Tag:Isiah Thomas
Posted on: November 10, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:40 pm

Knicks President Donnie Walsh to have hip surgery

New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh will have hip-replacement surgery next week. Posted by Ben Golliverdonnie-walsh

The New York Times reports that New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh, a long time NBA executive, will have hip-replacement surgery next week.
The procedure, Walsh said, would allow him to walk without the use of the walker or a cane. He made the decision after consulting with multiple doctors.
“They both said, ‘Your legs are strong, your neck is healed, your balance is fine,’ ” Walsh said Wednesday before the Knicks played the Golden State Warriors. “When you disrupt your spinal cord and lose your bearings, you have to learn how to walk again. I’ve gotten through a lot. My legs are much stronger. I can walk down steps if I’m holding on to a wall but if I don’t have a cane or something. But if I’m walking alone and I have to dip, it throws me off balance.”
Walsh has done a nice job of undoing Isiah Thomas' mess in New York, sacrificing tons of assets to unload ugly contracts so that he could sign all star power forward Amar'e Stoudemire last summer and be a player in the 2011 free agency market. But he has had to deal with reports this summer that Thomas is trying to weasel his way back into a management role with the New York Knicks. And, to make matters worse, Walsh has also had to deal with explosive allegations about illegal pre-draft workouts conducted during the Thomas era that could result in a fine and/or forfeiture of draft picks for the organization. So there's a certain symbolism to the surgery here, as Walsh looks to get back on his feet as he works to help a once proud organization do the same.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 8:10 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:37 pm

NBA could suspend Isiah Thomas over workouts

Former New York Knicks executive Isiah Thomas reportedly could face a suspension for his involvement in illegal pre-draft workouts. Posted by Ben Golliver isiah-thomas  A few weeks back, we noted a Yahoo! report that alleged that the New York Knicks held improper pre-draft workouts over a number of seasons with multiple players, including Wilson Chandler, a player the team eventually drafted.   At the time, we suggested that, given the seriousness of the actions and the fair-play implications, a steep fine and a loss of draft picks could be in order.  Yahoo! reports today that former Knicks executive and current college basketball coach Isiah Thomas, who oversaw basketball operations when the alleged violations took place, wants back into the NBA but that, in addition to numerous questions about his character, integrity and competency, the illegal workouts could lead to a suspension for Thomas.  
The NBA has enlisted an outside law firm to probe the circumstances of the workouts – including one in which Indiana Pacers guard Brandon Rush said he suffered a severe knee injury – and sources say more tips keep flowing in from around the league. Several teams want severe sanctions for the Knicks, because these charges dig to the heart of competitive balance and fairness. Beyond monetary fines and forfeiture of future draft picks for Donnie Walsh’s regime, league sources say any uncovering of Thomas’ possible complicity in potential violations could result in a suspension to be tacked onto his future return to the NBA.

Given a sexual harassment case that ended in a large financial settlement, it's virtually possible to envision an NBA team hiring Thomas, a Hall of Fame point guard for the Detroit Pistons. Being implicated in the illegal contact investigation would be a fatal blow to Thomas' NBA future. 

NBA scouts use the term "red flag" to describe health or character issues that disqualify a player from being drafted. Isiah Thomas is a living, breathing red flag for any potential NBA employer.

Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:30 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 11:33 am

Isiah Thomas and reality are not friends

Isiah Thomas says he would have lured LeBron, wants his old job back, and is advising key NBA players. We weep for the future.
Posted by Matt Moore

Good morning, Knicks fans. Feeling good about that big win over the Bulls last night? Pretty great, huh? Yup, look's like that awful period in Knicks history is over.

Or... not.


From ESPN :
Isiah believes he can recruit James out of Miami and into Madison Square Garden in 2014. Isiah believes that, with or without James, he will someday help the Knicks win their first NBA title since 1973.
Yes, Knicks fans. That would be Isiah. Back in action. In a lengthy interview with ESPN New York, Thomas talks about his time with the Knicks, about how he'll put his draft record up against anyone (Renaldo Balkman for the win!), about how two of the players he brought in were All-Stars last year (on different teams, but who's quibbling?), and about how, yes, he wants the gig back. He talks about replacing Donnie Walsh. He talks about advising "a lot of players" including Carmelo Anthony. And he talks about the Big 3 as if he's hanging out with them on the Heat sideline.
"I do find it ironic that we all ended up here in Miami instead of us all ending up in New York," Thomas said. "But it's a four-year deal."
So there's that. Isiah plans on retaking his rightful throne as head of the Knicks, luring LeBron away in 2014 (when he's approaching 30) and fulfilling his destiny. If it sounds prophetic, that's because it's insane.

