Tag:Isiah Thomas
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:45 am

Isiah Thomas counseling Derrick Rose

Isiah Thomas has given Derrick Rose advice on how to tough out a season through injuries. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Getting past Isiah Thomas' reputation as the Titanic captain of the 2000's Knicks and current superstar meddler is a bit of a trick. He damaged so much of his reputation as a Hall of Fame point guard and fearless, relentless winner that people forget he has a lot of quality advice for players in handling themselves on the court. The guy's playing reputation is nearly spotless, and there's a reason he provides counsel to so many superstars, sometimes too much so and pretty blatantly in violation of NBA tampering rules, regardless of his official position with the Knicks. 

And one player that's recently turned to Thomas for advice on how to survive the beating a small point guard takes in this league is the MVP. From ESPN Chicago:  
Isiah Thomas said he met Rose last year after a game in Detroit and that Rose contacted him after the Bulls' season had ended.

"He was pretty down," Thomas told ESPNChicago.com by phone on Wednesday. "He asked me 'How did you do it? How did you win back-to-back championships at this size?' And my response to him was that once you understand your opponent and know your opponent better than you know yourself, you'll win."


"... He's somebody where in Chicago, you definitely got to look up to, especially being a guard, winning championships in this league," Rose said. "[I] try to take things out of his game and put them into mine. But [he's] a cool dude. I played against his son in AAU. And he's from Chicago so I got to look up to him."
via Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose sought advice from Isiah Thomas - ESPN Chicago.

The conversation essentially surrounded how to absorb a beating and play through it. Thomas' advice was largely "deal with it." Which is noble, but given the compact schedule and the fact Rose is dealing with a toe injury and back spasms, some rest might not be the worst idea, especially with what the Bulls have been able to do without him. 

In last year's playoffs, Rose suffered an ankle sprain in the first round. From there he just took more and more of a beating. There's nothing that can be done if Rose is injured in the playoffs, these things happen. But getting him healthy so he's not carrying more physical baggage into the postseason should be a priority for the Bulls. Wednesday night the Bulls played Rose 22 minutes in a game in which the opponent did not score for the first five minutes of the game. The Bulls lead by double digits essentially for the first four minutes on. The game was never in doubt. Sitting Rose against New Orleans would have been a perfect situation. Instead, the perception is that Thibodeau "only" played Rose 22 minutes. It's time to start looking at the big picture.
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:50 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 10:15 am

Thomas 'not thrilled' with NY getting Chandler

By Matt Moore

If Knicks fans want a reason to believe in the quality of the Tyson Chandler acquisition, look no further than Iasiah Thomas. Because he didn't like it. The New York Postreports: 
Conveniently appearing on the Sid Rosenbug Show on Miami radio yesterday following the Knicks’ 2-4 start, Thomas questioned Glen Grunwald’s acquisition of Chandler, which forced the team to cut Chauncey Bilups to get under the salary cap.

Thomas said the NBA has become a guard’s league, and the Knicks cannot win solely with a star-powered frontcourt of Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. The Chandler commitment cost them a shot at point guard Chris Paul with next summer’s salary cap space, and Paul was subsequently dealt to the Clippers.

“The guard play right now in the NBA is off the charts,’’ Thomas said. “Losing Chauncey, I thought he brought a veteran leadership to the team. His savviness and guard play has always been severely undervalued. Detroit found that out when they let Chauncey go. I think there was a certain amount of leadership to what he brought to [the Knicks] last year.’’


“If you don’t have great guards, it’s hard to put together a game plan,’’ Thomas said. “You’re only as good a coach as your guards.’’
via Isiah Thomas, former Knicks president, not thrilled with Tyson Chandler acquisition - NYPOST.com.

Thomas is right, here.

I know, I know. We're uncomfortable with that statement as well.

But it has less to do with the state of the league than D'Antoni says. The Bulls teams that ended the Pistons' run didn't have great point guards. Yes, they had the greatest shooting guard of all time, but calling Jordan a guard is like calling a T-Rex a lizard. Yes, it's technically true but you don't compare its danger level to a gecko. Furthermore, the Lakers' dynasty under Phil Jackson featured a star shooting guard, but also had Derek Fisher at point guard. Billups was always going to play point gaurd for the Knicks, and the shooting guard scoring load on the perimeter is held by Carmelo Anthony. 

