Knicks hire Glen Grunwald as VP of basketball operationsSep 28, 2006 - 6:52 PM NEW YORK (Ticker) - Isiah Thomas has hired some help in Glen Grunwald, who may just end up being his successor.
Thomas, the embattled president of basketball operations for the New York Knicks, on Thursday named Grunwald as senior vice president.
Thomas and Grunwald have plenty in common. Both are from Chicago and were co-captains on the 1981 Indiana University basketball team that won the national championship. And both got their start as NBA executives with the Toronto Raptors.
Both also have had their struggles in those roles. Thomas has been unable to turn around the Knicks in two-plus years as president and this season will be replacing Larry Brown as coach.
Grunwald had his moments with the Raptors, assembling the team that came within one basket of the 2001 Eastern Conference finals and drafting Chris Bosh. However, he also overpaid for a handful of free agents.
"Glen is a skilled NBA executive whose expertise will be a great asset to the New York Knicks," Thomas said. "I know him well from our days as co-captains on the 1981 NCAA championship team at Indiana University and I hired him in Toronto, where he helped assemble a roster that made three consecutive postseason appearances. I consider him to be a quality evaluator of talent and a skilled communicator."
Grunwald engineered trades for Vince Carter and Antonio Davis, key components in the Raptors' run to Game Seven of the 2001 conference semifinals.
That summer, however, he spent upwards of $160 million in re-signing Davis, Jerome Williams and Alvin Williams and signing Hakeem Olajuwon. The Raptors reached the postseason in 2002 but lost in the first round and have not been back since.
"I am looking forward to joining the New York Knicks organization and working with Isiah towards improving the team and returning it to prominence in the East," Grunwald said. "This is a great opportunity to be reunited with a good friend and to work for one of the league's premier franchises."
An attorney, Grunwald joined the Raptors in 1994 as vice president of legal affairs and assistant general manager. He became GM in November 1997, succeeding Thomas.
It is possible Grunwald again could succeed Thomas. Knicks chairman James Dolan has given Thomas one year to reverse the club's fortunes, which bottomed out last season with a 23-59 record in a season marked by personnel strife.
The Knicks are involved in litigation with Brown, contesting the estimated $40 million remaining on his contract. Thomas has been given this season to resurrect a team with a mismatched roster laden with one-dimensional veterans.
The Knicks have not won a postseason series since 2000. They lost to Grunwald's Raptors in the first round in 2001 and were swept by New Jersey in 2004.
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