Management

What is Isiah Thomas up to?


Over the past couple weeks, numerous reports have surfaced about former Knick coach and president of basketball operations Isiah Thomas being related in potential New York Knick related activities. There have been reports that he has been trying to help recruit Hornets free agent to be Chris Paul to New York as well as reports that he has been working out Amare Stoudemire at FIU. So what really is going on here?

Thomas is absolutely involved with the Knicks. His love affair with Knicks owner James Dolan has not stopped since Thomas was forced out by the NBA. Dolan tried to get Thomas on as a consultant but that was rejected by the league because Thomas is currently the head coach at FIU. The same FIU where Amar’e Stoudemire has been working out this offseason. The same FIU that is hosting a street game next month in which Stoudemire, Melo and Chris Paul are all participating in (Thomas favorite Eddy Curry is also expected to play in that game).

These are not coincidences, Isiah “Zeke” Thomas is absolutely involved with the New York Knicks. This should not come as a surprise to Knick fans because he never left! He has been in Dolan’s ear throughout this entire “post-Isiah” period. Thomas helped recruit Melo and Amar’e to New York and he was advising Dolan throughout the Melo trade. Hell, it was probably Isiah’s idea to throw in 4 starters and a plethora of draft picks. Maybe we give Dolan too much credit for undercutting Donnie Walsh’s negotiations, it was probably Isiah! After all he never did know how to manage a team. We only had a 130 million dollar payroll when he was here. He is a god awful executive mind. Did we have some talent? Sure but every team has some talent, we had a few talented players but the team was an absolute joke. Between his point guard Stephon Marbury and his retarded antics, his center Eddy Curry weighing 400 pounds, the Renaldo Balkman pick, his drug overdose, and his sex scandal that cost the Knicks 11.6 million, Isiah Thomas single handedly destroyed his reputation and the reputation of the Knicks in terms of on-court success and off-court class. Any logical human being with half a brain would ban this guy for being within 500 feet of any member the Knicks organization and 10,000 feet away from Madison Square Garden. But James Dolan is no logical human being, he is an absolute moron. Not only did his highly publicized friendship with Thomas continue but it continued to flourish. After Thomas was released by Donnie Walsh, Dolan tried to bring him back as a consultant. Behind the scenes with no official team role, Thomas was brought in to help recruit Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Now Thomas is helping to recruit Chris Paul to the Knicks.

This is all part of Thomas’ master plan to return to Madison Square Garden in 2012. By recruiting the 3 superstars to the Knicks, Thomas hopes to re-ingratiate himself to the fans of New York. Then, once the contract of Mike D’Antoni has expired after next season, Thomas will swoop in and return to the perch that he believes should still be his. To be honest, this is probably the smartest thing that he has ever thought of. Obviously most fans will still dislike him, but I believe if Chris Paul is a Knick in 2012 many fans will forgive Thomas for his 5 years of mismanagement, losing and off-court problems.

Overall, this entire plan is scary as hell. The Knicks are on the path to success and grabbing Isiah Thomas will absolutely kick the Knicks right into the bushes. He was never a good coach, he has no place in any NBA organization and the only person blind enough to see that is Dolan. Hopefully, my assumptions are incorrect but I have a bad feeling that I am correct and we will see the man they call “Zeke” return to the garden in 2012.

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Knicks Officially Hire Mike Woodson

Finally the Knicks have hired a defensive assistant to coach along side Mike D’Antoni. Today the Knicks announced the hiring of former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Woodson as the defensive assistant coach. Woodson was Larry Brown’s top assistant when the Pistons won the championship in 2004. He was actually drafted in the first round by the Knicks in 1980 so he has some familiarity with the franchise. Woodson is said to be a strong defensive mind learning from Larry Brown in Detroit and Bobby Knight when he played college ball at Indiana.

There are also rumors being stirred up by the east coast media that Woodson, who has strong ties to Isiah Thomas, will take over the head coaching job should things go south next season. I completely disagree. If the Knicks struggle next season or get swept in the playoffs again and Mike D’Antoni is fired, I believe the Knicks will bring in a marquee name a la Phil Jackson not a guy like Mike Woodson. Mike Woodson is a great guy but I do not believe he would be the big name splash the Knicks would be looking bring in. Regardless, I think this is an excellent hire and it will be interesting to see how Woodson can change the defensive culture around the Knicks.