But the Knicks do need a point guard, because of their coach. D'Antoni is under heavy fire from fans and pundits right now, despite the fact that it's clear this is not the roster he would assemble if he had his choice. His system needs a playmaker. Anthony's only play is to score. It's not just Steve Nash. The Knicks looked more cohesive last year with Raymond Felton who is a huge downgrade from Nash offensively. It's like trying to run a car without an ignition system. So in that sense, Thomas is on target. 

But here's where he's wrong.

Chandlr wasn't the wrong acquisition. Chandler has brought defense and a better attitude to the Knicks. He can change the course of a game and provides a defensive balance to D'Antoni's offensively-geared staff. Chandler is not the poor fit for the Knicks. Anthony is.

Anthony is a scoring wing. But even that's fine and great in D'Antoni's system. And he's a small forward, who next to Amar'e Stoudemire, could be great. But Anthony is primarily an isolation, off-the-drible shooter. He's a great rebounder, and that's a legitamate boost for the Knicks, but offensively, there's not much more of a worse fit for the Knicks an D'Antoni than Anthony.

Chandler wasn't where they went wrong. And keeping Billups wasn't a mistake, as he has passed the point where he can consistently contribute efficiently, and isn't a playmaking guard at this point. But the Knicks' design may have been damaged already... by Thomaz' involvement in the Anthony saga.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 2:33 pm

Rumor: Isiah Thomas wants to replace Billy Hunter

Posted by Ben Golliverisiah-thomas

Here's one of the dumber ideas you'll read all day.

The New York Post reports that Detroit Pistons Hall of Fame point guard and former New York Knicks executive Isiah Thomas has designs on taking over Billy Hunter's job as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.
How many of you would be startled to discover Isiah Thomas has been creepin’ round Billy Hunter’s back door to get his job? 

How many would be stunned to learn Florida International University’s current head coach is angling in due course to replace the executive director of the Players Association should its membership feel flogged (compromised following so many compromises) by David Stern upon the completion of a new collective bargaining agreement or if negotiations again break down and additional salary (games) get forfeited?

According to a pretty piped-in informant, skulking and stalking are exactly what Thomas has been doing as Hunter tries not to lose further frontage to one clearly identified Nor’easter after another.
The ongoing NBA lockout just keeps devolving. Its pathetic, demoralizing twists and turns are never-ending and it is starting to morph into a weird made-for-television serial drama where well-known characters keep getting reincarnated as new, more despicable versions of themselves. First, it was NBA commissioner David Stern, the great compromiser and champion of social equality, being recast as a "modern plantation overseer." Then, it was the Greatest Basketball Player Ever, Michael Jordan, flip-flopping from the ultimate vocal advocate for players' rights to a hard-line owner bent on vacuuming up the players' every last penny and shred of dignity.

Now, it's Thomas, arguably the worst salary cap manager of the modern era (he gave major dolars to Jared Jeffries and Jerome James and traded for Eddy Curry, Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury), sending in his audition tape to become the chief negotiator of the system that governs hundreds of player contracts and sets the rules that will help guide the economic development of a global, billion-dollar sport.

(It is definitely worth mentioning that Thomas' conduct as a front office executive included allegations of sexual harrassment which resulted in an out-of-court settlement and rule-ignoring scouting scandal which later cost the Knicks hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Then, in 2008, he reportedly overdosed on sleeping pills, but denied it was a suicide attempt.) 

So, yeah, great idea. Thomas, an emotional former executive with a sketchy track record and a terrible reputation for decision-making replacing Hunter, a life-long lawyer with decades of negotiating experience and high-profile cases to his name. Can't wait for that to happen.

Update: Surprise, surprise, Thomas has issued a denial of the report to the New York Post.

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com
Posted on: November 1, 2011 11:30 am

Report: Salary cap will not drop for 2011

By Matt Moore

Back when this delightful lockout began, the words "hard cap" were still very much in play. The idea was that the owners were going to get everything they wanted, exactly as they wanted them, and that included a hard cap that would be substantially lower than the cap structure in the prior CBA. That had some pretty terrifying consequences for big-spender teams who might have seen forced cuts of superstars they'd worked hard to acquire, or an inability to build on the core they've built. The Knicks, for example, might have been stuck with the basics of last year's squad, unable to improve enough around the two stars to compete for a title. Luckily for them, the hard cap has been removed from the conversation, replaced with luxury tax discussions while the league continues to pound the union's BRI into oblivion. 

In fact, the cap structure won't change and will actually increase next season, according to the New York Post:  
According to multiple sources, one of the resolved issues in a new CBA is the 2011 salary cap will remain at the level as it was in 2010 -- $58 million.

