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Walsh had said he wanted to return to make them, but his desire lessened as time went on, realizing that he couldn't do the job at less than 100 percent. But he's satisfied that he made enough steps to get the Knicks moving forward again.
Walsh denied any friction with Dolan or Thomas, whom the owner has remained close with and was nearly hired last summer as an adviser.
"I don't think Isiah Thomas had anything to do with basically anything I'm doing now," Walsh said, calling reports of Thomas' involvement "an annoyance."
The highly respected Walsh came to his hometown team after spending 24 years with the Indiana Pacers. He joined their front office as general manager in 1986, became team president in 1988 and CEO in 2003, turning the franchise into a perennial Eastern Conference contender that reached the NBA finals in 2000.
He brought professionalism to a Knicks organization that had become an embarrassment on and off the court during Thomas' reign, unloading some of the burdensome contracts that hindered them for years and relaxing the team's media policies.
His draft record in New York was underwhelming -- high lottery picks Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hill are already gone, though Gallinari was used in the Anthony trade -- but Walsh always said his focus was free agency, believing that was the quickest way to rebuild a team.
"I think I did that," Walsh said. "I think I did the first step of that."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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