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NBA Analysis: Knicks, Walsh Made All the Right Moves

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I haven’t chimed in yet on the ‘Melo trade but I think now is a good time.

In 2008 when Donnie Walsh took over the Knicks his plan was transparent: Do what he could to clear cap space to make a run at the free agent class of 2010 which included LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. As Walsh jettisoned one bad contract after another and even parted with some young assets and a draft pick to put his plan in motion, there was ample opportunity to second guess the grizzled executive. In the first season under his presidency the Knicks won 32 games. In the second they won 29.

With tonight’s win over the Miami Heat, who did land those marquee 2010 free agents, the Knicks already have 30.

It’s been a rough road for long-suffering Knicks fans. And it seemed like a lot to ask to endure two years of tanking for just a shot at some good players. All along in this space though we had faith that it would work. Because it’s New York. Because of our President, who in 30 years as a GM has been around the block a few times. Because it had to.

But Walsh didn’t execute the overnight turnaround that we all envisioned and for which we all had hoped. This season started out poorly and slowly developed into what looked to be a year of modest improvement and more waiting for fans’ dreams to be fulfilled. And through this early period, those who never – from the moment the plan was articulated – wanted to give the it a chance, gleefully continued in their premature judgments despite an inability to ever articulate a viable alternative.

Unless you consider this a viable alternative: Do nothing. Stick with Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph. Hold onto those “assets” and maybe make a smarter draft pick than Jordan Hill, who incidentally, according to these folks, the Knicks should’ve kept. Heck, those guys could have led the Knicks to the same near .500 record they hovered around much of the year.

Of course the retort to this line of thinking was always: Ok, to what end?

I’ll excuse Donnie Walsh for being willing to tank two years to try quickly build a contender instead of sitting tight with nice players, but players who are several tiers lower than the ones on the roster today.

Namely, Amar’e Stoudemire. And Chauncey Billups. And, oh yea, Carmelo Anthony. Let that sink in.

When Donnie Walsh took over the Knicks on April 2, 2008 the only “big three” in the league belonged to the Celtics. This past summer, the Heat followed suit. Seven and a half months later the Knicks have one of their own and the flexibility to improve their roster further.

Fred Jones started 26 games for the team that Donnie Walsh inherited. If you had told me on April 2, 2008 that in less than three years the Knicks would have Chauncey Billups AND Amar’e Stoudemire AND Carmelo Anthony, I would have been ecstatic. I’m not sure there would be a price the Knicks could pay that would make it not worth it.

Yet here we are. I wonder if some folks still prefer Z-Bo.


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