“That’s what we’ve been discussing, though the exact dollar amount is not set until the new deal is done,’’ said one league source, who added no new talks have yet been scheduled.

Economic projections from sources say the salary cap will then grow to about $60-$61 million in 2012, when the Knicks will have the largest cap space in the league and have room to woo either Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard, who are slated to become free agents. The Knicks could be at least $20 million under the projected 2012 cap.
via Knicks owner Dolan works to keep NBA salary cap same size - NYPOST.com.

So the Knicks' dream of building their own superteam is alive and well, and their pursuit of the final piece of the puzzle begins this year (or may have already started depending on your take on the Isiah Thomas rumors). They'll have to make some tough choices, though, what with needing to build supporting pieces as well as nab one of the 2012 big three. It'll be interesting to see Dolan's response to the new luxury tax and just how much is too much for the MSG mogul. 

But for those that enjoy this era of super-teams, the cap will remain in place to make it a possibility.  
Posted on: October 17, 2011 10:17 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 11:35 am

Charles Oakley goes off on Knicks, Isiah

By Matt Moore

The list of things Charles Oakley is afraid of is pretty much death and giant spiders (everyone's afraid of giant spiders). Not on that list? The New York Knicks and their current organization. Oakley teed off over the weekend on all manner of Knicks personnel. And he started by replying to us, actually. 

We shared our post last week on Stoudemire's comments the players regarding starting a new league. Oakley replied: 
@EyeOnBasketball he need to win a playoff game first
via Twitter / @CharlesOakley34: @EyeOnBasketball he need t ....


(Stoudemire of course does have lots of playoff wins... but none in New York after their sweep by the Celtics this past spring.)

And Oak wasn't done. At the opening of his clothing collection at a store in New York, the former Knickerbocker unloaded on the Knicks, saying they have nothing but hype,  that Mike D'Antoni's system can't be successful, and criticizing upper management for not hiring Patrick Ewing or himself. He commented that instead they prefer to have Isiah Thomas around... who Oakley has some strong words for in particular. From the New York Post:
“Y’all should have tried to call me and talk to me, and maybe we could have gotten LeBron to New York. You went to Isiah [Thomas], and some of these other guys that don’t know the guy.”

Speaking of Thomas, Oakley did little to hide his feelings about the former team president.

“I don’t understand how he even got a job with management,” said Oakley, 47. “He had nothing to do with the Knicks, then he talked bad about the Knicks ... If I see him, he’d better turn around and go the other way.”
via Former Knicks star rips everyone from Amar’e to Isiah - NYPOST.com.

Let's see. Where does Oakley rank on the list of people I want saying they would confront me if they saw me? Ah, here we go:

2,664,868: Michael Myers
2,664,869: Charles Oakley
2,664,870: Bill Romanowski circa 1997

Good luck with that, Zeke. 

The Knicks are under no obligation to keep Oakley in the loop or even in good relations. But it doesn't look good for the organization to keep him at arm's length. But then again, if he's going to make comments like that, it's hard to see what kind of relationship they could have with him. Guy's not exactly known for not speaking his mind, you know?
Posted on: October 3, 2011 10:44 am

Isiah Thomas: People are jealous of LeBron

By Matt Moore

If William Wesley is the silent power broker of the NBA, Isiah Thomas is kind of becoming the opposite. He's the power broker who talks all the time. Thomas is, to no one's surprise, behind the charity event being held next Saturday night at FIU (where he coaches) that featurs a cavalcade of NBA All-Stars. And as part of his promotion for the event, he talked to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about a range of topics, including why it is that so many people hate LeBron James. Naturally, it's not because of "The Decision" or the perceived egotism or the lack of clutch play or the void of championships or the post-game comments about people going back to their lives after the Finals. No, no. It's becaue he's been so successful, you see, according to Thomas. From the Sun-Sentinel
"It kind of comes with the territory when you're really good," Thomas said. "Nobody cares about the loser. Everybody likes the loser.

"Some people are not going to like you because you are successful and I think LeBron has been extremely successful since high school and Wade has been successful and I think those guys will continue to be successful. And with their success, there are going to be some people who are upset with that."
via LeBron James NBA lockout game at Florida International University has Isiah Thomas in the middle of it all - Sun-Sentinel.com.

