allen Iverson to Jermaine O'Neal. All have opt-out clauses and could be available, depending on how many millions they're willing to risk.

But there's another free agent who will be available as well, one who won't be nearly as expensive as the above fab four and one for whom no salary cap room need be cleared. He is Donnie Walsh, the longtime Indiana Pacers CEO and president. After 23 years in Indiana, Walsh is moving on, to what he does not know.

"Twenty-three years, that's probably too long," Walsh said. "I would have gone last year, but I didn't want to put Larry [Bird] in a difficult position. So I signed on for one more year. We'll see what happens after that."

Walsh has turned over the basketball operations to Bird. Someone else handles the day-to-day business operations. In that sense, he is CEO in the truest sense, presiding over it all but delegating authority to others. But, he said, "I told the owners that with me and Larry here, you have two guys who are well-compensated, and maybe that's too much."

Walsh did something interesting a couple months back. He hired longtime agent Steve Kauffman to represent him in his search for a new position. He wouldn't be doing that if he were intent on joining the shuffleboard set in Florida. Again, he said, he hasn't set his sights on any one spot or any one position. But, he acknowledged, "I have loved every day of doing this job. It's a 24/7 job, but you even grow to love that part of it. I love the league. And I enjoy challenges. I think I'm up for another challenge."

And we have the ideal landing place for him: the Knicks. It would be a perfect fit. Walsh is a New York City guy, played his high school basketball in the city and then was one of many New Yorkers who ventured to North Carolina to play for Frank McGuire. With the current state of the Knicks - "circus" is a polite way to phrase it - the presence of the unflappable, universally respected Walsh at Madison Square Garden should be a no-brainer. (Insert your favorite James Dolan line here.)

There undoubtedly will be other teams interested in Walsh. Or, at least, there should be. At 66, he said, "I'm either too old or too young, depending on your point of view." You won't find many people around the NBA saying bad things about Donnie Walsh.

"The word 'class' comes to mind when I hear Donnie's name," said former Golden State general manager Garry St. Jean. "He was always straight with you. He didn't try to jerk you around. You'd call him up, tell him what you wanted, and he'd either say, 'Let's talk some more,' or 'No thanks.' Everyone loves the guy."

Walsh has been Mr. Pacer for almost a quarter-century. He endured ridicule from the locals when he drafted Reggie Miller instead of Hoosier Steve Alford. He endured four years of Larry Brown - and they remain close friends. Jim O'Brien is the ninth Pacers coach since Walsh arrived in Indianapolis in 1984 to be an assistant coach. Two years later, he became general manager.

Until a certain November night in Auburn Hills, Mich., in 2004, Walsh had gradually gotten the Pacers to the brink of an NBA championship. They went to the Finals in 2000 and might well have won it all the year before had not the Knicks upset them in the conference finals. In 2003-04, Indiana had the best record in the NBA, winning 61 games. The following year, the Pacers went into Detroit to play the defending world champions and beat them like a drum. We all know what happened before that game ended, and the Pacers have never been the same since.

Walsh said he could not have anticipated that, three years after the brawl, the Pacers would still be paying a price.

"There are guys still going to court over what happened that night," he said. "It forced us to trade Ronnie [Artest]. There was a fragmentation of the team and a real breakdown the next couple years. And that fight also hurt Rick [Carlisle] a lot, too."

Carlisle no longer is around. Most of the Indiana players from that night are elsewhere; O'Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, and Jeff Foster remain. Bird has started to put his stamp on the team with the hiring of O'Brien. Walsh has decided it is the right time for him to move on.

He shouldn't be out of work for long. You can bet David Stern wouldn't object to having Donnie Walsh in the same area code. But whether it's New York or somewhere else, Indiana's loss is going to be someone else's gain.

bellisimo
11-18-2007, 03:22 PM
I dunno - I still have this unsympathetic feelin' for the Knicks...would not want Donnie to go there

Young
11-18-2007, 03:24 PM
Going to be interesting to see where he ends up.

New York? Don't know that that situation would appeal to him but it looks like it could be an opition.

Not for sure what opitions will be out there. I'm taking it he wants to run a team still. If that is the case why the hell did he even bring Larry in here? Why didn't he just keep his old job?

Donnie has done a great job though. There should be plenty of teams with interest in him.

BostonConnection
11-18-2007, 03:29 PM
I dunno - I still have this anti-sematic feelin' for the Knicks...would not want Donnie to go there

Well, I don't think 'anti-sematic' is the appropriate word (not even grammatically), but I'd also hate to see Walsh go to the Knicks for the simple fact that I'm enjoying the utter chaos that franchise has been under in recent years (sorry DKF aka Rimfire), and would be afraid that Donnie would actually succeed in turning them around.

Hicks
11-18-2007, 03:30 PM
I'd love to see him in NYK as a fan of the NBA. To watch him build that program up from the ****-storm it's in now would be fascinating.

