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:
- 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.