Isiah Thomas Has One Year To Fix The Knicks

James Dolan is out of his fucking mind. He has sat idly by while Isiah Thomas turned the Knicks from a train wreck into a hijacked Flight 93 crashing into the goddamn Hindenburg which then crashes into the Titanic. He’s watched for two and a half years as Isiah kept pouring gasoline on the fire, and now he’s saying, “Hey, fix this immediately.”

I can’t even process that. In what other industry could this happen? Let’s say you worked as a bank teller. And every day, you came into work, peed on the hood of your boss’s car on your way in from the parking lot, grabbed large stacks of cash and set them on fire, and threw bricks at the face of every customer who walked through the door… would you expect your boss to come to you and say, “Hey, I’m giving you more responsibility, and I’d like you to make us the most successful bank in world history, and I expect you to do this in about a week”? What could Dolan possibly be expecting Thomas to do?

And, of course, the subject of Larry Brown was broached during yesterday’s press conference:

Continuing with Brown was untenable, based on disclosures Dolan made for the first time yesterday, the most dramatic of which was that Brown wanted to waive several players. The group, according to team officials, included Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Jerome James, Jalen Rose and Maurice Taylor. Doing so would have cost the Knicks $150 million in salaries, in addition to an equal amount in luxury taxes.

“He knew that wasn’t possible,” Dolan said.

Well, I hate to be the one who has to tell you this, Mr. Dolan, but… any coach would want those players waived. It’s not that Larry just hated them for his own personal reasons… in the case of at least three of those guys, they bring almost nothing to an NBA team, certainly not enough to make up for the negatives that they bring. Seriously, if you have a basketball coach that doesn’t want Marbury, Francis, and Jerome James gone… then you probably don’t have much of a basketball coach. And here’s my favorite part of the article…

According to Dolan, Brown tried to negotiate trades without authorization, violated company policies in using the news media to criticize players and repeatedly defied orders to cease those behaviors.

Dolan cited two instances in which Thomas proposed a trade, only to be told by another general manager, “That’s great, but I got a better offer from your coach.”

So, basically, Larry Brown was calling other teams without the knowledge or blessing of his GM and begging them to take Stephon Marbury. I’d have loved to listen in on some of those conversations, as Larry proposed a deal, and other opposing GM just kept lowering and lowering his offer, Larry agreeing to it every time, and asking, “Hey, you’re still taking Marbury, right?”

But at a certain point, Dolan takes a turn back to the lucid, because he’s right, for salary cap reasons, those players mentioned above can’t just be cut. Which made Dolan think that Larry damn well knew that, and was looking for a way out of the Knicks job by even suggesting it.

So Brown proposed cutting them. Because that, too, would be impossible, Dolan concluded, he said, “that Larry never intended to coach this team beyond this season.”

Dolan added, “What he’s really saying to us is, ‘I’m going to make you fire me.’ “

That, I’ll buy. I’ve got no trouble believing that, despite his public claims, Larry Brown just wanted the Knicks to fire him. It’s not like there’s no precedent for Larry Brown trying to worm his way out of a job, while maintaining the good-guy face to the general public.

There’s just no one that’s likable in this situation.

Matthew J. Darnell


  1. Larry Brown made the mistake of not doing his homework. He went into a situation where his immediate boss (Isiah Thomas) was absolutely incompetent, and the ownership was doubly incompetent. This ownership group took over the Knicks having worked in the media business, with little or no experience in sports management. How can any coach in his right mind go into a situation like that?

  2. ummm…50 million dollars??

    yea, I’d take that job too…I can work for a dickbag if he wants to give me 50 million dollars…

  3. At no point is his tenure in NY did I ever feel bad for Brown. He screwed the Pistons to take that job and deserved every minute of his misery. He was paid more money every day than most families make in a year for his pain.

    And now he “gets himself fired” and walks away for another forty mil.

    Dolan deserves to lose his freaking shirt on this team, and Isaiah deserves to be in the hot seat and exposed for the joke that he is.

    They all deserve each other and everything they’ve endured. No one likable indeed.

  4. I kinda like Dolan’s move, albeit after a number of horrendously stupid moves. He doesn’t have to pay another salary to a coach this year and he most likely will have to pay Brown some money once it goes to arbitration with Stern or whatever the clause was. So, some of that cash saved can pay Brown. Dolan also probably knows there is very little chance that the incompetent Isiah Thomas can turn this sinking ship around. So, at the end of next year he can fire Thomas and start anew and maybe be in the Greg Oden Sweepstakes.

  5. “I can’t even process that. In what other industry could this happen?”

    You ever watch Fox News? Americans ARE the Knicks. Same media coverage, same rediculous GM (who has failed in every other manegement opportunity), same high expectations.

    Does that make Tom Cruise Starberry?

  6. Except that the Knicks are out of the Greg Oden sweepstakes, unless he plays more than 1 year at Ohio State. Isiah traded next years’ first to the Bulls.

  7. Brett: I didn’t know that. I thought the Bulls only got the Knicks first rounder for this year. That changes a lot. It still makes Isiah an idiot–possibly two early first round picks for Eddy Curry!!! Imbecile! I still like the idea that the Knicks won’t pay any extra coach salary this year. And, I’m pretty sure Isiah will be gone after this season, which can only help the Knicks.

  8. “Americans ARE the Knicks” is perfect, RyanBeingManny.

    Spike Lee = Bill O’Reilly?

    Reggie Miller = Jacques Chirac?

    Starbury = Tom Delay?

    This could keep me occupied for hours.

  9. Could Isiah be next seasons Pat Riley? Everyone argues he made bad GM moves, then he becomes coach and wins a title, could Isiah be next? I don’t think so.

  10. Adam — No.

    Re: America as the Knicks:

    Patrick Ewing = Bill Clinton (Georgetown grads, no strangers to the ol’ sex scandal, but ultimately got it done throughout the 90′s)

  11. Well, except for the part where I pity James Dolan. Is he really that stupid? Or just a really good actor?

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