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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student


Knicks officially hire Donnie Walsh

Knicks President Walsh Basketball

Donnie Walsh is in. Now he needs a little time before deciding if Isiah Thomas is out.\nWalsh was hired Wednesday as the New York Knicks’ president of basketball operations, taking one of Thomas’ jobs. Sometime soon he will decide if Thomas keeps his other job: head coach.\nThat won’t happen yet, though. Thomas is in Memphis, where the Knicks continued a five-game road trip Wednesday night, and Walsh won’t determine the coach’s future until they have met in person.\n“I need to sit down with Isiah and have a meaningful basketball conversation,” Walsh said.\nThomas was asked if he thought he would need to save his job when they do meet.\n“If that’s necessary, you know I think with any new boss you have to sell your program,” Thomas said. “There’d be some things that hopefully he’ll like, and I’m sure there will be some things he wants to change.”\nWalsh hired Thomas to coach the Indiana Pacers in 2000, and both say they enjoy a good relationship. Walsh said they spoke Tuesday, adding that Thomas has a “great basketball mind” and believes he can still help the organization in some way.\n“Whatever I can do to make the Knicks better, that’s what I’ll do,” Thomas said.\nWalsh will have complete power to decide. Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan gave the longtime Pacers executive full autonomy to shape everything from the team’s roster to the organization’s media policy.\n“His mandate is clear – do whatever is necessary to turn this team around,” Dolan said.\nThere is so much to fix.\nThe Knicks (20-54) are finishing their seventh straight losing season and are just as dysfunctional off the court. Thomas and Dolan were found to have sexually harassed a former team executive, Thomas has feuded with some players this season and fans at Madison Square Garden frequently chant for him to be fired.\nBut Walsh, a New York native, said he is not returning home to be a savior.\n“I’m not the great new hope. I’m just a guy who’s going to come in and try to create a team,” Walsh said. “And it’s not going to happen overnight, so I don’t want any illusions. But I think it has to get better right away.”\nStill, there are high hopes that Walsh can turn around a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2001. He isn’t sure if he will bring in someone to serve as his general manager.\n“In Donnie, the Knicks have secured the services of a seasoned basketball professional who is held in high regard throughout the league and to whom I have often turned for input on basketball matters over the years,” commissioner David Stern said in a statement.

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