If Chris Paul is to become a Knick sometime this season, it likely will be Glen Grunwald's job to get him to New York.
Knicks owner James Dolan appointed Grunwald, whose official title remains senior vice president of basketball operations, to the role of interim general manager in June when Donnie Walsh decided not to return as team president. It is likely, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation, that Grunwald will hold the position for the entire 2011-12 season.
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Dolan said in a statement in June that the franchise would "begin an immediate search for a new president and general manager," but according to multiple sources, the team has yet to formally interview any candidates to replace Walsh. The sense is that Grunwald, a former Toronto Raptors general manager who has been with the Knicks since Isiah Thomas hired him in 2006, can handle the job for now.
An experienced group that includes former GMs John Gabriel and Mark Warkentien flanks Grunwald in the Knicks' front office. Gabriel (Magic, 1999) and Warkentien (Nuggets, 2009) have been named NBA Executive of the Year and have plenty of roster-building experience.
Assistant GM Allan Houston, who has taken on the role of GM of the Knicks' D-League affiliate in Erie, Pa., to gain experience, remains the likely heir apparent.
Paul can opt out to become a free agent next summer, and this could motivate the Hornets to deal him by the trade deadline, much as the Nuggets did with Carmelo Anthony last season.
Once the lockout is over, there won't be much to do immediately, as the franchise's goal this season is to preserve salary-cap space for 2012-13. But for now, with the payroll already over the anticipated salary cap of $58 million, it is unlikely that Grunwald will pursue any free agents with the midlevel exception, which would eat into cap space available to make a maximum offer to a third star in 2012.
Grunwald's first order of business will be to sign first-round pick Iman Shumpert to a rookie contract. The Knicks also have to make decisions about Derrick Brown, a restricted free agent, and Shawne Williams, an unrestricted free agent. Grunwald has yet to address the media in this new role. The Knicks have adhered to the NBA's gag order during the lockout.
Players inform court
Lawyers representing the players in the antitrust lawsuit against the NBA owners sent a letter on Monday to inform the district court judge in Minnesota that the sides have "reached a tentative agreement to resolve their dispute" and asked for a stay in all proceedings through Dec. 9. It is by that date, which is the targeted date for the opening of training camps, that the players promised to inform the court.