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Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

Posted on: August 11, 2010 6:24 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 7:48 pm
 

NEW YORK -- Not surprisingly, Isiah Thomas and the Knicks aren't reuniting after all. The deposed team president will not take a consulting job with the Knicks, citing the NBA rules that forbid the arrangement.

After nearly three days of reviewing league policies that apply to the consulting arrangement Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan tried to arrange with Thomas, the Knicks and NBA officials reached the only conclusion possible: Thomas' job as basketball coach at Florida International clearly disqualifies him from working in any capacity for an NBA team. League rules strictly prohibit any coach, scout, executive, consultant or anyone else remotely employed in basketball operations with an NBA team from having any contact with draft-ineligible players. Such contact, obviously, is a key part of a college basketball coach's job.

"After speaking with Commissioner Stern and Knicks executives, it has become apparent that my new agreement violates certain NBA by-laws," Thomas said in a statement. "Because of this, I have decided to rescind my contract with the team.

"I have nothing but the utmost respect for Jim Dolan, Donnie Walsh, Mike D'Antoni and the entire Knicks organization, and I want to thank them for affording me this opportunity. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that the Knicks didn't perform up to the standards the fans had every right to expect while I was in charge. I take full responsibility for that. I was very much looking forward to this unique opportunity to help the organization do what I do best: find basketball talent. I wish the team nothing but success in the future."

The Knicks announced Friday that they were hiring Thomas -- whose scorched-Earth tenure as Knicks president and coach ended with the hiring of Walsh as team president in April 2008 -- as a consultant to advise the organization in a variety of ways. Among Thomas'
duties was to "provide valuable insight and analysis of young prospects from around the world."

As CBSSports.com reported Monday , such an arrangement was a clear violation of the NBA Constitution and By-Laws, which do not even allow basketball operations employees with NBA teams to publicly speak about high school, college or international players not yet eligible for the NBA draft -- much less have direct contact with them.

In announcing that Thomas was voiding his contract, officials with the NBA and the Knicks made efforts to minimize the public-relations embarrassment the team would endure as a result. This was obvious in the timing of the public announcements on the Thomas fiasco Tuesday: First, Isiah's statement. Then, a thumb-in-the-eye to Knicks fans from Dolan, who praised Walsh and D'Antoni in a release issued by the team but said he was "disappointed" he couldn't hire Thomas and that he will "continue to solicit his views."

"I continue to believe in his basketball knowledge, including his ability to judge talent," Dolan said of Isiah in a rare public pronouncement. "He's a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views. He will always have strong ties to me and the team. We wish him continued success at FIU. I also believe Donnie Walsh has done a terrific job since joining the Knicks and my tremendous respect for him has only grown since he's joined the organization. I'm confident that the work that Donnie, Coach Mike D'Antoni and their staffs have done this summer has the team poised for long-term success."

Finally, a classically subdued missive from Stern, who said in a statement from the league office that there was no need for him to take action since Thomas' contract had been voided. (Gee, I wonder why?)

"However, we have reminded the Knicks of NBA rules that prohibit team personnel, including consultants, from having contact with players not eligible for the draft," Stern said.

Anyway, the fallout from attempting to circumvent NBA rules -- or simply being unaware of them -- will be nothing compared to the public scorn heaped on the Knicks for even contemplating a reunion with Thomas in the first place. His tenure as team president and then coach featured ill-conceived trades (Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry), a sexual harassment lawsuit that cost Madison Square Garden and Dolan $11.5 million, and a salary-cap mess that took Walsh more than two years to clean up.

The announcement of Thomas' ill-fated reunion with the team also overshadowed a rare run of positive developments for the Knicks, who made credible pitches to sign free agents LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, landed power forward Amar'e Stoudemire instead, and have the flexibility to add a second max player through trades or as a free agent next summer. The biggest damage may have been inflicted on Walsh and D'Antoni, whose reputations were cast in a poor light by Dolan's belief that the team couldn't attract future free agents without Thomas' credibility as a Hall of Fame former player.

