NEW YORK — Despite an upsurge of chatter claiming Donnie Walsh only has eyes for Chris Mullin — a couple of NBA observers assert the apparently departing Warriors VP has been promised the GM job — this is untrue, according to the Knicks president.
Relaxing at home in Indianapolis with his wife, Judy, and their three dogs, Walsh insisted via cell phone this matter currently is not on his mind and won’t be on his calendar for another three months, maybe more.
In the intervening time there are more urgent issues — the draft, free agency and trades — to research and resolve. When they are settled, that’s when Walsh will determine whether or not even to hire a GM.
In all probability, it will happen in spite of how highly Walsh regards senior VP Glen Grunwald; because, should the Knicks ever recoup esteem in the standings, Donnie’s chosen one will succeed him when he retires. Walsh’s $5 million per year contract expires in April, 2011, at which time Walsh will have just turned 70.
While Mullin (if free) unquestionably will be among the top three candidates along with Billy King and Billy Knight — Walsh has Indiana Pacers affections and connections with all three — you had better believe there has been no conversation with Chris; tampering could cost the Knicks a No. 1 pick. So, naturally, there has been no commitment.
Yet the rumors continue to circulate to the contrary. In the last few days I’ve received e-mails from unsound sources contending Mullin-to-the-Knicks is verbally a done deal.
A couple months ago, I was alerted Mullin was shopping for a home in Westchester (for years, he has owned one in the Hamptons), but the name of the real estate agent was not provided.
Walsh has been bombarded with related rumblings, and not just about Mullin.
“Some guy called me yesterday and said he had heard I had hired Billy Knight. I have no idea where all this stuff comes from. It’s amazing how much misinformation is out there.”
During the season Walsh met with Knight and King, ex-GMs of the Hawks and 76ers, and told them the same thing he updated me on yesterday.
“I have close relationships with all three guys,” Walsh said. “The sad news is there’s one possible job.”
|* * * * *|
How dangerous would the Rockets be if Ron Artest passed more often?
Imagine how adroit Houston’s point guard would be if they could look off Luis Scola as well as Ron-Ron.
Before the playoffs, I had little idea Aaron Brooks (averaging 25 points per game) had such an accurate right arm from the warning track.
Still, defenders prefer to get burned from afar rather than get too close and have him beat them off the dribble for a conventional 3-point play.
I’m told Rick Adelman originally was against trading Rafer Alston so that Brooks could start friction free, but quickly realized the long-term upside.
Yes, it’s a young man’s game, but this season, no P.J. Brown, no ring for the Celtics. This time around we’ve got Chauncey Billups (at 32) leading the way in playoff scoring, while Theo Ratliff, 36, and Donyell Marshall, 35, are looking ageless for the 76ers.
Rod Thorn is trying to decide whether Lawrence Frank should be retained for the final year ($4.5 million) of his contract.
“Have we gone as far as we can go with the way we are going, or will a new voice give us an infusion to go higher? Is his voice still pertinent?”
How could it not be?
Other than Vince Carter and Devin Harris (less than half a season) the Nets’ roster was predominately fresh this year. If Thorn thinks the players might be tired of hearing Frank, then he’s answered his own question.
Better yet, cut to the chase and ask Harris if he prefers listening to Avery Johnson.
At the risk of repeating myself, what the Hornets need is an athletic small forward to fill the void at the league’s most athletic position; no disrespect to Peja Stojakovic, whose jumper would be worth millions on the black market but he has the mobility of a dictionary . . . and he doesn’t rebound at all any more. Julius Erving would go to the basket more if he stretched for 15 minutes.
Jordan Farmar may be on the outs with Phil Jackson, but the Lakers should have no trouble exchanging him this summer for someone or something of value.
How about Robin Lopez getting a second place vote for top rookie. The voter must think it will get him (or her) some time alone with Jennifer Lopez.
As promised, if not for Brad Miller, Chicago would have beaten Boston by double digits in Game 2. For some strange reason, Derrick Rose kept passing him the ball, inevitably leading to a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling turnover/Celtics fast break.
The Kings fired Kenny Natt, who went 11-47 as interim. Sources claim Sacramento has narrowed down its choices to Jerry Brown and Gray Davis.
Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.