Knicks, Dolan won't find winning ways till they lose Isiah

by | National Columnist

Isiah Thomas has returned to the New York Knicks as a consultant. Guess Matt Millen wasn't available.

In his first official act as consultant Thomas recommended he become owner of the team then signed Rasheed Wallace to a $200 million contract.

By the way, what's the difference between a BP oil rig and the New York Knicks? One is a charred, burning, environmental disaster; the other is a BP oil rig.

Isiah Thomas must have something on James Dolan, how else can you explain Zeke's return? (Getty Images)  
Isiah Thomas must have something on James Dolan, how else can you explain Zeke's return? (Getty Images)  
It's still immensely difficult to get beyond this sentence: Isiah Thomas is back with the Knicks. It's like reading Santa is dead.

There must be a reason for why the Knicks can't quit Thomas. He has a locked safe with damaging information in it on Knicks officials. A tape recording. A compromising Facebook post. Some dangerous Tweet. That has to be it, right. Right? The safe stays closed if Thomas gets work from the Knicks?

The Knicks over the past weekend made the announcement Thomas was returning, burying the story amid a torrent of news like the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions and the continued atomization of Tiger Woods. They were trying to hide a prominent hire knowing how the public would react and that fact alone is telling.

Hearing Knicks fans talk about Thomas rejoining the team on New York talk radio over the past 48 hours was amusing. Their voices cracked simultaneously with sadness, anger and disbelief. Hardcore followers of the team are genuinely stunned and, sorry Knicks fans, but it's going to get worse.

No one can prove this (for now) and the Knicks deny it (for now) but there's little doubt Thomas is and will be more than a simple consultant in the coming months. He's the general manager-in-waiting and I'm not alone in this belief. This man thinks the same.

No other team in the NBA wants Thomas in any capacity. No big-time college wants him, either. Yet James Dolan stubbornly and stupidly remains in pursuit despite the potential damage such a pursuit can do to the team's image. Indeed, newspapers in New York are reporting various degrees of Donnie Walsh anger over Thomas rejoining the Knicks with one saying the current Knicks general manager threatened to quit over the Thomas hiring and another stating Walsh is seething.

The question becomes then why do the Knicks deem a sexual harasser and radioactive jerk who was terrible at his job so invaluable?

This is Dolan's thinking in the short-term. The LeBron James fiasco transformed NBA free agency into more of a college-like system where recruiting is a bigger factor than ever before.

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Dolan believes the Knicks need a smooth-talking point man to lead the way in recruiting and since Thomas is a former NBA star, almost every young player knows him. Dolan is hoping Thomas can Pied Piper the Knicks back to relevance and could be critical in luring the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul to New York. The NBA is now woo or be out-wooed.

In the long term, Dolan probably thinks Thomas can be the general manager once Walsh's contract ends next year.

Dolan's error is thinking Thomas should again lead New York in any capacity, short- or long-term. Thomas repeatedly has proven he's not fit to be a manager in the NBA. His player credentials don't change any of this.

Dolan must know Thomas is inept and not even the harshest Dolan critic would say Dolan's an idiot, which means something else is at work.

Maybe the most simple answer is that Thomas is playing Dolan and is as skilled in this instance as he was with a penetration dribble to the basket. Dolan the sucker, Dolan the dupe, Dolan the man standing on the trap door.

What Dolan needs now, more than ever, is one thing.

The combination to that safe.


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