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Valentine's Views: Knicks, NFL Lockout, Buster Posey, MLB Draft

Did Chairman James Dolan push him out the door? Did Donnie Walsh decide to walk away from his job as president of the New York Knicks on his own? All we seem to know is that Dolan apparently wanted the 70-year-old Walsh to commit to a new long-term deal and Walsh did not want to do that.

Oh, and now we know one other thing. Coming off their best season in more than a half-decade, and with excitement around the team at its highest point in years, the New York Knicks are a mess. Again.

Shame on Dolan if he wasn't willing to let Walsh, the man who spent the last three years digging the franchise out of the hole Dolan and Isiah Thomas buried the Knicks in, continue the job on his own terms. He earned that much, and I can't blame him for not allowing Dolan to push him into a commitment he didn't want to make. Then again, maybe Dolan wanted him out, knew he wouldn't take the long-term deal, and tried to force it on him. Making it look like Walsh's decision, when maybe it really isn't.

Whatever. Walsh is out, and the future of the Knicks is squarely in the hands of Dolan -- and I cannot imagine there is a Knicks fan alive who feels good about that.

Will Dolan bring Thomas back? Thomas says he has "no desire to return" to the Knicks, but does anybody believe that? Why would they? If it isn't Thomas is there really a top-notch executive out there who will want to work for Dolan? If there is, do you actually believe Dolan can sort through the candidates and make a good choice? Or, will he just make a 'puppet' choice, and do what he wants.

What of the future of coach Mike D'Antoni? There have been plenty of whispers lately -- which might even be whispers any longer -- that many within the Knicks organization do not believe the offensive-minded D'Antoni can take the Knicks any farther than he already has.

Stephen A. Smith wrote that D'Antoni's "demise is imminent because it's already taken place among his players."

So, yes, the Knicks are mess. And you certainly cannot feel good with Dolan being in charge of putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Judge Kermit Bye played the role of the mean nun on Friday, cracking the ruler across the backs of the hands of negotiators for both the players and owners in the NFL labor dispute.

"We wouldn't be all that hurt if you go out and settle that case," Bye said after Friday's hearing on the league's appeal to keep the lockout in place.

"We will keep with our business, and if that ends up with a decision, it's probably something both sides aren't going to like, but at least it will be a decision."

That's a pretty definitive scolding -- a 'go solve this on your own or you won't like what happens' statement.

What's amazing is that both sides really needed to be told. Now let's just see if they are smart enough to listen. In reality, the fate of whether or not we get on-time football this fall rests on whether they do or not. It seems right now that Bye's court, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, is likely to side with the owners -- leaving the lockout in place and endangering the beginning of the season.

The Belmont Stakes will be run Saturday, June 11. A Triple Crown won't be at stake, but Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and Preakness winner Shackleford are both expected to be in the field and having the winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown face off at Balmont Park does not happen often. Thus, this could be one of the more eagerly anticipated Belmonts in a while.

San Francisco catcher Buster Posey is out for the season after his violent collision at home plate with Florida's Scott Cousins, and there has been a huge outcry to change baseball's rules to protect catchers. I am with umpire Joe West, though, who was at home plate in that game and does not believe there is a good way to change the rule. Apparently neither does Joe Torre. I know collisions are not allowed in Little League, and I know there are rules to prevent them in college. This is professional sports, though, and athletes competing for their livelihoods get hurt sometimes. Guys get hurt diving into bases all the time, just like Derek Jeter did a few years ago. Nobody is outlawing the head-first dive, even if it is a stupid thing for runners to do. Outlaw the collision and, eventually, you'll watch a baserunner rip up his knee or ankle trying to avoid one. Then what do you do? Players get hurt sometimes. It stinks, but that's how it is.

The 2011 MLB Draft will be held this week Monday thru Wednesday. Here's how this will go for the locals. With their first two picks (13th and 44th) the Mets will take nice players who will sign whatever contracts the team offers. When the Yankees turn comes at 51 they will select whatever stud player has slid down the board due to signability concerns and throw however much money at the youngster it will take to keep him out of college.