The stunning announcement that Donnie Walsh would be stepping down as president of the New York Knicks was especially surprising not because franchise owner James Dolan is some paragon of reason or because Walsh had done an unimpeachable job. The shock exists because all recent indications were that Walsh and Dolan were finalizing a multi-year contract extension to keep Walsh in charge.
In fact, on Wednesday, Peter Vecsey of the New York Post reported the Walsh and Dolan had actually reached an agreement, which just needed to be finalized by the Cablevision board.
Late changes were made by Walsh and approved by Dolan. Once Camp Cablevision's required "six signatures" (I don't think my source was being facetious) are on the dotted line, apparently sometime this week, the deal will be done, if not publicized.
Clearly, the new arrangement will give Walsh the control to finish the Knicks' renovation the way he sees fit. If there was any uncertainty about that it would have demonstrated Dolan did not want him back. That would have shoved Walsh into retirement.
Instead of signatures, we have what would appear to be a path toward retirement. The Knicks are a leaky bathtub, and some version of what happened to separate Walsh from power will come out soon. But that won't lessen the shock factor, not when this looked so certain from so many angles.