Allan Houston was named general manager of the Knicks' new...

Allan Houston was named general manager of the Knicks' new D-League team. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Knicks never have utilized the NBA's D-League for player development, but they are about to use it as a means to develop a team executive. The team Wednesday announced a hybrid partnership with the Erie BayHawks that includes appointing Allan Houston the general manager.

Houston, who has worked under team president Donnie Walsh during the last three seasons, the most recent as an assistant general manager, will run the basketball operations of the BayHawks and work closely with the Knicks and whomever is named as Walsh's successor. The former All-Star shooting guard aspires to run an NBA front office -- preferably with the Knicks -- but wants to learn more about it before he ascends into a loftier position.

"The last three years have been a great experience for me, just sitting and learning and listening and talking to Donnie," Houston said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. "My job has been to do whatever I can to help and serve in whatever capacity. That's really what I'm here to do."

Walsh, who is technically still in charge until his contract expires on June 30, is credited with appointing Houston to this role.

"We sat down and talked about this, he gave me this assignment and I'm excited about it," Houston added. "I'm excited to learn more about the D-League and the players and developing the young prospects that we know are going to be in the NBA at some point. For me, it's about continuing to get the landscape of scouting the players that could potentially be in this league. And obviously learning more about operating a team."

The search for Walsh's successor, meanwhile, has yet to begin officially as the June 23 NBA draft has taken priority right now. Walsh will oversee the draft as he did the previous three years and Houston expects to rely on him as he stays in the franchise as an adviser during the 2011-12 season. "I expect to continue to lean on him," Houston said. "He's going to continue to be someone we call on and trust with sound advice."

With Zachary Schonbrun

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, MSG and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.