While Isiah Thomas spends his days devising the perfect plan to convince Donnie Walsh that signing Kwame Brown for $66 million over six years is the next step to building a winner, I figured now would be as good a time as ever to make a few recommendations for the next person the Knicks should hire. Read more »
Posts tagged: Isiah Thomas
(Wow, Isiah. Just wow.)
I know everyone knows about this already. I found out while I was in the car yesterday on the way to the beach. But I HAD to post it. Just had to. It isn’t every day that somebody who took a butcher knife to an entire organization gets re-hired by that same organization. (ESPN)
Isiah Thomas wants to get back in the NBA as a general manager, but until then, he’ll be a consultant to the New York Knicks while still coaching Florida International.
Thomas told ESPN.com Friday that he accepted a more formal and unique consulting position with his former employer, where he will help Knicks general manager Donnie Walsh make decisions on draft picks, trades and personnel.
“I’ll be available to him for that,” Thomas said by phone from South Florida. “I’ve always said that if there’s a GM position that should ever open that I would be interested in going back to the NBA as a GM for the right spot and the right opportunity. In terms of going back as a coach, I don’t see myself doing that.”
I don’t even know what to say this. For maybe the first time in my life, I’m speechless. Actually, I’ve got one thing to say: Karen Sypher should take notes from Isiah. Because Isiah’s showing you how extortion is done. There is no other explanation for this hire.
(“Hey Tyra! You left your toothbrush at my house.”)
Anybody want a former All-NBA performer? Four-time All-Star? A 6’7″ point guard? All rolled into one?
Even if you do, I don’t think Penny Hardaway’s the man for you. But he IS trying to come back to the NBA. Specifically, he’d like to play for the Miami Heat. (Orlando Sentinel)
Penny Hardaway, the man who inspired original Nike puppet in the late 90s “Lil Penny,” announced he is interested in competing for a role with the Miami Heat Thursday on an internet radio show called “The Bottom Line Sports Show.”
“Mentally I was retired and physically I was retired. I was playing recreational ball,” Hardaway said. “But when the decision happened with Chris Bosh and LeBron, I felt like I could really be good in that system.”
Hardaway said he sent text messages to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his former teammate Alonzo Mourning to express his interest in competing for a non guaranteed, one-year minimal role upon hearing “The Decision.”
The best part of the Penny report? This quote: “I can understand where Michael Jordan was coming from coming out of retirement a couple times, I can understand where Brett Favre is right now,” Hardaway said. “When you still have something in the tank it’s really hard to let it go.” Uh, Penny? You’ve been running on E for a decade now, son.
With Penny attempting a return, here is the list of the next five players set to come back. The quotes may or may not be fabricated.
1. Patrick Ewing – “I’ve been trying to make this coaching thing work,” said Ewing, “but YOU try teaching Dwight Howard post moves. I need to get back to playing. Coaching and Patrick Chewing commercials can only keep a man satisfied for so long.”
2. Bill Russell – “If Darko Milicic is worth $20 million,” Russell noted, “I’d be worth at least $45 mil even in a wheelchair. Plus, I’ve been meaning to play in the shot-blocking era. There’s still time for me to set the career record.” But Bill, I told him, you’re 3,830 blocked shots behind Hakeem. “I know,” Russell responded. “I might have to actually play a full season.”
3. Brett Favre – “I’ve been meaning to switch sports for awhile,” said Favre. “Just imagine the ESPN coverage it would get. It’d be a circus.” But do you even know how to play basketball, I asked him? “Yeah. Aren’t you a Celtics fan? You should have known I’ve been giving Tony Allen lessons for years.” Ah, interceptions.
4. Antoine Walker - “Look, I know I can’t play anymore,” Antoine told me. “I mean, I got cut in Puerto Rico. There’s nothing else you can do in professional basketball that’s more embarrassing than that.” So, um, why exactly are you coming back then? “What have you been, under a rock? I’m dead broke. Plus, I’m still worth at least Johan Petro money, right?” The poor broke bastard may have a point.
5. Isiah Thomas – “If I can still be mentioned for GM jobs,” Isiah explained, “then I’ve got to be incredibly desirable as a player. I can’t be nearly as destructive on the court as I am in an office.” Can’t argue with that.
