Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Knicks Promote Glen Grunwald

After the Knicks and Donnie Walsh had what was said to be a mutual split after last season, the Knicks have had Glen Grunwald acting as interim Executive Vice President and General Manager after Walsh’s contract expired July 1st 2011.  Tuesday afternoon the Knicks announced that Grunwald would have the interim tag removed, and officially become the Executive Vice President and General Manager.  Grunwald has been a part of the Knicks franchise since September 6th, 2006 when he was named the Senior Vice President of basketball operations.  Previously, Grunwald served as part of the Toronto Raptors front office, spending 10 years with the team from 1994-2004.  Seven of those seasons were as the general manager of the team.

This was a great move by the Knicks brass, and it started right after the lockout was lifted on December 10th.  On that day, Chauncey Billups was amnestied to make room for Tyson Chandler.  It was a move in which Grunwald pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes because the Knicks were not considered serious contenders for Chandler’s services. 

At first, people were unsure of the move because it virtually took the Knicks out of the running for a 3rd superstar this upcoming off-season.  But Grunwald knew what he was doing, as the signing of Chandler has put the Knicks franchise moving in the right direction.  Instead of going into the wait and see mode like last summer when the Knicks missed out on Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, Grunwald decided to act now instead of later, nabbing the defensive anchor this team needed after Donnie Walsh was able to add offensive weapons Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. 

The returns have been noticed right away for the Knicks.  In the 2010-2011 season, the Knicks were ranked 22nd out of 30 teams in defensive rating and this season have improved to 5th in the league out of 30. 

After Chandler, every other big move Grunwald has made has paid dividends for the Knicks this season.  The signings of Steve Novak, Jeremy Lin and J.R. Smith were all brilliant moves with the Knicks being strapped against the salary cap and without their mid-level exception after amnestying Chauncey Billups.  Grunwald was willing to give Lin a chance, seeing something in him that other executives did not give time to look into or just skipped over. 

As for Novak and Smith, Grunwald realized the holes that the current roster had and filled them up as well as any GM could have.  Novak and Smith gave the Knicks the outside shooters they needed to succeed once Lin and Anthony would break down the defense by penetrating and looking to kick. 

"Glen has done a terrific job this season," Knicks owner James Dolan said in a statement.  "He is an intelligent, seasoned executive and we look forward to him continuing in the role of general manager for many years to come."  For once, I could not agree more with Dolan.  Grunwald has done an outstanding job with the restrictions placed upon him to reshape the Knicks roster into a legitimate team on both ends of the court, not just an offensive juggernaut and a liability on defense.

-What is on the horizon?

Grunwald will have his formal introduction Wednesday night in a press conference before the Knicks face off against the Los Angeles Clippers.  Then next up on the agenda is Mike Woodson’s job situation.  Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have already given their votes of confidence supporting Woodson.  That is a strong signal that Woodson will be brought back when the two superstars of the team are on the same page. 

Not that the head coaching decision is easy, but it gets much tougher for Grunwald after the season ends.  He will have tough decisions to make regarding free agents and how to shape the team next season.  The Knicks will be strapped for cash in the off-season, making it Grunwald’s job to figure out how to re-sign Jeremy Lin while being able to keep key role players to fill out the team.  It is ironic that the same players he signed this year in Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak and J.R. Smith are the same players he will have to re-negotiate with and convince staying with the Knicks for another year is worth the potential pay cut they will need to take.  It will not be easy, but Grunwald has succeeded so far and I look forward to seeing him continue to work his magic next off-season and through the draft. 

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