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Stoudemire Wins 3 Point Shootout in China

Well Amar’e Stoudemire’s back seems to be in good shape. He is currently vacationing in China and he gave us an update via twitter on what he has been up to:

I just won the Chinese 3 point shoot out In front of 1.4 billion people. From NYC to China. #swag lockerz.com/s/131295944
This is already very impressive, but it is particularly impressive that he has not been doing many basketball related activities this offseason due to his back. I would not mind to see some more 3′s from Stoudemire next season. The 3 point shot is a part of his game that he has showed flashes of but he just consistiently does not take a lot of 3′s. Overall, the contest is a good sign that Stoudermire will be ready to go when and if the season starts.
[Image via @Amareisreal]
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Remembering the Willis Reed Tunnel

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84v5cazK8lc]

As Marc Berman of the NY Post reports, the famous Willis Reed tunnel has been knocked out by the Madison Square Garden transformation. The tunnel has been replaced with center court seats and the Knicks will now enter the arena through a corner tunnel. James Dolan wants to start a new tradition of the players entering the court through the Delta Sky360Club where elite season-ticket holders can view the players running out of the tunnel. As great as that sounds, it is sad to see the famous center court tunnel go as the Garden is the last arena to have the center court tunnel.

Above is a video remembering the Willis Reed game in which he played injured to lead the Knicks to the 1970 NBA Championship.

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Patrick Ewing Still Hopes to Work for the Knicks One Day

Knicks hall of fame center Patrick Ewing appeared on “the Mike Lupica” show today and discussed a possible return to the garden. The interview can be heard here.

The 49 year old is an assistant coach under Stan Van Gundy with the Orlando Magic. Last month, Ewing interviewed with the Detroit Pistons about their head coaching vacancy. The job was ultimately given to Lawrence Frank. Ewing said in the interview that he would like to return to the Knicks as a coach one day:

“I hope that one day I get to come back home because I do live in this area, I still consider this my area, I still consider myself a Knick. Hopefully one day I’ll be brought back here,”

Having been one of the dominant defensive players of all time, Ewing should bring a lot of defensive prowess to coaching. He is also the Knicks career scoring leader so clearly he knows something about offense. Could he have a coaching future with the New York Knicks? I loved in the interview how Ewing talked about the prejudice that guards are smarter than centers.

“People think that just because you’re a center, you’re not as smart as the guards or the smaller guys. I think that’s a load of crap. When I played with the Knicks, I was just as important or just as smart as any other of the guards I played with. I still had to call out plays, notice schemes, know the systems, do everything they had to do.”

I think Ewing is 100% right. One great example of this is former Knick point guard Mark Jackson. Jackson, 46, is 3 years younger then Ewing yet he is already a head coach. Ewing has been an assistant coach since 2007 while Jackson had never coached in any capacity prior to the Golden State job. I am not saying that Ewing should be a coach and Jackson should not. I do not believe Ewing is head coach material yet, I believe down the road he will be. I just believe he needs a bit more experience and I would like to see how he does in an expanded role, maybe as a defensive coordinator/assistant coach? There is one team that has a big glaring need at that position, oh yea, the New York Knicks.

Why shouldn’t Ewing be the Knicks defensive coordinator? I think he is more than qualified to fill that role. I would much rather have Ewing, a former player, coaching up Carmelo and Amar’e than a coach who does not hold the respect of the players. I always believe that ex-player coaches hold more respect with todays NBA players than most other coaches do. I doubt Ewing will even be considered for D’Antoni’s coordinator job, especially if Mike Woodson impressed D’Antoni in his interview, but I would love to see them at least give him a chance to interview.

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Spero Dedes Joins the Knicks

After waiting in limbo for a month, Spero Dedes has finally been hired as the New York Knicks radio play-by-play announcer. This deal probably would have been completed a lot sooner but Dedes received a DUI in the Hamptons about a month ago. He will also be backing up MSG Tv play-by-play man Mike Breen. This has always been Dedes’ dream job as he told the NY Post:

“I can remember walking into [Madison Square] Garden for my first Knicks game as a teenager and feeling the magic of the place, I’ve been in love with this franchise ever since. When I was a broadcast student at Fordham all I dreamt about was what it would feel like to be a Knicks announcer and now it’s become reality. I’m truly humbled by this opportunity, and having my family close to me again means a great deal. In addition, I’m forever grateful to the Lakers organization for my time spent there.”

I think this is a solid move as Dedes was considered a rising star in the Laker organization before taking his talents to New York. Current Knicks radio play-by-play man Mike Crispino is expected to back up Dedes on the radio side.