Note: Sources tell me David Kahn has already contacted four of the five potential comeback candidates.
It was bad enough that the Knicks turned to Isiah Thomas to help them recruit Lebron James. (Hey, guys, I’ve got a serious question for you: What do you think about wooing Lebron with the worst GM in the history of professional sports? Yes! Absolutely! That’ll definitely work!)
But this is the Knicks, people! They couldn’t stop at just one head-scratching decision! They’re now considering making Isiah their GM all over again. (ESPN)
Walsh, the Knicks’ president, said Thomas will be on his list of candidates if he is given the go-ahead to hire a general manager.
“With other people, yes, Isiah would be under consideration from me,” Walsh said in a telephone interview Saturday. “But that’s a situation the owner would have to be involved in.”
Walsh said he hasn’t hired a general manager for financial reasons. If Knicks owner James Dolan allows it, he said he will eventually do so. Walsh, 69, also said reports of his imminent retirement are “totally off-base” and that he has no plans to step down.
There is little question that Dolan would be willing to consider rehiring Thomas, who served as the club’s president and eventually head coach for 4½ years. The two have maintained a close relationship since Thomas was fired by the Knicks in April 2008.
There’s only one thing to wonder after reading a report like this: What, exactly, is Isiah using as blackmail? There’s no other explanation for Isiah being considered for any job at all, never mind one at which he’s already proven to be utterly incompetent.
Let’s just recap his time in New York: He routinely made trades in which the Knicks not only got the worst players, but also the worst contracts. He ran the team into the ground so badly that, in what seemed like a harsh punishment, the Knicks forced him to coach the bums he’d assembled. He then proceeded to prove himself just as bad a coach as he was a GM (actually, maybe not THAT bad), and on top of that sexually
assaulted harrassed an employee, costing the Knicks $12 million.
With that track record, maybe the question should be: Why WOULDN’T the Knicks want to re-hire Isiah Thomas as their general manager?
Paul Pierce kindly told a Lakers fan during Game 2 that the Celtics weren’t planning to come back to LA.
Phil Jackson said the Lakers would either like to make him a liar or prove his statement right by winning three straight games themselves. (LA Times)
“We’re going to have to make him a liar,” Jackson said, smiling.
Then again, Jackson was told, the Lakers could win all three games in Boston.
If that did happen, the Lakers, who are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series, would win the NBA championship and the Celtics indeed wouldn’t have to come back to Los Angeles for a Game 6.
“We could end it here,” Jackson said. “That’s right. He might be right with that.”
Some Celtics fans might get mad at Jackson for what he said, but what was he supposed to say? That the Lakers were going to lose three straight, no doubt about it? That they shouldn’t even play Games 3-5 because Pierce’s prediction will come true no matter what? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
As hopeful as Pierce seems to be that the Celtics can win three straight, Marc Spears cautions that the road team has swept the middle three games more often than the home team. Only two teams have done it at home, but three have on the road. (Yahoo!)
Three visiting teams – the 1990 Pistons, 1991 Chicago Bulls and 2001 Lakers – have swept the middle games, which just proves one thing: At this level of the playoffs, it’s hard for any team to beat the other three times in a row.
“It’s extremely difficult to do,” said former Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas, who was MVP of the 1990 Finals when Detroit won three straight games in Portland to close out the series.
“That’s why it’s such a rare feat. Mentally, you have to go in there with the attitude that you can crush your opponent. Our locker room was totally silent before we came out for Game 3. We then ran out with [Bill] Laimbeer first, myself second and Joe Dumars third. I never forget Laimbeer running full blast out of the locker room and running a cameraman over.
“We all got to half court and Laimbeer grabbed the ball and slammed it hard to the floor. The Blazers turned around and looked at us, and I thought, ‘We are going to kick your ass.’ We were the ‘Bad Boys.’ If you’re going to be in a city that long, you have to own a city, make it yours and take it from the home team.”
I can’t exactly see Pau Gasol doing what Laimbeer did. But I DO know exactly what the Celtics should do before tonight’s game to make sure they won’t lose:
(h/t Celtics Life for the video)
Because the SI cover jinx wasn’t enough to slow Rajon Rondo down, ESPN has an epic nine-part story titled “9 stories on #9: The legend of Rajon Rondo.”
