You see? It really was a case of limbo for Donnie Walsh and the Knicks, no matter how many times various others tried to tell you it was a done deal that he'd stay as president of the team.
So now that Walsh has one foot out the door and the Knicks begin looking for a replacement, it is time to throw out a few names of guys the Knicks could or might consider to take over the reins. The franchise's timetable could vary depending on whether there is a lockout beginning July 1, so this is a list we might find ourselves updating through the summer and into the fall if a work stoppage does indeed take place.
Jerry Colangelo -- The former majority owner of the Phoenix Suns has overseen the rejuvenation of USA Basketball, taking over the national program in 2005 after the senior national team had lost six times (seven counting exhibitions) in the previous three years. Team USA is now the defending Olympic and World Champion heading into next summer's London Olympics, with one loss (to Greece in 2006) its only blemish in the six years since Colangelo took over. No way he would take the job unless he was promised autonomy, but he is looking for a new challenge with his USA Basketball duties moving into the home stretch.
Isiah Thomas -- If you think James Dolan would never hire him again after where Isiah left the state of the organization before Walsh arrived, think again. Dolan actually tried to hire Thomas as a consulant last fall before the NBA intervened, saying it would violate league by-laws because Thomas was head coach at Florida International. He remains close to Dolan, as he has for several years, and it matters not one iota to Dolan that quite a few people would be upset by an Isiah return, although Thomas tells ESPN colleague Johnette Howard he has no interest in coming back.
Allan Houston -- He has been the front office's rising star for several seasons now, he's a favorite of Dolan's, and he is a grounded, humble family man who would not be a bad face of the franchise if Dolan is content with handing over control of the franchise to someone in his 40s. The question is whether Houston is ready for that level of responsibility when he is still a little green around the gills in terms of being a team executive. If not, one in-house executive who could conceivably slide over is MSG president Scott O'Neil, who was a member of the Knicks contingent that tried to woo LeBron James last summer.
Phil Jackson -- He is a coach, not an executive, right? Well, that certainly has been the case through the years, but who is to say whether Jackson might want to try something a little different after working under Jim and Jerry Buss for so many years in Los Angeles. If you watched his final post-game news conference after the Lakers were swept by the Mavericks, you got the clear impression he did not want to pronounce himself 100 percent completely retired. Madison Square Garden is still a sacred place to him, and a long lockout might give him the rest he is seeking before he is ready go come back for one last redemption project.
The Field - Former Portland general manager Kevin Pritchard (who drafted Greg Oden over Kevin Durant), current Knicks consultant Mark Warkentien (close ties to CAA, which reps Carmelo Anthony) have both had their names thrown out there already and were mentioned in today's Knicks chat. Both are good guys and accomplished NBA executives, but are they presidential material?