Thomas continues to foster relationships with the biggest stars, like running interference for James publicly, on his way back to the top. Chris Paul, who reports have linked Thomas to in an effort to recruit the point guard to the Knicks in 2012, is scheduled to appear at the game along with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. If you're a Hornets fan, this entire scenario has to make you ill. 

So is Thomas right? Is the backlash against James strictly a reaction to all of his success? That's unlikely, given that Michael Jordan is the most popular basketball player of all time and all he ever did was win. Instead, it's the fact that success doesn't seem to be James' primary goal that seems to irk people. Whether it's his own ego, becoming a global brand, having a good time, or making friends, there always seems to be another priority for James. And while versatility and diversity in life are things we admire in mere mortals, as a public, we tend to despise athletes who aren't obsessed with winning.

It's not that James is successful. It's that he doesn't care about being successful enough.  
Posted on: September 14, 2011 12:21 pm

Report: Isiah Thomas courting CP3 for Knicks

By Matt Moore

The New York Post reported two Knicks  items of note Wednesday. The first is that Amar'e Stoudemire is currently working out in Miami at Florida International University... the same university Isiah Thomas is currently employed at. There has always been talk of Isiah Thomas' closeness with owner James Dolan even after his dismissal from the club. He was heavily rumored to have been involved in the discussions over All-Star Weekend to bring Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks, and was part of the deciding factor in Dolan's decision to "give up the farm" in the deal in order to insure they acquired Melo as soon as possible. Stoudemire working out there is likely just a convenient option for him, given its sunny location and facilities, but it's also a sign that Thomas is never far from the Knicks, as he continues to hover while the Knicks seek out a new GM.

But the more eye-opening information regards the Knicks' top free agency target of 2012, not 2010. The Post reports that Dolan is actively working with Thomas, who is not under contract with the Knicks (the league ruled it would be a violation for a head coach of an NCAA team to be on contract with an NBA team), to court Chris Paul. From the Post:  
Plus, Isiah continues to share a close relationship with some of the league's top players. That would include Carmelo Anthony, Amare and more importantly, Chris Paul.

This is the reason James Dolan continues to lean on Isiah for advice, even though Isiah doesnt have an official position with the Knicks. If he did, Isiah would be in violation of NBA bylaws for having contact with players during the lockout.

Isiah played a role in the Knicks signing Amare two summers ago and he played a role in the Melo trade. He's now working behind the scenes to help the Knicks land Chris Paul.
via Knicks Amare Stoudemire works out at FIU, where former Knicks president Isiah Thomas is head coach

The report, if accurate, is alarming for all kinds of people. Knicks fans have to be concerned because this just puts Thomas closer to the organization and further opens the possibility of Thomas returning to the role of GM, despite Thomas' denials. Hornets fans have to be concerned with another team actively working to recruit their star player before free agency begins. The league has to be concerned on two fronts, from a tampering aspect and from a team working through back channels to communicate with a player through free agency. And Chris Paul has to be worried that Isiah Thomas has his cell phone number. Okay, not really, Thomas is respected by the players. 

In reality, it's possible this is more of the same rumors and innuendo that have linked Thomas with the Knicks and Paul for years.  But if Dolan is still pursuing a three-man team-up of Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Amar'e Stoudemire, how is he going to feel about a hard cap which may restrict his ability to sign all three? These are the kinds of questions we're trying to navigate in an uncertain apocalyptic lockout landscape. 
Posted on: August 4, 2011 12:30 pm

Knicks owner sings about his friend Isiah Thomas

By Matt Moore

Who knew James Dolan had a sense of humor? Last week, Dolan and his band, JD and the Straight Shot (yes, he has a band) opened for Aretha Franlkin at the Jones Beach Theater. (What can we say, being the head of a massive telecommunications and entertainment entity has its perks.) During the set, Dolan dropped a catchy little ditty called "Fix the Knicks." Here's the video, courtesy of Alan Hahn of Newsday on Twitter: 


In the course of that little tune, there's an interesting line around the one minute mark. 

"Doing my best, yes, that's my promise
I check with my friend called 'Isiah Thomas'."

Now that's just funny.

It's a pretty obviously tongue-in-cheek reference to all the claims that Dolan and Thomas are best-buds (and there are a lot of them). While the song is pretty terrible,  that's pretty amusing and a nice crack at the criticism. Also pretty solid is one of the final lines about how everyone has the answer on draft night to "fix the Knicks." 

Maybe his next hit can be "The Revenue Sharing Blues."  

(HT: Isiah Thomas
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com