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James Dolan Sings “Fix the Knicks”… Really?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YfvfpkiXH8&feature=player_embedded]

The life of Knicks owner James Dolan is never dull. His band, JD and the Straight Shot, opened for Aretha Franklin at the Jones Beach Theater last week and premiered  a new Knicks themed song. The band performed “Fix the Knicks” complete with a tap dancing portion and a “my friend Isiah Thomas” reference. In the video, the fans at the concert all sigh when he lets out the Isiah line. Once again Dolan makes a complete ass of himself with this song providing just how moronic he really is.

Here are the lyrics to the song, feel free to cringe Knick fans:

Everywhere I go, I hear everybody say

‘What you gonna do to make that team play’
From the folks across the street at 34th and 6th
Everyone who calls says, ‘Hey man, fix the Knicks’

(Chorus)
Fix the Knicks and make them shine
Get on and win like it’s ’69
Hitting all their free throws and no more shooting bricks
Time to get it right and fix the Knicks

Doing my best and that’s my problem
I check with my friend called Isiah Thomas
Pay no mind to those nasty critics
They haven’t done a thing to fix the Knicks

(Chrous)

We know we’re getting better, but still no respect
We score a lot of points, but where’s the defense?
Everyone’s an expert saying ‘Trade your draft picks’
You got to get ‘this guy’ to fix the Knicks

(Chorus, two times)”

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The Final Word on Jerome Jordan Deal

I have been on vacation the past 2 weeks so I have not been able to post many posts so now I will catch up on all the posts that I have fallen behind on. One of them was all the Jerome Jordan news that went on the past week.

Last week Jerome Jordan, the 7 foot center who was a second round pick that the Knicks purchased from Milwaukee last offseason, signed a deal to play in Slovenia for the Krka club in the event of a lockout. Last season, Jordan played in Serbia for KK Hermofam. The great thing about Jordans contract is that he has an out clause for next season. It has been reported that the Knicks will buy Jordan out for 500,000 from Krka when the lockout ends. I love this move for Jordan in that he can get playing time that he needs to refine his game and when the Knicks can play games they will have him. It is also a great move for Jordan because as a 2nd round pick he is guaranteed nothing from the Knicks. There is a chance he will not make the team when the NBA resumes. He will for sure be playing ball for money and he can play for the Knicks whenever the season starts. It is great for Jordan and great for the Knicks. I am very interested to see how he contributes once NBA games start being played. If he becomes a stud, or at least an above average defensive center, he will contribute greatly to the Knicks.

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Mike Woodson to Interview For Knicks Defensive Assistant Position

According to Marc Berman of the NY Post, former Knicks draftee and Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson will interview for the Knicks Defensive Assistant position this week.

“Mike Woodson, former Hawks head coach, is expected to be in New York this week interviewing with Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni to become his defensive assistant coach, according to a person familiar with the situation.”

Woodson is not particularly known as a “defensive genius” but he was a good coach in Atlanta and is a former player. I believe he will be open to a 1 year contract because he was, like Lawrence Frank, rumored for multiple head coaching jobs this offseason and will be rumored for many more next offseason. I think this would be a fantastic hire if we could make it. However that is a big if. For starters, Woodson is also being considered for the vacant Minnesota Timberwolves head coaching position. Woodson also has the same agent, Joe Glass, that represents ex Knick coach Larry Brown. Brown and Glass did not have a good relationship with Dolan and management while Brown was the coach and that relationship only got worse when Brown was fired and his contract situation had to be sorted out by the NBA. Who knows if Dolan will even agree to let Woodson be hired if he in fact is D’Antoni’s choice. There are many question marks around this hire but I think if we could get Woodson we would improve greatly next season.

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The Dolan-Prokhorov Rivalry Continues

The ever entertaining rivalry between Knicks owner James Dolan and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is starting to get a bit ridiculous. Last Thursday (I’m delayed on these posts because I am on vacation) it was announced that James Dolan has joined the board of Live Nation. I have no idea why or how they would allow him on this board as he is a bumbling idiot but he is now on it. This is funny because, the New Jersey Nets are set to open up their new arena, the Barclays Center, in 2012. The owner of the Nets of course is Mikhail Prokorov. The same man who infuriated Dolan with the infamous Nets poster near Madison Square Garden and the competition for both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. It is speculated that Dolan will try to use his new board membership to attempt to limit the amount of Live Nation events occuring at the Barclays Center. Whether he succeeds or not is a different story but I think it is quite funny how Dolan and Prokhorov are taking their rivalry outside the NBA into the business world. I am eagerly awaiting news on how Prokohorov will retaliate to this. Whatever he decides to do, I promise you it will be entertaining.

 

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