INDIANAPOLIS Less than a month after Donnie Walsh announced he would step down as CEO of the Indiana Pacers, he'll return to Conseco Fieldhouse as president of the New York Knicks.
Walsh's past and present, Indiana and New York, meet Wednesday in the season finale for both teams. Walsh said he didn't realize until about a week ago that he'd be returning to Indiana so soon.
"It'll never be business as usual when I go back there," Walsh told the Associated Press Tuesday in a telephone interview. "I spent 24 great years there. I love the people there, and I want to see the people. When I see them, I'm going to be happy to see them. But I'm going to feel different, there's no doubt about it."
The Pacers reached the Eastern Conference finals six times and won the Central Division four times under Walsh. They made the NBA finals in 2000, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, and had the league's best record in 2004.
Walsh would like to have similar success in New York, but first, he has to figure out who will help him achieve it. Walsh said he hasn't made a decision on coach Isiah Thomas' future. Thomas has a 56-107 record in two seasons in New York.
Walsh, who joined the Pacers as an assistant coach in 1984, became general manager in 1986 and president two years later. He hired Larry Bird as coach in 1997, and after Bird returned as president in 2003, Walsh groomed him as his eventual successor.
Walsh also played a significant role in the building of the Fieldhouse, which opened in 1999.
"We have a lot of players out, and Isiah's playing some of the guys about half the game," Walsh said. "I've been impressed with what I've seen from some of the young players. I think they've been competing hard and trying to win the games."
ANTHONY APOLOGIZES FOR DUI ARREST: NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony has apologized for his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Teammate Allen Iverson stood off to the side as Anthony spoke.
Police say Anthony was pulled over for weaving and failing to dim his lights at about 4 a.m. Monday on Interstate 25. He was alone in the car.
His arrest came hours after his worst game of the season, when he scored 11 points in a 111-94 victory over Houston on Sunday night.
KNICKS' CHANDLER WILL SIT OUT WITH SPRAINED KNEE: Rookie Wilson Chandler, whose recent strong play had been a bright spot at the end of the Knicks' dismal season, will miss tonight's finale against Indiana with a sprained left knee.
Chandler was hurt Monday night after an awkward landing while going for a rebound in the third quarter of the Knicks' 99-93 loss to the Boston Celtics.