Wednesday, April 25, 2012
NBA: NEW YORK KNICKS HIRE GRUNWALD AS GENERAL MANAGER
The New York Knicks promoted Glen Grunwald to executive vice president and general manager on Tuesday after he assembled numerous pieces of a playoff roster this season.
Grunwald has been serving on an interim basis since July, after Donnie Walsh opted not to return. He acquired center Tyson Chandler before the season to become the defensive presence the team long lacked, and signed key players such as Jeremy Lin, Baron Davis, Steve Novak and JR Smith along the way.
The Knicks went into Tuesday still with hopes of finishing sixth in the Eastern Conference, despite a tumultuous season that saw coach Mike D'Antoni resign in March.
Walsh made the two big moves that finally got the Knicks back to the playoffs last season, signing Amare Stoudemire in July 2010 and trading for Carmelo Anthony last February. But the work for rounding out the roster fell to Grunwald after Dolan and Walsh couldn't agree on a contract extension in June.
Grunwald's first big move surprised many around the NBA. Even Chandler was stunned when the Knicks, despite salary constraints, emerged as a suitor for him when the lockout ended. Grunwald made room for the former Dallas center by taking advantage of the new amnesty clause to waive veteran point guard Chauncey Billups so his salary wouldn't count against the salary cap, and Chandler has helped the Knicks become a solid defensive club after they had been among the league's worst for years.
Lin had already been waived by two teams this season when Grunwald claimed him off waivers, and the undrafted guard from Harvard turned the Knicks' season around with a brilliant stretch in February.
Grunwald spent a decade with the Toronto Raptors, including seven years as their GM, before joining former Indiana University teammate Isiah Thomas in New York as the Knicks' senior vice president of basketball operations on Sept. 6, 2006. He remained with the organization after Thomas was replaced by Walsh two years later and was a valuable member of the front office when Walsh battled some health problems
Grunwald's return could strengthen interim coach Mike Woodson's hopes of returning. The Knicks are 16-6 since Woodson - also a college teammate of Grunwald and Thomas - replaced D'Antoni on March 24 when the team was 18-24.