Fier Thy Words

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FINALLY! Isiah Thomas Fired; Reassigned (but why?)

4/18/08

photo courtesy of The Daily News

Remember the day my fellow Knicks fans: April 18th, 2008, the day the Isiah Thomas era came to an end.

Or did it?

I can’t help but feel like i’m in a horror movie, right at the end where you think the bad guy is dead, but with one last gasp he gets up and tries one more time to kill you.

Isiah has done his best Scream impression in trying to take out the entire Knicks franchise, everything from its payroll to its employees (sorry Anucha) to respect.

He has slashed the hearts of fans by insulting it’s history, saying we haven’t had a team to be proud of since the last championship back in 1973.

And now, with Donnie Walsh having been brought in to clean up the mess Isiah leaves behind, we find out that Isiah himself will still be around in helping to clean it up.

Maybe it’s just me, but as a Knick fan, having Isiah still on the very payroll he has worked so hard to destroy doesn’t sit right.

He has been an inopperable tumor to this franchise, working with whatever the opposite of the midas touch would be, as everything he has touched has turned into absolute catastrophe.

You want to tell me that he drafted Nate Robinson and David Lee?

Well for every Nate Robinson you want to throw in, I’ll raise you a Jarred Jefferies AND a Jerome James.

Renaldo Balkman and Wilson Chanlder, both of whom have shown brief flashes of potential, got nothing on the trades for Steve Francis or Eddy Curry (and the unprotected draft picks we lost in the process).

I can’t think of much Isiah has done right since being named President of Basketball Operations back in 2003, and the last 4 years have been nothing more than a nightmare Knicks fans can finally wake up from.

So now what?

Walsh came out today and publicly announced the worst kept secret in sports, that Isiah’s days as coach are over.

What wasn’t as sure a thing was what would come of Thomas, and the 18 million he is still owed from this unbelievably undeserved extension he was given by owner James Dolan last year.

The word reassigned has never sounded so ugly, as Isiah was retained and will report directly to Walsh as what I would imagine would end up being an “advisor”.

Again, maybe its just me, but Michael Corleone didn’t make Fredo his new consigliere after finding out that he had betrayed the family.

He had him killed.

Now while ‘wacking’ Isiah would probably make a lot of Knicks fans happy, just having him part ways with the organization would suffice.

However that won’t be the case, not unless Isiah tells Dolan that he can keep his 18 million dollars.

Instead of being an advisor, Isiah should consult one, and find one who advised him to simply figure out a way to work out a sevrence package to bid the Big Apple the farewell it probably wishes he would have recieved.

With a new coach and GM on their way, Isiah needs to show himself the door, and make the first decision Knicks fans would apploud of his, by announcing he would be seeking other opportunities from anywhere that isn’t Madison Square Garden.

Regardless of the fact that he has had all his power taken away from him, just having him still call the Garden home in any capacity will prevent this organization from getting the fresh start it desperately needs.

Until that happens- if it happens at all- Knicks fans can embrace the fact that the Isiah Thomas ‘error’ (as the local media has been fittingly referring to it as) has ended, for all intents and purposes.

Now the search begins for the next coach, and the names I’ve heard most are Mark Jackson, Scott Skiles, Rick Carlisle and my dream choice, the return of Jeff Van Gundy.

Whoever it is, Knicks fans like myself can be rest assured that it won’t be Isiah Thomas, and that disingenuous smile he always had.

For the first time in 4 years, Knicks fans can smile now.

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April 19, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ‘Don’ Has Arrived; Isiah Needs To Go

4/2/08

donnie-zeke.jpg

(photo taken from ESPN.com)

Attention Fellow Knicks Fans:

We’re halfway there!

The New York Knicks today introduced Donnie Walsh as their new President of basketball operations, taking over for current head coach and now former President Isiah Thomas.

Walsh, 67, spent the last 22 years in the Indiana Pacers organization, helping them capture 6 division crowns and a conference title in 2000.

A New York native, Walsh brings experience and much needed credibility to an organization that has managed to plummet itself into the depths of not just the basketball world, but the sports world.

It has also been reported that Walsh has shown interest in bringing in former Sixers exec. Billy King, to run the day to day General Manager operations.

To think that the New York Knicks, as recognizable a franchise as the Lakers in their own sport, or the Yankees and Cowboys in other sports, have become remarkably irrelevant.

While most Knicks fans probably don’t miss the Stephon Marbury’s and Eddy Curry’s of the world (both of whom had injury plagued, disappointing years), it’s an embarrassment that the team recently struggled to beat a Miami Heat team with a lousy 13 wins all season (while the Knicks aren’t all the more impressive with only 20 wins of their own).

Then again, logic says that the more the Knicks lose, the higher a draft pack they’ll have come June.

On that topic, you might as well stop the presses because that first round lottery pick wasn’t traded or left unprotected for the first time in what seems like ages, meaning that the chances are pretty good the Knicks may land somebody Knicks fan have heard of, as opposed to names like Weiss, Williams and Balkman (even though Renaldo hasn’t been awful).

With Walsh officially on board, the biggest issue which needs to be immediately addressed is the fate of Thomas.

The number of potential replacements for Thomas on the coaching front has had names like Mark Jackson, Rick Carlisle and even Herb Williams.

Of course the one name Knicks fans had to lamented hearing late last week was none other than Isiah Thomas himself.

The news of Walsh’s hire probably set off cheers and celebrations among Knicks fan no seen since Willis Reed limped onto the Garden floor before the start of game 7 in 1970.

Finally, Isiah Thomas’ name would no loner be associated to the once proud Knicks franchise.

Or so it was thought.

The idea of owner James Dolan keeping Zeke around as coach shouldn’t come as all that big a surprise.

Thomas is still under contract for another three years, with somewhere around 21 million dollars being owed to him.

While Dolan has never been shy to pay off an outgoing coach (Larry Brown?), he has acted as Thomas’ guardian angel since his arrivial in 2003.

The head coaching revolving door seemed to stop with Thomas last season, as he was awarded a contract extension with the Knicks flirting the 8th seed in March.

After a full season’s worth of games since his extension, the Knicks featured a pathetic record of 20-62.

Yet time after time, Dolan defended his President and head coach, leading experts to believe that not only will Isiah survive the Walsh hire, but Isiah may have actually been part of the process in bringing Walsh on board.

Let us not forget that it was Donnie Walsh who injected new life into the post-playing career of Thomas in 2000, when he was hired to coach the Indiana Pacers for three seasons, until Larry Bird was brought back as GM and subsequently fired him.

It wouldn’t be far fetched to believe that Thomas suggested Walsh fill his own post as GM, knowing Walsh was the only potential replacement who would consider retaining his services as coach.

Should that be the case, it would be the equivalent of taking one step forward and two steps back.

The Knicks franchise will not take the necessary steps towards until it rids itself of Isiah Thomas, in all capacities.

Until that happens, it won’t matter who is brought in to run the team, as the man drawing up the X’s and O’s, whom many of the players have verbally expressed their displeasure with, will continue to hold them back from returning to prominence.

With a new President of the franchise now in place, Isiah now moves that much closer to being shown the door once and for all.

We hope.

April 2, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , | Leave a comment