The Knicks just got through dishing the last draft pick they needed that Thomas traded. They still have to get Eddy Curry off the books (still!) . They're just now reaching some level of contention with the new regime after a half decade of utter disaster under Thomas. Thomas' problems went beyond just the sexual harrassment case (think of how many sentences in the English statement begin with that precursor), the drafting which looked good at the time and looks worse in retrospect, the terrible contracts and dismal on-court performance. It was the total and complete failure at all levels.

And the guy wants his gig back, and believes not only that he would have been succesful in drawing James et al if he had been in charge, but that if given the job back, he'll be successful in 2014.

Oh, Isiah. How we've missed you.

Ken Berger will have more on this situation tonight from Madison Square Garden.

Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:01 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:52 pm

Forget MJ, Kobe Bryant is a top 5 guard

Michael Jordan says Kobe Bryant is a top 10 guard of all time. He should have said top five.
Posted by Ben Golliver

In a recent interview with USA Today , Michael Jordan, the greatest player in the history of basketball, was asked how Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant stacks up to the greatest who have ever played the game.
It's so hard to say. I think he is always going to be within the conversations of some of the greatest players who've played by the time he is finished. Where does he rank among those, if you are talking about positions? If you are talking about guards, I would say he has got to be in the Top 10.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports caught up with Bryant for his reaction to Jordan's comment.
“It’s an accurate statement,” Bryant said. “I’m definitely one of the top 10 guards. It could mean two, it could mean one, it could mean four or five. I’m definitely one of the top thousand. Look, I know how he feels about me. “There have been a lot of great guards to play the game. For me to sit here and say, ‘He should have said top five,’ that’s disrespectful to the other guards that I’ve watched.”

In this case, I'm happy to be "disrespectful" to Jordan on Bryant's behalf: Michael Jordan should have said Kobe Bryant is a top five guard. Period.   In his 2009 The Book Of Basketball , Bill Simmons set out to rank the best players in the game, in part, to help settle questions like this one. Simmons ranked Bryant as the No. 15 player overall, and the only pure guards ranked ahead of Bryant were Jordan (No. 1 overall), Magic Johnson (No. 4 overall), Jerry West (No. 8 overall) and Oscar Robertson (No. 9 overall).  You can quibble over West/Robertson, but the rest, including Bryant, seem right to me. Since the book's release last fall, Bryant won another title with the Lakers, so his standing has only improved. Bryant refused to rank himself when given the opportunity by Spears, and this was a wise move, because current players will always be at a sentimental disadvantage when compared to retired players. Magic Johnson brings back memories, Oscar Robertson evokes tales, and Kobe Bryant still makes plays. That process of continually adding to his resume works against him whenever we try to assess his standing against stationary targets. Given that he is battling legends, the standard for Bryant to overtake guys like Robertson and West will be exceedingly high and probably not attainable until he retires, and his statistics and ring total go final.  Jordan and Johnson may wind up completely unassailable, regardless of how Bryant's career plays out, such is the magnitude of their cultural power.   Whether Bryant ever cracks that top two isn't today's discussion. Today, it's more important to realize that it's far more difficult to exclude Bryant from the top five guards of all time than it is to include him.  Who would you rather have? Bob Cousy? Isiah Thomas? John Stockton? Rick Barry? Cousy - with his titles, leadership and revolutionary back court play - makes the strongest sentimental case, but he doesn't pass the smell test. You don't think Kobe Bryant in his prime would wipe the parquet with Cousy in his prime if given the chance? On both ends Bryant's athleticism and length would be overpowering. As for the rest, they didn't win as often or in as dominating a fashingon as Bryant has. Jordan's comment shows an appreciation for the game's other great guards and, perhaps, a self-protective impulse. Surely it's easier for Jordan to remain king eternally if his strongest current challenger is given more ground to make up. It was a savvy play by Jordan and Bryant's response showed equal thoughtfulness.  Bryant knows historical rankings can't be campaigned for, they are given out collectively once they've been deemed "earned".  He also knows he's well on his way.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 1:18 am

David Stern admits Isiah mistake

NBA commissioner admits mistake in approving Thomas re-hiring as consultant while employed as FIU coach.
Posted by Matt Moore

Isiah Thomas was the worst.

I'm not using the phrase colloqually. I don't mean it as in, "Chris Kataan's movies are the worst." I mean, he was literally the worst front office executive in the history of sports management. ABA franchises that crashed inside of a year had better runs. You've had bowel movements with more consistency than the work Isiah Thomas put in durin his Knicks run. Donnie Walsh just this year actually cleared the slate enough to make some progress with the roster he inherited from Thomas.

