After eight days of negotiations, the Knicks and former Pacers president Donnie Walsh agreed to a deal that will make Walsh the team's president of basketball operations. That means the much-loathed Isiah Thomas, currently the Knicks' president and coach, will have a smaller role -- if any role -- with the organization, but the exact details of his situation remain to be seen.

Knicks fans who have had enough of Thomas -- all of them -- might have reason to worry that Walsh will keep Thomas on as head coach. While with the Pacers, Walsh gave Thomas his first coaching opportunity, and The Times says they are friendly. Walsh's resume, however, looks a little better than Thomas'. The Bronx native helped the Pacers to six Eastern Conference finals appearances and some memorable wins over the Knicks. Rebuilding the disaster waiting for him in Manhattan will be a stiff challenge.

The agreement came only after Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan agreed to let Walsh rewrite the organization's harsh policies on dealing with the news media. Those restrictions have been steep enough to cost Larry Brown some money and also get some members of the news media to compare covering the Knicks to the Gulag.

Update: Donnie Walsh was introduced as president of the Knicks by James Dolan this afternoon. Dolan said that Walsh has the "autonomy to decide how best to run this basketball team" and a clear mandate: "Do whatever is necessary to turn this team around." Walsh would not discuss what role Isiah Thomas would have with the team, but did say that the two will "sit down and talk and go from there. I think he has the skills to help this franchise."