Sources say some elements of the Knicks' power structure -- i.e. Dolan -- believed after the failed bid for James and Wade that Thomas and his credibility with star players was needed to close the deal on future signings. Thomas, in fact, played un undefined role in the team's recruitment of Stoudemire, and also landed a meeting with James' associates during a failed 11th-hour bid to persuade the former Cav to join the Knicks. Walsh went out of his way to thank Thomas for his help in landing Stoudemire, a move that was met with head-scratching gazes in the media audience during Stoudemire's introductory news conference last month.

What has to scare Knicks fans even more than Dolan's continued belief in Thomas is the fact that Thomas could regain eligibility to work for the Knicks simply by quitting his job as Florida International coach. So it is possible that Knicks fans haven't heard the last from Isiah.

But then, who ever does?












Comments

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2010 3:39 pm
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

Does anyone know where I can get some of what Dolan has been smoking? Must be pretty good stuff.

You know what he's smoking, but getting some of it might result in another sexual harrasment lawsuit against Isiah.



Since: Jan 6, 2009
Posted on: August 12, 2010 1:43 pm
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

Does anyone know where I can get some of what Dolan has been smoking? Must be pretty good stuff.



Since: Nov 27, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2010 1:03 pm
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

COULD OF KEPT LEE FOR SLIGHTLY CHEAPER THEN AMARE BUT THIS IS THE KNICKS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. EVERY DECISION THEY MAKE IS THE WORST FOR THE PAST 5-10 YEARS.



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

The NBA just saved the Knicks from themselves on this one.  But the fact that Dolan would even consider rehiring Isiah, and also not realize such an obvious voilation does not bode well.  Some people shouldn't own teams.



Since: Mar 25, 2010
Posted on: August 12, 2010 11:50 am
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

"I continue to believe in his basketball knowledge, including his ability to judge talent," Dolan said of Isiah in a rare public pronouncement. "He's a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views.Doesn't this statement by Dolan just fly in the face of the commissioner?  If he continues to solicit his views and it happens to be on a player that is not draft eligible, isn't that a violation, even if he isn't being paid?



Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:59 am
 

He is working for the Knicks..do not be fooled.

Zeke is like the cold sore that will not go away.  He has already said that he was "helping" the Knicks out for some time.  He may not formally be with the team, but he will still continue with Dolan's blessing.  
This franchise is a joke.   



Since: Nov 18, 2009
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:45 am
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

"I was very much looking forward to this unique opportunity to help the organization do what I do best: find basketball talent. "

Really?  REALLY??? LOL  if finding basketball talent is what Thomas does best then how does he have ANY job ANYWHERE?!?!  With that joke of a job that he did when he was in charge...stacking the team with over-paid "basketball players" who did nothing to better the team...if Thomas is EVER made to be a consultant, the team should take what he says and run as fast as they can in the opposite direction if they want to ever become a serious contending team again!!  So glad for all knick fans that Thomas wasn't allowed back in...I'm sure they're pretty glad, themselves, too!!



Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:28 am
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

It is a better gig be an NCAA coach (Football an D1 Basketball only)  than to be an NCAA athlete in any sport. 

Shame on the NCAA that the NBA bailed you out on professional ethics and fairplay. 



Since: Feb 19, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:26 am
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

how stupid are the knicks?

isiah thomas ruined the team for the future - couple of examples

 - trading an unprotected 1st rounder for stephon marbury (#9 in this years draft) - marbury was a cancer to this team
 - signing eddy (fat man) curry to a long term contract,  the knicks will be paying this off for years to go with no production from this waste of talent
 - coaching horribly
 - sexual harassment settlement of over $10M - talk about hurting the image of the franchise

they play in madison square garden in NY for chissakes  - they have one of the biggest stages in the world
they are working their way out of this mess (although i think the amare stoudemire signing to a max contract was not about value, but saving face after having missed out on lebron james, dwayne wade and chris bosh) - but there are making progress

why would they bring back a reminder of the bad times - and he would probably screw this team again somehow ( or try to use the knicks in leverage in recruiting and get that college in trouble)



Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:26 am
 

Isiah not taking Knicks job (UPDATE)

I am with you, I though this stunk from day one and the NCAA should have rules against this sort of thing.   NCAA coaches should have no business arrangement with any NBA team!  

One more reason it is such a better gig to be an NCAA coach (D1 Football or Basketball only) than to be an NCAA player of any sport. 



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