So, yeah, it was kind of a mistake for James Dolan to hire him. That's nothing new. Nor is the awkard blundering attempt to hire Thomas back as a consultant despite not only nearly violent protests from Knicks fans who were rapidly approaching "threats to jump off a bridge" level, but the fact that Thomas is prevented from working as a consultant for a pro team due to his current position as head coach of an NCAA basketball program at FIU. Again, we're all aware those are obvious foul-ups. But what's interesting is that David Stern was part of this particular foul-up.

Stern told New York reporters during his trip to Paris that he OK'd the hiring of Thomas. No complicated reasoning, no sidestepping. Stern simply told them he screwed up . Via the New York Post :

"It's fair to say I missed the issue,'' Stern said. "I told them they can do it. And when it was announced, my guy said it's not allowed. I blew that one pretty good. "It didn't comply with our rules and ultimately wouldn't have complied with NCAA rules.”

And that's how the commish rolls. Just goes out, admits he was wrong, moves on. It's also of note given the close relationship between Stern and the Knicks organization, including Donnie Walsh. The move still remains confusing due to Stern's concerns for the welfare of his biggest market. Why would he want the guy that brought the franchise to not only ruin but disgrace back on the payroll? But if he was just answering the question of if it was okay or not, maybe the answer with Isiah should always be "I'll get back to you."
Posted on: August 11, 2010 9:04 am

Shootaround 8.11.10: LeBron is watching you

Posted by Royce Young
  • Late yesterday, LeBron tweeted: "Don't think for one min that I haven't been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone! "
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel on LeBron's tweet : "Cancel the NBA season. Now. Be done with it, Mr. Stern. Skip all the formalities. Let’s just have the ticker-tape parade now. Break out the party favors South Florida! Crank up Will Smith’s old-school hit “Miami”, celebrating the majesty and magnificence of the Miami Heat. “Bouncin’ in the club where the heat is on. All night on the beach til the break of dawn.” Yeah baby! Jeff Van Gundy says they are going to win every single game, or something like that. The Heat will be on TV 29 times this season, coming close to the number of times you can watch Law and Order on any given day. And King James sent out this defiant shout-out on Twitter on Tuesday: “Don’t think for one min that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!” Now we’ve gone and done it! LeBron James is mad! We are doomed! What’s the point of playing?"
  • Shaq says Kobe is the best he's played with: “A lot of people rank players from different opinions, but if you wanna go with ring standpoint it has to be Kobe,” O’Neal said. “LeBron is a great athlete, D-Wade is a great athlete, but it’s close. I’m lucky to have been able to play with both of those guys, but Kobe right now has had that eye for a long time. I’ve known him for a while. When he gets that eye there aren’t really too many people that can beat him.”
  • Rich Cho has added two assistant GMs . One is Bill Branch, Oklahoma City’s director of professional player personnel and Steve Rosenberry, who served as Atlanta’s director of pro personnel/college scouting.
  • Zach Lowe of CelticsHub with a lecture on expectations: "I have no clue whether the C’s will win 49 games or 60 games or 52 games next season, but I know for sure that 51 is a perfectly reasonable guess. And if they get 16 in the playoffs? Then we’ll forget the regular-season number pretty fast."
  • Isiah Thomas is taking part in a photo protest: "Another decision by Thomas — one made in concert with his son, Joshua Thomas — has drawn considerably less attention, and it's something of a groundbreaker, too: Thomas participated in the NOH8 Campaign, a "photographic silent protest" of California's controversial gay marriage ban."
  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes that the Pistons have an edge with McGrady because of their trainer: "The Pistons truly believe that they have an edge with strength-and-conditioning coach Kander, who has been with the team since the spring of 1992. They think his methods are great at preventing injuries (last season notwithstanding) and helping players overcome previous injuries."
Posted on: August 10, 2010 9:15 am
Edited on: August 10, 2010 11:45 am

