Knicks set to announce hiring of Walsh as president
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks will turn their basketball operations over to Donnie Walsh on Wednesday.
The Knicks will announce the hiring of Walsh as their new president at a news conference, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not been made official yet. The press conference is at 1 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
Walsh, the longtime Indiana Pacers executive, will replace Isiah Thomas as president. Thomas is also the Knicks' coach.
Thomas' future remains unclear. He has repeatedly said he expects to be with the Knicks next season, but that likely will be up to Walsh -- who hired Thomas to coach the Pacers in 2000.
The Knicks fell to 20-54 with a 119-115 overtime loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday. They continue their five-game road trip Wednesday at Memphis.
Word of Walsh's hiring came long after the loss to the Bucks, but Thomas was asked following the game if he would have any regrets if his tenure as coach was ending.
"No, I look back and I look at what we started with and where we're going and I think we have a very bright future," Thomas said.
Walsh recently announced he was leaving the Pacers after 24 years with the organization. He joined the Pacers' front office as general manager in 1986, became team president in 1988 and CEO in 2003. He helped the franchise rise from NBA laughingstock to title contender.
Indiana reached the Eastern Conference finals six times and won the Central Division four times during Walsh's stay as an executive. The Pacers reached the NBA Finals in 2000, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, and had the league's best record in 2004.
"I've often, when I needed some basketball advice, he's on a short list of people that I pick up the phone and call around the league for just basketball matters," NBA commissioner David Stern said last week. "And he works and works and works."
Walsh has had a lesser role in recent years since the Pacers hired Larry Bird as their president in 2003. Walsh had previously said he wouldn't reveal any plans about his future until after the season.
The Knicks haven't won a playoff game since Thomas arrived as president in December 2003 and could be headed for the first 60-loss season in franchise history. Still, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan has remained loyal to Thomas, though he has not spoken to the media since rewarding him with a multiyear contract extension last March.
Reports surfaced late last month that Dolan had preliminary talks with Walsh. Negotiations moved quickly, with the Knicks apparently not even interviewing anyone else for the job.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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