Jun 26, 2012, 2:21 AM EDT
Donnie Walsh was the long-time CEO of the Indiana Pacers who took a few years off to bail the New York Knicks out of their Isiah Thomas hole. They rewarded him for that by shoving him aside (over differences about the Carmelo Anthony deal), stripping him of his power and making him a consultant.
Now, Walsh is back with the Pacers, reports the New York Daily News.
Walsh, the long-time Indiana CEO before he came to New York to rebuild the Knicks, will be leading the Pacers in their efforts to land free agents starting when the period opens Sunday, league sources said Monday. The team’s No. 1 priority is to re-sign point guard George Hill, a restricted free agent, and sources said Walsh will be spearheading the team’s efforts to keep Hill.
Walsh, 71, has a close relationship with Pacers owner Herb Simon and has been attending the team’s pre-draft workouts in recent weeks.
They’re going to have a real brain trust in Indiana — Larry Bird, who will be back as team president; Kevin Pritchard, the former Trail Blazers GM who may get the same title with the Pacers; and Walsh.
The Pacers have a good young team — led by Roy Hibbert, David West, Darren Collison and Hill — and cap space to explore bringing in a quality free agent or two. They are a team on the rise in the East and if they can lure some good free agents they could make a real leap.