Mark Warkentien was hired by former New York Knicks' president Donnie Walsh. He was brought in from the Denver Nuggets organization. When Phil Jackson joined the organization many believed Warkentien's days in New York were numbered. However, Jackson re-signed Warkentien to a new contract.
Phil Jackson's arrival New York Knicks president was thought to spell the end of the time in Madison Square Garden for both Steve Mills and Mark Warkentien. Many believed Jackson would hire an entire new front office and fill it with his own people. He apparently had other plans.
Despite the fact that Mills was a candidate to become executive director of the NBA players union, he ultimately withdrew his name from contention. Instead of leaving, Mills has stayed with New York as their general manager.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that Warkentien too has been kept on staff.
Warkentien, 61, was the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Nuggets before being hired three years ago as a consultant to former Knicks president Donnie Walsh. Five months later, the Knicks acquired Anthony from the Nugget.
Warkentien played a large part in bringing Carmelo Anthony to New York and knows him well enough to help determine what players would compliment him and play well by his side. He should be an asset to Jackson.
Clearly Jackson values Warkentien's expertise enough to retain him even when other teams were trying to hire him away. From all accounts, he's become a strong voice in the front office.
Warkentien is considered a sharp salary cap guys which is a good thing for a first-time president to surround himself with. Especially when his general manager is much more known for his work on the business end Madison Square Garden than he is for his personnel moves and decisions.
The only negative to this is Warkentien's ties to the CAA agency. Obviously, in recent years, CAA's power within the organization had grown greatly. We'd seen player after player represented by CAA join the team and of course former coach Mike Woodson was also under their umbrella.
Warkentien's association with CAA isn't the worst thing but with Jackson making it clear the team intended on separating itself from the agency it did cause a bit of doubt as to Warkentien's future with the organization. However, with this new pact that is clearly and issue Jackson doesn't feel will get in the way of the team's progress moving forward.
Here's a video of Warkentien speaking about the importance of the NBA D-League and how he looks at it and the draft while he was still with the Denver Nuggets.
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Tags: Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets, Donnie Walsh, Mark Warkentien, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Steve Mills