Donnie Walsh addressed a story that has been slowly growing within the media regarding his uncertain future with the franchise. Walsh has an option for next season that must be picked up by April 30 and at practice on Thursday he said he does not think it's time to talk about it.
"I'm more worried about the trading deadline, I'm more worried about the team, I'm more worried about a lot of things," he said. "So I really haven't thought about it. It's been generated from below, from the press. I mean, I'm looking for a grassy knoll with some of the stuff I'm reading now."
Walsh went on to add, "I don't believe any of it" regarding the reports that Knicks owner James Dolan is not certain he wants to bring Walsh back and, of course, the fears that Isiah Thomas still has Dolan's ear and may try to push Walsh out and reclaim his position running the franchise.
"The one thing I do know about Jim Dolan is he's honest," Walsh said. "So I don't believe any of this stuff. I think he'll deal with me honestly . . . So I don't have any problem with anything, period."
Walsh did say that he and Dolan have not talked recently so he doesn't know how the owner feels about the direction of the team at this point in the season. The playoffs appear to be a strong possibility for the Knicks, but with 34 games to go, nothing is certain just yet.
"Look, I think he wants the franchise to be going in the right direction," Walsh said. "I hope it is. If it isn't, then I understand, it's that simple."
That wasn't a very confident statement, but Walsh often chooses his words carefully.
Overall, Walsh said he was "embarrassed by all this" coverage about his future and added, "This is the last thing in the world I want. If I were to leave tomorrow, I want to leave here with dignity, I wouldn't blame anybody. I had a great time here. Everybody's treated me well. I have no complaints, all right? That's where I'm coming from. And any of you who have talked to me personally know I've told you that."
Clearly the coverage could create a greater issue if Walsh were to attempt to allow it to portray himself as a martyr here. Jeff Van Gundy was in a similar situation and also played it smart. While the media rallied around Van Gundy and the fans chanted his name, Van Gundy was very careful to just focus on his job and say very little publicly.
Walsh turns 70 on March 1 and obviously he won't be devastated by the news that he'd have to go home to Indiana to be with his wife, Judy, his beloved dogs and, of course, his family if he is not brought back next season. But those who know him well can not deny the competitive fire that still burns within him and his determination to turn the Knicks back into a championship contender. He believes he's close and he wants to see this thing through to the end. He deserves the chance and we're betting in the end he will.