Equally fascinating would be to see how Walsh builds a team with 0 financial limitation (not that he was screwed here; far from it; but in NYC he'll have seemingly no limitations in terms of signings or taking on salary in trades).

BostonConnection
11-18-2007, 03:39 PM
Well, yes, if I take off my Blue-and-Gold colored glasses for a moment, I can see that yes, it would be very interesting to watch Walsh build up a team under those circumstances. If I were really being impartial I even concede that it would be better for the NBA from a marketing standpoint for the Knicks not to stink, just as it's better from a marketing perspective for the Celtics and the Lakers to be competitive.

{insert-standard-Don't-the-small-market-teams-deserve-success-too?-counterargument here} ;)

idioteque
11-18-2007, 04:07 PM
10 years ago this would have pissed me off royally.

Now that there is absolutely no rivalry between the Pacers and the Knicks, like Mal, I'd be really intrigued to see what kind of deals DW could pull off in NY. And I wonder if he would every dupe LB?

Unclebuck
11-18-2007, 06:02 PM
I have the utmost and complete respect for Donnie Walsh.

grace
11-18-2007, 06:10 PM
If Donnie takes the job with the Knicks will Reggie hang up on him like he did Mark Jackson?

maragin
11-18-2007, 06:11 PM
Since this is just completely random speculation... intriguing plot: Walsh goes to NY and hires Carlisle to coach?

bellisimo
11-18-2007, 06:39 PM
10 years ago this would have pissed me off royally.

Now that there is absolutely no rivalry between the Pacers and the Knicks, like Mal, I'd be really intrigued to see what kind of deals DW could pull off in NY. And I wonder if he would every dupe LB?

there has to be other situations where DW can flex his muscles besides NY...sure at the moment we might not be competing with NY on the court - that shouldn't change anything as DW was part of the Pacers during that rivalry - switching sides to help them out - just gives me headache thinking about it

MyFavMartin
11-18-2007, 09:59 PM
He's 66.

Guessing he'd be retiring.

Sounds like he planned on it when he hit 65....

Makes sense if you think about it.

Not sure at that age I'd want to put up with the stresses of managing an NBA team.

BlueNGold
11-18-2007, 11:29 PM
Since this is just completely random speculation... intriguing plot: Walsh goes to NY and hires Carlisle to coach?

Nah, they'd have to trade too many players. ;)

Hicks
11-18-2007, 11:51 PM
He's 66.

Guessing he'd be retiring.

Sounds like he planned on it when he hit 65....

Makes sense if you think about it.

Not sure at that age I'd want to put up with the stresses of managing an NBA team.

The article pretty clearly suggests he's going to work someplace else IMO.

sweabs
11-19-2007, 01:07 AM
Called it! :D

http://www.pacersdigest.com/apache2-default/showthread.php?t=34349

Post #5:

Do we take this to mean Donnie is calling it quits from NBA basketball, period? Or just the Pacers GM position?

Because I'm sure there are some teams out there (cough, Knicks, cough) who would love to get their hands on a GM with the record/reputation Donnie has.

Shack80
11-19-2007, 01:20 AM
If Donnie goes to another team I will always be thankful of the job he did in Indy, but I will wish him the worst and hope he fails.

Evan_The_Dude
11-19-2007, 01:22 AM
I remember a while back the Simon's said they'd do anything they had to in order to make sure he remains with the franchise in some capacity. But like Mal said, as a fan of the NBA I'd like to see him go to New York.

RamBo_Lamar
11-19-2007, 02:02 AM
Though a Pacers fan first, I will always wish Donnie the best no matter where
he goes, or whatever he ends up doing.

He is 66 though, and has enough money that he'll never have to worry about
where his next meal is coming from, and can go any place, any time he wants.

I would hope that when he calls it a career with the Pacers, he goes into
retirement and enjoys life spending as much quality time with his family,
freinds, and loved ones as he can.

I just cringe at the thought of him becoming one of those dastardly Knicks.

aceace
11-19-2007, 02:52 AM
Things would definitely change there. Tough seeing him depart. Knicks would be better in 2 years.

indygeezer
11-19-2007, 08:14 AM
I think he sould go to TNT and do a RealGM type show.

He could break down all of the rumors and explain how they would not work and how TPTB actually look at trades etc.

Rajah Brown
11-19-2007, 09:01 AM
The thought of Bird running things totally on his own is frightening !

BillS
11-19-2007, 10:11 AM
Hey, I know how to give Peck and Dougadams a stroke - hang Donnie's name in the rafters at Conseco...

:evillaugh

Slick Pinkham
11-19-2007, 12:54 PM
If Bird and Donnie is one boss too many,

I think that Larry is the one who needs to be called into the office of the Simons.

NuffSaid
11-19-2007, 01:52 PM
Whatever he does, wherever he goes, I wish Donnie well.