Can you believe it? I certainly couldn’t. Isaiah Thomas came within inches of being hired back on the NY Knicks staff. The man fits into New York City, like Rush Limbaugh would in ultra-liberal San Francisco. No one likes him. No one respects him and certainly, no fan ever thought he’d see the day when Mr. Thomas would be welcomed back in any capacity.
Let me correct myself. One man does love him. That would be Cablevision and MSG owner Jim Dolan. But, for what reasons, I haven’t a clue. Just review the facts. Isaiah is a Hall of Fame basketball player. No one can argue that this tiny point guard was undoubtedly one of the top 10 point guards to ever play the game. He showed moxie and unbelievable determination to win. And, that’s exactly what he did by leading the Pistons to two championships. Now, let’s separate his playing days from everything else he’s accomplished since.
- Almost bankrupting the CBA
- Losing with flair in Toronto
- Losing with flair in New York City
- With the exception of one winning season in Indiana, not many positive stops in between
- A host of very public personal/professional screw ups, in between
So, Dolan’s thought (if you can believe what is in the funny papers) is that Isaiah is a natural at scouting talent. That’s why he momentarily hired him to be a part time scout for the Knicks. My feeling is that his track record on this point is a mixed bag. On the positive side, he did draft future stars like Tracey McGrady, Damon Stoudamire and David Lee. But, he also negatively exposed himself and the Knicks organization by racking up huge long term salaries in trades for colossal failures like Eddy Curry. Those miserable trades created serious salary cap issues for the Knicks that took the better part of a decade to extricate from. That also was a major cause of why the Knicks could not assemble a high level group of winning talent for so long.
Still, anyone who knows basketball can argue both sides as to whether Isaiah knows talent. But, what is so hard to fathom is just how naïve the Knicks owner is to think that hiring a college coach wouldn’t be a major NBA or NCAA infraction. The scary thing about this decision is that it continues to show just how bad the judgment is at the very top of the Knicks organization. Of all the bad calls we’ve seen since Jim Dolan took over the team reigns, this clearly has to be the worst. For any Knicks fan, that’s incredibly frustrating because most people learn from their mistakes and as time goes on their decision making improves. With Jim Dolan, it appears that the opposite is the reality.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t believe that this Knicks team will be any good until (or if) a new owner takes over. Mr. Dolan had to understand that 99 percent of the New York City fans would go nuts over this bizarre hiring. If that doesn’t matter, or he simply doesn’t get it, what hopes does his team really have to change its losing ways…