GREENBURGH, N.Y. - In his final address on the 2008-09 season Thursday, general manager Donnie Walsh acknowledged the "need to get better elements" on the Knicks, that Eddy Curry will spend some time this offseason at a Detroit-based clinic for weight loss, and that the 2010 plan could be moved up a year to this summer if the right deal - and right franchise player - come along.
But he and coach Mike D'Antoni tried to stress that Knicks fans can't lose focus on the grand plan, which is to build a championship-caliber team. And that doesn't happen in one year.
"It's pretty easy to get to 40 wins and get to mediocrity. You can do that," D'Antoni said. "You throw money at people, you can get there. We don't want to get stuck in mediocrity. You want to make the right decisions. You want to go slowly and not just, 'Oh, my God, we've got to do something because [the media] is after us.' . . . There's a lot of teams that get stuck, and then now what do they do? The cap's gone and now you're not quite good enough."
Sound familiar? That essentially was the failed plan of the previous regime, in which Isiah Thomas recklessly piled contract after contract on the bloated payroll without much thought into how the players actually fit the puzzle. "That's exactly what we don't want to do," Walsh said, not in direct reference to Thomas but to the overspending mentality in general.
Chris Bosh, however, is a different situation. The Raptors can lose him to free agency in the summer of 2010, and if they shop him this summer, the Knicks likely will aggressively pursue him.
Adding a contract will mean having to lose one, too, Walsh said. And that's why there is a great deal of emphasis being put on Curry, who appeared in only three games this season because of knee, weight and conditioning issues. With two years and $21.7 million left on his contract, his trade value is low. With that in mind, Curry told the Knicks that his agent has signed him up to work out at a physical therapy facility in Detroit.
Walsh said Curry and his agent "understand this is an important summer for him." Just as it is for the Knicks.