Speaking of the Knicks, Donnie Walsh and the Summer of '10 . . .
Reggie Miller never was as big a star as LeBron James, but he was close enough – and faced a situation close enough to James’ – to relate to what the big guy must consider this summer.
Both played in small markets, both for teams consistently in contention, even though Miller never did win it all and James still has not. So, what would Miller advise? Stay put.
“If you’re that close and you are the biggest fish in the smallest of ponds, why would you come here to be one of the biggest fish in a huge pond where there’s so much scrutiny, win or lose?’’ Miller said.
“Why would you put yourself in that situation to start all over when you are this close? Why would he leave?’’
Miller, now a TNT analyst, spoke during a visit to New York to promote “Winning Time,’’ an ESPN documentary premiering March 14 that looks back at the Miller-Knicks rivalry of the 1990s.
For months, Miller has been saying James will not come to the Knicks, but he said the equation might have changed when the Knicks cleared additional cap space last month.
“When I jumped out and said he was not coming, it was before they were able to get rid of Jeffries’ contract and were only going to get one superstar to come,’’ Miller said over soft drinks at a midtown hotel.
“Now that they’ve cleared money and you can have two, it’s a slight possibility. He may come, because now he can be like, ‘Hey, Dwyane [Wade], let’s go,’ or ‘Hey, Chris [Bosh], let’s go to New York, or ‘Hey, Amar’e [Stoudemire], let’s go to New York.’
“He was not coming by himself. So it’s a slight possibility he may come.’’
Miller strongly endorsed Walsh – who drafted Miller for the Pacers – as the man to fix the Knicks.
“If anyone can turn this around, it’s Donnie,’’ he said. “I’ve seen the man do wonders. Everyone dogged him for Rik Smits, for my two Davis boys, for Haywoode Workman being our starting point guard, to bringing in Mark Jackson.
“I mean, if anyone can turn this around it’s Donnie. And they are going to get two good players. It just won’t be LeBron. They could very well get Dwyane Wade the way Miami is playing. I could see him leaving to come here.’’
As a fan of the league and someone who covers it, Miller understands the importance of a Knicks revival.
“The Knicks have to be successful for the league to move on,’’ he said. “They have to be one of the top eight teams in the playoffs. That helps drive everything when this media market is in a frenzy.
“Even when J. Kidd and the Nets were playing well [in the early 2000s], it helped. It’s not the same, but when you have a team from the tri-state area, it helps.’’