Shootaround 8.10.10: LeBron goes on rides

Posted by Matt Moore
  • In a fitting retrospective of their careers , Michael Jordan will introduce Scottie Pippen at Friday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  Hopefully Jordan won't stop to make time to list off the remainders on his personal hitlist like last year. Pippen's speech is expected to be more of the traditional Hall of Fame speech, filled with gratitude toward teammates and humility. Though from what we know of Scottie, anything's possible.
  • Steve Nash has entered into business with a new firm merging venture capital and brand management. It's yet another indication that Nash's influence likely won't stop when his playing days are through. Nash has diversified his interests into business, charities, media, the works.
  • The NBA's overseas expansion continues, as the Raptors and Nets will play two regular season games in London next season. It's a fine effort for the league to try and grab some headlines with and to expand its global presence, but it's a back to back with an overseas flight bookending the games. That's going to wreak havoc on those team's schedules. Even with the low expectations for those two teams this year, that's a rough turn.
  • Donnie Walsh's contract must be extended by March 11th, 2011 . The Knicks will decide on whether to extend Walsh for that fourth year by then. Keep that in mind with all this talk of Isiah Thomas returning to the fold.
  • Eric Musselman has been tabbed as the Reno Bighorns' newest coach in the NBA D-League. Musselman was a D-League commentator last year for Versus.
Posted on: August 9, 2010 5:40 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2010 5:49 pm

Revisiting Isiah Thomas's first run with New York

Posted by Royce Young

In probably the most stunning offseason move in an offseason filled with stunning moves, Isiah Thomas was re-hired by the Knicks as a basketball consultant. What that job entails, no one really knows quite yet. As Ken Berger notes , it's pretty dumb and might be downright illegal.

Thomas's first stop with the Knicks was plagued by overpaying players and rash decisions that were never with an eye to the future, but rather a quick fix. Things never worked out as seen by his dismissal and the franchise has yet to recover from Thomas's financial recklessness.

So with him back in the Big Apple, it might be fun to take a tour around his "accomplishments" during his five-year tenure with the Knicks:
  • On Dec. 22, 2003, the Knicks hired Thomas as President of Basketball Operations. To summarize his tenure briefly, he wasn't exactly successful with the Knicks roster and fanbase. At the end of the 2005-06 season , the Knicks had the highest payroll in the league and the second-worst record.
  • One of Thomas' first deals was acquiring Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway for Antonio McDyess, Maciej Lampe, guards Howard Eisley and Charlie Ward, the rights to guard Milos Vujanic, a first-round pick in 2004 and a conditional first-round pick.
  • But then the Isiah Thomas we all remember: He basically threw all good will away by signing Jerome James in 2005 to to a full mid-level exception contract deal. James played a total of 89 games in four seasons for the Knicks. 
  • He traded Penny Hardaway and promising prospect Trevor Ariza for Steve Francis and his albatross contract.
  • Of course, in 2005 there's the Eddy Curry trade that still haunts the Knicks. Curry was acquired with Antonio Davis for Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney, Jermaine Jackson and multiple first-round picks. Once Curry was cleared because of a heart condition, he was promptly signed to a six-year, $56 million contract. Seriously.
  • In 2006, the Knicks fired coach Larry Brown, and owner James Dolan replaced him with Thomas under the condition that he show "evident progress" or be fired.
  • In October of 2006, Thomas and Madison Square Garden were sued for sexual harassment by Anucha Browne Sanders. There was a trial in September 2007 and Thomas was determined to have made demeaning statements to Sanders, as well as making sexual advances and repeatedly telling her that he was in love with her. Madison Square Garden was ordered to pay Browne Sanders $11.6 million, one of the largest sexual harassment judgments in history.
  • Later in the 2006 season, nine months after James Dolan demanded "evident progress" or you know, Thomas would be in trouble, New York re-signed Thomas to a multi-year deal. (For what it's worth, the Knicks went 33-49 record.)
  • During the 2007 Draft, Thomas made a large trade by acquiring Zach Randolph, Fred Jones and Dan Dickau from Portland for Steve Francis and Channing Frye.
  • On April 2, 2008, Donnie Walsh was introduced to replace Thomas as President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks. At that time, Walsh wouldn't say whether or not Thomas would be retained by the Knicks though everyone knew what was likely coming.
  • Only 24 hours after the Knicks tied a franchise record of 59 losses and ended their 2007-08 season, word began to leak that Isiah had been told he would not return as Knicks head coach the following season. He was officially "reassigned," as Walsh put it, on April 18. As part of the reassignment agreement Thomas was banned from having contact with any Knicks' players under the rationale that he could willingly or unwillingly undermine Donnie Walsh and the new head coach. Until now, I guess.
So the first gallop with Thomas in New York had some ups and downs, but mainly lots and lots of downs. He burdened the franchise with horribly salary cap management and lost virtually every asset the team had. He was demoted, then demoted again and then fired. He made promises of championships but didn't come close in any way, but rather took the storied franchise to new lows in terms of losses. And yet, he has been hired again. Sports: They just don't make sense sometimes.
Category: NBA
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