Preparing To Greet The King?

By Jerald LeVon Hoover
Updated: November 22, 2008

Knicks NEW YORK — Native New Yorker, Donnie Walsh hasn’t been with the Knicks organization one year and he’s managed to do what former Knicks President and General Manager Isiah Thomas couldn’t do; and that was ‘blow up’ the team.

But what it all or will it all be worth it if the organization fails to land one of the plum free agents in 2010? In one day, the Knicks managed to trade the ever popular and well respected guard Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for disgruntled but versatile forward Al Harrington and Double-Double machine Zach Randolph and guard Mardy Collins to the Los Angeles Clippers for former Knick Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley.

In Harrington, Walsh has a relationship with him that spans over 10 years when he drafted him out of high school. Harrington is a local product out of New Jersey (St. Patrick High School) and has been acquired and reacquired three times by Walsh.

Tim Thomas, another local chap (Paterson Catholic High School), was with the Knicks under the Isiah regime in 2004 but he thrived under Coach D’Antoni with the Phoenix Suns so he will get a re-do with this system.

The problem with all of this musical chairs and clearing out salary space stuff is that there’s an assumption that some of the 2010 more pristine free-agents: LeBron James, Amare Stoudamire, Tyson Chandler, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and Michael Redd will want to go to the Knicks in the first place.

And as enticing and intoxicating as New York is, the bright lights and the bling bling of the city that never sleeps can beast if one isn’t ready. There have been many that have been blinded and re-sent elsewhere.

Everyone seems to gush and get giddy over the flee-flowing style that D’Antoni employs, but the last team that won and NBA championship playing like that was in year…?????? Yup, you guessed it. It hasn’t happened.

When people talk too much about offense, defense isn’t that high on the menu. And if players only want to play that type of style so that they can get numbers and make the news then winning isn’t that high of a priority in the first place.

When the Pistons won, they played great defense. When the Spurs won, they played great defense and when the Celtics won, they played great defense. Every one of these teams were much bigger and much better than the Knicks.

D’Antoni said, “I’m very excited about the new guys coming in. This move wasn’t made just to clear up salary cap space for three years down the road. These moves were made to make us better now.”

Randolph was a man-child under the boards and although he had a checkered past while he was with the Portland Trailblazers, he never so much as got a speeding ticket while with the Knicks.

A lot of prognosticators wondered whether he would be able to handle the run and stun system because he’s known more as a back to the basket, plodder type of player.

But not only did Randolph adjust his game, he was undoubtedly the best player on the team while still averaging his usual 20-10. Not only was Randolph running up and down the court but his 3-point shooting improved immensely as well.

Crawford was just a jewel of a person from the very get-go. Very charitable within the community and school system and well admired in the locker-room. His big shot, end of game heroics will be missed as it seem as if he had ice water in his veins when it mattered most.

Time will tell if this system will work in New York or if the Knicks would’ve been better off going in another direction.