This Is Why We Still Worry About the Knicks' Future

Why hasn't Donnie Walsh's contract been extended yet?

The outbreak of Timofey Mozgov fever that gripped the city on Sunday night has finally started to lift, leaving us all a bit dazed and confused about our surroundings.

That has to be the case because why else would we be reading in the Times that there's some uncertainty at the Garden about picking up the option for the 2011-2012 season on Donnie Walsh's contract. Howard Beck got a big no comment from Knicks executives about a personnel decision that would be as baffling as any in the long history of strange Knicks decisions, but, as Beck points out, James Dolan is just as unpredictable as he is unfriendly to the media. 

Still, could he seriously be thinking about making a change? Walsh is responsible for every player on the current roster outside of Wilson Chandler and that means he deserves every bit of credit for putting together a team that is the best to wear the uniform in more than a decade. Since Dolan is the same man who once gave Isiah Thomas a contract extension with 19 games left in a season that saw the team under .500 and out of playoff position, Dolan should have been given the finest meats and cheeses in all the land already. 

Yet here we sit at the start of February with the team unwilling to go forward with a deal to bring former Nuggets G.M. Mark Warkentien in as a consultant and with Walsh dangling more than halfway through a year that's deserving of an Executive of the Year award. Alan Hahn of Newsday suggests that Dolan could simply be trying to avoid making the same mistake he made with Thomas's contract. That's totally sensible, but it still feels like it is giving Dolan too much credit to suggest he wants to actually make the playoffs before pulling the trigger. 

There were too many stories this summer about Dolan's disgust with not landing LeBron James and too many flirtations with an Isiah return to suggest that the Knicks owner has suddenly learned to be patient and prudent. There have been too many awful decisions and too many opportunities missed to believe that Dolan isn't capable of mucking this whole thing up before actually seeing the plan through to completion. 

If he does, we'll all be partially responsible. Through all of the worst moments of the last 10 years, the Garden has seen a steady stream of bodies through the door. There's been no dropoff in attendance or attention to rival the one experienced by the Mets even though things have been far bleaker in midtown than in Queens. Dolan knows this and he knows that he can probably get away with another brutal mistake without costing himself anything in the wallet. 

Let's not find out, though. Keep Walsh and put off the next disaster for another year or three.   

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for You can follow him on Twitter.

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