When Isiah Thomas was hired by the Knicks to be their President and General Manager he had a plan. The plan was to get under the cap as soon as possible. That meant trading veterans for draft picks, letting big contracts expire, etc. When he violated this plan to acquire Stephon Marbury in a blockbuster trade with Phoenix on January 4, 2004 a short time later I gave him the benefit of the doubt. His justification was that if you have the opportunity to get a player of Marbury’s caliber you do whatever you can to close the deal. Even though Marbury has never proven himself to be a championship quality leader (check how the New Jersey Nets began to win after trading him to Phoenix for Jason Kidd) I gave Thomas the benefit of the doubt since Marbury was still a great talent.
But since then Thomas has done nothing but add payroll to a team that is notorious for being over the NBA salary cap. Three coaching changes hasn’t helped convert this team to anything better than mediocre. And they’ve actually taken a step back since hiring ‘savior’ Larry Brown. (I have some thought on Brown too but I’ll save them for another time.)
So imagine my glee when I read Peter Vecsey’s column in today’s New York Post where Vecsey reported on the possibility that Thomas could be hired as the coach at Indiana University this spring when they look to hire a new leader. Lately I’ve been rooting against the team in the hopes of getting a good draft pick and the hope that owner James Dolan will finally realize that Thomas should be replaced. Now I’m going to have to start rooting for the Knicks again in the hopes that their losing will not be so bad as to sabotage a Thomas exit to Indiana.
That reminds me. When did we stop calling Dolan Jimmy and start calling him James. Has he gotten any more classy in the last couple of years to merit such a compliment?