You should read the whole thing — mostly because it’s epic — but one part interested me the most: Wyc Grousbeck was an absolute savior in getting Rondo to Boston and keeping him there. (Peter May, ESPN)
Ainge was a Rondo fan but, as the draft progressed that night, it certainly looked like he was in a party of one. The Celtics had already used their own pick, No. 7 overall, in a deal with Portland, which brought them point guard Sebastian Telfair and rid them of the final year of Raef LaFrentz’s onerous contract. They already had Delonte West and now, with Telfair, they appeared to be covered at the position.
But there had been something about Rondo. Ainge, himself a headstrong player, downplayed Rondo’s rebellious stint at Kentucky under Tubby Smith. He worried less about Rondo’s lack of outside shooting ability and instead focused on the kid’s speed and athleticism. He looked at Rondo and saw big hands, long arms, a confidence that sometimes bordered on arrogance — and watched in disbelief as team after team passed on him that night.
Finally, Grousbeck told Ainge to do what he needed to do to get Rondo. “You’ve already saved us a lot of money,” he told Ainge, referring to the LaFrentz deal. “I know you’ve always liked him. If you need to spend the money to do it, go do it.” This was not characteristic of the Celtics in those days. They watched their pennies. They stayed away from the mid-level exception and avoided the luxury tax threshold as if it was radioactive. But here was Grousbeck allowing Ainge to buy a first-rounder and take on a guaranteed contract for someone who projected to be a third string point guard.
One by one, teams made picks in the teens and none of them was named Rajon Rondo. Among the players who were picked ahead of Rondo: Cedric Simmons (New Orleans), Rodney Carney (Chicago), Shawne Williams (Indiana), Oleksiy Pecherov (Washington) and Quincy Douby (Sacramento.)
By that point, Ainge wasn’t capable of exhaling. He had arranged for his old team, the Phoenix Suns, to draft Rondo if Rondo was still there when the Suns were to pick at No. 21. He and the Celtics were sure that the Knicks’ boss, Isiah Thomas, would ruin everything and draft Rondo at No. 20. But Thomas, himself a point guard, elected to go with Renaldo Balkman at No. 20.
I always wonder what would have happened had the Knicks picked Rondo and the Celtics picked Renaldo Balkman. The Celtics probably would have had at least three championships by now, don’t you think? Nice pick, Isiah. Renaldo Balkman’s really worked out pretty well. Come to think of it, so did Eddy Curry, Jerome James, Penny Hardaway, Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury.
Once Rondo got to Boston, it was Wyc (with a huge assist to Danny Ainge) who helped keep him there when the Sonics and Timberwolves tried to pry him away.
As Grousbeck explained to Taylor, Rondo was the Celtics’ starting point guard. He would not necessarily be so in Minnesota, which had Marko Jaric, the newly drafted Randy Foye and the veteran Troy Hudson on its roster. Clearly, Grousbeck explained further, Rondo was far more valuable to Boston than he would be to Minnesota.
Taylor didn’t buy it. Why, he wondered, would the Celtics jeopardize a deal for a first-ballot Hall of Famer, a game-changer, for a player who had been in the league for only one season? All the other pieces were in place. But the Timberwolves demanded Rondo. Grousbeck would not budge and told Taylor to get back to him no later than 5 p.m. that day. He had to know either way. Grousbeck also agreed to pay a portion of Sebastian Telfair’s salary. The Celtics were quite willing to include him in the deal instead of Rondo.
Grousbeck was alone on the aforementioned beach when his cellphone rang. It was the end of July. It was Taylor on the line. He had blinked. The Timberwolves would take Telfair and drop their demand that Rondo be included in the deal.
All along, the Celtics have seen Rondo’s value. I’m sure they never foresaw he would become THIS good, but they’ve known all along he had the making of someone special. Read the whole series; as I think I’ve mentioned before, it’s pretty damn epic.
Another must-read on Rondo: Scoop Jackson. I love Scoop and I love Rondo. Put those together and you get either Scondo or Roop… or a pretty damn good story.