Allan Houston may not be ready to be a viable candidate to replace Donnie Walsh just yet, but the former Knick, who served the last season under Walsh as assistant GM, is clearly in mind for the future.
The Knicks today announced that Houston will serve as GM of the D-League’s Erie BayHawks, with whom the Knicks have formed an exclusive affiliation.
The Knicks will run the basketball operations of the BayHawks. The Knicks will be one of three teams to have what is called a “hybrid affiliation” with a D-League team, along with the Nets (Springfield Armor) and Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers).
The BayHawks used to be shared by the Cavaliers and Raptors.
Donnie Walsh had a verbal agreement weeks ago with Knicks owner James Dolan to return as team president with full autonomy in basketball operations.
But when Walsh got the contract documents in recent days, there were addendums regarding the power structure with which he was uncomfortable. It became the final straw in his tumultuous relationship with Dolan.
The wording in the contract did not give Walsh full and final authority to hire and groom his successor — which was something he sought. The source said Walsh was offered a downgrade in salary to roughly $2.5 million after making in the $4.5M range this past season.
Donnie Walsh’s tenure as president and general manager of the New York Knicks is ending, team owner James Dolan said Friday.
“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 … at the end of June,” Dolan said in a statement.
Walsh will work in a consultant’s capacity for the team next season.
Walsh’s departure opens questions about whether coach Mike D’Antoni will return for the final year of his contract.
As Donnie Walsh continues to work on the future of the Knicks , his own future remains uncertain.
Both Walsh and Garden executive chairman James Dolan have pointed to June 30 — when Walsh’s contract officially expires — as the important date. The deadline now is a month away. “We’re still talking about it,” Walsh told Newsday Monday.
He would not elaborate, nor would he comment on a report that said an extension will be completed this week.
The New York Knicks decided not to buy out the contract of point guard Chauncey Billups on Wednesday, ensuring he will be with the team for his full $14.2 million salary for the 2011-12 season.
The Knicks had until Friday to pick up the option or pay Billups a $3.7 million buyout.
“Chauncey, Amare [Stoudemire] and Chauncey [Billups] are a great nucleus, as we continue to look to improve our team going into the offseason,” Knicks president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh said in a statement. “Chauncey is an extremely talented and experienced point guard — we are very happy to have him back.”
The Knicks are considering a two-year extension for team president Donnie Walsh, with the matter expected to be resolved in the next two weeks.
Walsh has an option for next season to be exercised by April 30, but the more likely scenario is a two-year extension that would keep the architect of the Knicks’ revival at the helm through the next phase of the rebuilding plan.
“It’s basically going to be Donnie’s call whether he wants to come back,” said the person with knowledge of the organization’s intentions.
The recent struggles of the Knicks have confirmed to Donnie Walsh that the roster still needs significant work.
The Knicks are 1-9 in their last 10 games and Walsh admits the trade for Carmelo Anthony has not made things easier for Amare Stoudemire.
“What I see is I still got to get players to put around him to help him,” Walsh said.
“He can do what he can do great, but we’ve asked him to do what’s beyond him. I know what I have to add to this team. We need bigger people on the team. We need more of them.”
Donnie Walsh’s future with the Knicks remains undetermined and the team president does not want to discuss it.
Walsh’s current deal has an option for next year that owner James Dolan must pick up by April 30.
An extension can still be discussed after that.
“None of your damn business,” Walsh snapped when asked about his future on Monday.
The Knicks might not be done dealing. Team president Donnie Walsh said he will continue to seek a center through a trade before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline, though he was not optimistic he would be successful.
“We think we moved the rock ahead a little bit, but let’s don’t get carried away and think now we’re challenging Miami, Boston and all these teams. We’re just not there yet,” said Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, noting the Knicks’ biggest needs are size and shooting to replace the departed Timofey Mozgov, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
D’Antoni said Ronny Turiaf would be his center in a starting lineup that will include Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields and Chauncey Billups.
Donnie Walsh still believes New York’s biggest need is at center and the team’s most likely pre-deadline acquisition may be Earl Barron.
Walsh intends to bring Barron back to the team, according to a source.
Barron was cut by Phoenix on Dec. 22, and has been waiting patiently for the Knicks to open up a roster spot.
He was a huge success late last season when he signed with New York for the final seven games.