Blog Entry

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

Posted on: February 22, 2011 5:53 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 6:07 pm
GREENBURGH, N.Y. – The obligatory question didn’t come until the end of Knicks president Donnie Walsh’s session with reporters Tuesday, but it had to be asked. 

What role did Isiah Thomas have in the Knicks’ successful pursuit of Carmelo Anthony

"I have no idea,” Walsh said, understandably reacting testily to the incessant drumbeat about Isiah’s role. “Only what I read in your papers. … I’m assuming Isiah’s getting ready for the NCAA Tournament. That’s what I’m assuming.” 

Maybe in the office pool, but not on the court. Thomas’ Florida International team is 9-17. 

Asked if it would bother Walsh if Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan was keeping with his word and continuing to solicit Thomas’ views – as he said in a statement announcing the team was no longer pursuing Thomas’ employment as a consultant – Walsh said, “I could care less. There are a lot of people that talk to him, all right? I could care less.” 

The notion of Thomas working behind the scenes to help Dolan accelerate the Knicks’ pursuit of Anthony – part conspiracy theory, part urban myth, and part truth – has cast a shadow over one of the most significant days in Knicks history since their last championship 38 years ago. Dolan still leans on Thomas, whose mark as an executive – besides incompetence – was to make the big splash now at the expense of the future. Theories about Thomas pushing Dolan to get involved in the trade talks – speaking with the Nuggets’ Stan Kroenke and meeting with Anthony himself in Los Angeles – took on new life during All-Star weekend. The Knicks’ sudden departure from Walsh’s patient negotiating path seemed out of character for one of the best poker-faced negotiators in the league. 

But Walsh, toeing the company line like the pro that he is, said he and coach Mike D’Antoni were in constant communication with Dolan while he was in Los Angeles and that Dolan “didn’t put any words in my mouth or anything, or any thoughts in my head.” 

“Jim went out to L.A. to be at the owners’ meeting,” Walsh said. “Somewhere in there it developed that he could have a meeting with Kroenke and later with Carmelo. Which was good news. Before he even went out there, we had met and talked about this deal. When he was out there, at every stage he called me and Mike – he was talking to (Kroenke) – and he kept us apprised of it. We talked it out. I was on the phone the whole period with him or with other people about this trade. And it’s continued through (Tuesday). We were together. That’s why when this information came out that suggested we weren’t, we issued the statement. And it was a very truthful statement.” 

Asked if Dolan had to sell the deal to Walsh, who throughout the process was reluctant to gut the roster to get Anthony, Walsh said, “No, not at all. And he shouldn’t because I’m the one who knows basketball, all right? So my job is to advise him, that this is good for your franchise. And I did that.”

There has been speculation that Walsh was so displeased with Dolan's spearheading of the final push to give up four players and three draft picks for Anthony -- with Thomas pulling strings in the background -- that it could affect Walsh's desire to return for the final year of his contract, which is at the team's option.

"I haven't thought about my future, all right?" Walsh said. "I don’t think it’s time to think about my future. You guys are making more out of it than I’m making out of it."

Since: Jul 6, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 7:34 pm

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

They keep going back to the guy- even after his proven record of destruction in both the CBA and the NBA.

Since: Aug 16, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:48 pm

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

They keep going to him - even as his destructive methods are not sound.

Since: Oct 7, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:45 pm

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

Isiah was a great player who also was a *ss in real life. To top it off, he's destructive as an NBA executive. The Knicks should finally pay him no mind.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 2:34 pm

He doesn't know?

How can a team president not know who is involved in a major decision like this? Especially when the league previously told them that the involvement of this person in team operations is strictly against league by-laws?

That he can't answer the question with an emphatic NO suggests the Knicks organization has not yet rid itself of the Isiah virus.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:16 pm

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

Considering what a terrible deal this is for the Knicks, it has Thomas's idiocy written all over it.  That, and/or Walsh has now taken his place in the long line of catastrophic Knicks executives.  Heckuva job, Donnie!

Since: Jan 25, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:00 am

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

I do think Isaiah was involved. Granted, this wasnt as bad as some of the clunkers he (Thomas) pulled off on his own but I cant believe this was totally Donnie Walsh's deal.

Dolan has a weird co-dependent relationship with Thomas. Dolan cant escape Thomas' influence and even seeks it out when he knows full well that nothing good can come of it. Its like a spouse who keeps going back to a bad former relationship even though the present homelife with the new spouse is much better. Why else would he have evne THOUGHT about re-hiring Thomas even after all the bad things that happened during Thomas' time in NY?

Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2011 10:06 am

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

IF Jim Dolan STILL insists on Isiah being a part of Knicks management and doesn't resign Donnie Walsh than he deserves all the dysfunction and vitriol that Isiah brings with him for Mr. Dolans insistence.
Isiah is a FAILED basketball executive, he ran the CBA into the ground until the NBA saved it and resurrected it into the D-League that we know today - though the league doesn't feel the same without the LaCrosse Catbirds & the Quad City Thunder.
He made horrendous personnel decisions for the Knicks, the team had an abysmal record under his "leadership", he brought a sexual harassment suit to the team which also came with it unwanted and despite some saying there's no such thing as bad publicity this is NOT what you want to be associated with.
He can't even win at the college level, part of the reason he wants back with the Knicks is because he's FAILING at FIU - they're a ROBUST 9-17 right now and really are going nowhere FAST!
It's too bad because the Knicks used to be a proud franchise and for Mr. Dolan to do this to Knick fans is just inexcusable.

Since: Dec 23, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 8:32 am

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

I don't understand why everyone is so convinced Isiah orchastated this deal. The Knicks added an All Star, obtained a quality PG for this season and reduced their salary commitments for next year, plus they dumped Curry. If this was an Isiah trade, we would have added a one time allstar who was past his prime, taken on salleries for the next five years of mediocre players and traded Amare in the process. Case closed, great Job Mr. Walsh 

Since: Jun 20, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:43 am

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

Why does the James Dolan insist on trying to make Isiah Thomas something he isn't.  Isiah Thomas isn't a good coach, isn't a good GM, isn't a good person, and isn't relevant in the NBA anymore.  Seriously, why doesn't Dolan just have a big press conference, announcing his love for Isiah Thomas, blow him in front of everyone, and just get it over with.  If your a Knicks fan, how can you be happy about having Isiah Thomas, who never played for you and ruins everything he touches, constantly mentioned in the same sentence with your team and it's owner.  I kind of liked the Knicks this season, but now they just look like losers to me, especially with the signing of wanna be thug Carmelo and his shoot everytime he gets the ball mentality.  Knicks won't be making the playoffs this season and won't ever see a championship game with Anthony on their team.

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:50 am

Walsh doesn't care about Isiah's role

Leave NY Donnie! Come back to Indy and let's beat the 2 powerhouses you helped build in Miami by not signing James and in NY by signing Anthony. Get rid of Larry Bird as you did Isiah who both suck and were great players but GM wannabe's. Then build a "TEAM" ala the 90's Pacers to beat these flashy all-star teams. Show them how baketball was meant to be played.

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