Donnie Walsh Rumors
Walsh said he had normally had three areas he wanted to explore with potential coaches. “Usually before I really interviewed them, I kind of knew enough about them, so I had more specific questions,” he said. “I wanted to know what kind of style they were comfortable with, without telling them what style I thought was best for the team. Usually when you were dealing with experienced guys, you kind of know they knew every style, so you could get more specific and start applying your team to that. “Then, the next thing is, what do you like about the team off the court? What are you rules? Do you have a lot of rules? How do you deal with the rules? I had my answer for that, which is you don’t overreact. If you say ‘be here at 9 o’clock’ and he’s there at 9:01, you fine him. No conversation Don’t make a drama out of it. But I do kind of want to know how they deal with that. “And, the third thing I tried to let them know was, they’re the spokesman for the franchise on a daily basis, which is more than the general manager or the owner or the president. Are they comfortable in that role?
The secondary problem is that the people with knowledge don’t tell them anything of substance. No team official is going to tell a “draft expert” who he’s hoping to take in the draft, and some will tell outright lies to keep other teams away from their choice. Walsh famously did that in his first draft, 1986, when he put out the word he was “going big” to enhance the likelihood his primary target, small forward Chuck Person, would be available. Person went on to become Rookie of the Year. “There’s a lot of lying that goes on, and a lot of gamesmanship,” Carr said. Walsh, like Carr, often accepts phone calls from mock drafters. But he reveals nothing. “I’ll start the conversation by saying, ‘I’m not going to tell you who we’re taking. And if you guess it right, I’m going to lie to you,'” Walsh said.
Amazing as Auerbach’s last admission sounds for the man who’s been making Boston’s draft picks and trades, other general managers say it’s the truth. “I think Red is probably the greatest general manager and coach we’ve ever had in this league up to this point,” says Donnie Walsh, now in his fourth season as the Indiana Pacers’ team president and GM. “I’ve read all his books, but I don’t think I’ve ever personally talked to him.”
Riley also liked that Curry was the son of a successful and respected ex-NBA player. Riley sold then-Warriors coach Don Nelson on Curry as well. Austin and Dell Curry still tried to keep the Warriors away from Stephen Curry. But Austin told then-Knicks president Donnie Walsh that unless they could trade up, he expected Golden State to draft Curry. Austin said Walsh didn’t believe him because the Warriors already had guard Monta Ellis. “I said, ‘Larry, I like you a lot and respect you a lot, but don’t take Steph. This is not the right place for him,’ ” Austin said. “We wanted him in New York.” Said Riley: “Dell was the same way. He was almost cold.”
Carmelo Anthony is well known as one of the top scorers in the NBA. But his detractors say he doesn’t do enough in the other facets of the game — rebounding, defense, passing — to be considered a top all-around player. Ex-Knicks president Donnie Walsh thinks the triangle offense can change all of that. “He can do everything. But most teams look at him to score, so he scores,” Walsh said in an interview with Sirius XM’s Adam Schein. “I think he can rebound. I think he can play defense when he wants to — I’ve seen it. He can rebound. I think he can pass the ball. Pretty much, he can do any of the skills required to play in that offense. And I think that will bring that out in him.”
His career as Indiana Pacers president behind him, he was embarking on a new journey running the New York Knicks. But all he could do, at this moment in 2008, was stare at himself in the mirror. “I was looking in the mirror and I was saying to myself, ‘You are so stupid,’ ” Walsh said. “Because I smoked at that point. I said to myself, ‘You got your lungs checked. You got everything else checked, but you didn’t get the thing that you put the thing on checked.’ ” The thing (tongue) that he put the thing (cigarette) on hadn’t been checked out by a doctor in 50 years of smoking. And now, inside the hotel room, he was staring down a terrifying diagnosis. Walsh had tongue cancer. “How stupid,” he remembers thinking.