With the mind-boggling news from the New York Knicks this week that saw general manager Glen Grunwald shockingly replaced for that of Steve Mills, there have been several questions around why this happened after one of the most successful seasons of Knicks basketball in recent memory.
However one question that hasn’t been asked enough is what exactly is Allan Houston’s role in this front office going to be?
For years, there have been rumors that Houston was being groomed to become the general manager of the team one day down the road. With Mills being brought into the fold, you have to wonder if that is till the plan.
I believe it is and Houston’s time could come sooner rather than later.
Knicks owner James Dolan has made some awful decisions throughout the years and this could ultimately rank right up there with his worst, but it is hard to envision even Dolan making this move with thoughts of Mills being the GM long term.
Remember he got rid of the general manager that not only guided the franchise to their best season in recent memory, but also improved the team in the summer. Given the little cap space that he has had to work with, Grunwald’s efforts should have been commended and should have offered him plenty of job security.
However we all know that things don’t work normally in Dolan’s mind and as of Sunday we still don’t know the reason for Grunwald’s dismissal, but to replace him with Mills?
Not even Dolan is that stupid to bring back the guy who ushered in the Isiah Thomas era and the guy who chose Renaldo Balkman over Rajon Rondo, among plenty of other bad moves.
Wait, forget I said that.
There has to be an ulterior motive here and I know I’m reaching but this whole bizarre scenario could revolve around grooming Houston to become the Knicks general manager in the not so distant future.
Former Knicks player Chris Copeland agrees, telling Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling:
“I think he’s the next in line,” Copeland said. “I’m sad for Glen—I have nothing but the utmost respect for Glen; I like Glen and I think he’s a great guy—but I’m extremely excited for Allan if he does get that opportunity. I think he’ll do a great job there.
“He’s an outstanding, classy guy, and he knows what he’s doing. He understands the game better than most. He’s obviously played it at a high level, and…as far as basketball IQ, I don’t think it gets much better than him.”
Houston went from being a Knicks All-Star to a special assistant to former GM Donnie Walsh to an assistant GM with the franchise, so it is safe to say that he has the respect and more importantly has gained credibility with everyone in the organization.
However the one knock on that theory is that wouldn’t it make sense for Houston to continue to learn under Grunwald instead of a guy like Mills, who judging by his past resume has very little to offer a up and coming executive like Houston?
Well yeah that would make sense, but we are dealing with Dolan, who has done very little that makes sense.
Houston being groomed to be the GM is really the only way I can make any sense of the Mills hiring at the moment, especially since Grunwald has been kept on as an advisor, a position I would assume that will work very closely with Houston.
However there are a couple of drawbacks.
One is that you can almost rest assured that some team will snatch Grunwald up after this season.
That would leave Houston alone with Mills, not likely the brightest of ideas.
There’s also the chance that another franchise may come hard after Houston in the next year or so, which could speed up the Knicks timetable on Houston.
While Houston is loyal to the Knicks, he’s not going to sit back and wait forever for an opportunity. The Knicks know that as well, which makes me think that Houston could be the GM as soon as the Knicks are in a better financial situation, which likely will be within the next two years, as long as Mills doesn’t screw it up.
Who knows why Grunwald lost his job, but it can’t be as simple as the Knicks felt Mills was a better fit.
At the end of the day, all of this could be about continuing to groom Houston for the job.
When will that be? Who knows, but I would bet it won’t be long.