Amazingly - this is the same thing Isiah was criticized while coach of the pacers - during his first season. (Not working hard)
James Dolan's 'preference' is to keep Isiah Thomas as Knicks coach
BY FRANK ISOLA
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Thursday, March 27th 2008, 4:00 AM
Jamal Crawford and the Knicks swat the Heat at the Garden Wednesday night, but the real news comes from ...
... James Dolan, who may actually want to keep Isiah Thomas (below) with Knicks despite his awful reign.
James Dolan will not stand in the way of Donnie Walsh removing Isiah Thomas as the Knicks' head coach, according to a team source, but Dolan has made it clear that his "preference" is to keep Thomas on the sidelines.
As absurd as it may sound, Dolan is not prepared to completely sever ties with Thomas, whose record as an executive and head coach is among the worst in franchise history. The Knicks have not had a winning season with Thomas in charge and he was also was at the center of an embarrassing sexual harassment case that saw a jury rule in favor of a former Madison Square Garden female executive.
"There isn't a basketball executive alive who would keep Isiah as head coach, but Jim is telling whoever he interviews, 'I would prefer to keep Isiah but you do what you have to do,'" said the source, who is close to Dolan, the Garden chairman. "If Isiah isn't the coach, Jim still wants him to stay in the organization in some capacity."
Even one Knicks player said Wednesday that it's time for Thomas to go.
"If they're going to keep him here, you can't keep him as the coach," said the player, before the Knicks held on to beat the woeful Miami Heat, 103-96 in overtime, Wedmesday night. "That won't work. He can't come back and coach the team."
The Knicks have a handshake agreement with Walsh, the former Indiana Pacers CEO, to run the basketball operation. The two sides are working to finalize the deal.
Dolan's presence, however, could complicate negotiations. Dolan's business relationships with Dave Checketts, Jeff Van Gundy, Lenny Wilkens, Marv Albert and Larry Brown did not end well, and Walsh knows all five. If Walsh reaches out to Brown, that could also work against the Knicks.
Brown was fired after one season as head coach, and although he feels betrayed by Thomas, Brown blames Dolan for making the last three months of his Knicks career miserable. Although Dolan knew that he was preparing to fire Brown, he still required Brown to attend workouts for prospective draft picks.
Dolan then refused to pay Brown and used a clause in Brown's contract that made NBA commissioner David Stern an arbitrator in the dispute. Brown felt that Dolan's intention was not only to keep from paying him but to damage his reputation as well.
That Dolan would like to retain Thomas in some capacity may raise red flags in Walsh's camp. Ever since Dolan took a more active role in the day-to-day operations of the club, the Knicks have become a laughingstock NBA franchise.
Wednesday night's victory upped Thomas' record to 43-100 in two seasons as Knicks head coach. His team is regarded as one of the least prepared and worst conditioned in the NBA.
Meanwhile, Thomas has essentially stopped working. He canceled practice on Tuesday and then conducted an 18-minute game-day shoot-around yesterday. He also continued his habit of showing up later than normal for games - which he has done more than a dozen times - blaming it on traffic.Yet when Thomas finally arrived last night, he told reporters, "I love the game. I love being around it."
Thomas' questionable work ethic is rubbing off on his players. While the Heat had eight players going through drills 90 minutes before tip-off, the Knicks' end of the court was vacant. Several players, including Malik Rose, David Lee and Mardy Collins, went through pregame drills, but the contrast was startling.
If Walsh agrees to run the Knicks, he likely will make a coaching change, and the most likely candidates are former Knick Mark Jackson, former Bulls coach Scott Skiles and current Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau.
But first he will have to do something that Dolan, for whatever reason, is reluctant to do: fire Thomas. The Daily News reported last month that the Knicks spoke to former Nets assistant GM Kiki Vandeweghe and that Dolan expressed a desire to keep Thomas on the bench at that time, too. Both Vandeweghe and the Knicks have denied talking.
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barman Mar 27, 2008 7:35:25 AM Report Offensive Post
All this negativity when the Knicks are on a roll, winning one in a row. Isiah's decision to rest the team on Tuesday so they would still be fresh in overtime on Wednesday was a stroke of genius.
DLawLovesNYsports Mar 27, 2008 7:45:28 AM Report Offensive Post
Honestly....Isiah has to go, only to relieve me of reading these "Let's Get Rid of Isiah stories" The New York media has been banging this drum slowly for two years and frankly I have "Isiah Has to Go" fatigue. Yes...the team is horrible. Yes..they are way over the salary cap. Yes.Dolan or Walsh has to fire Isiah. Enough already. I get the point. Move on already.
findwill Mar 27, 2008 8:39:50 AM Report Offensive Post
THOMAS STARTED ON THE WRONG FOOT BY BRINGING IN MARBURY... and we all know what happened since...Dear Walsh.. In as much as you have to fire THOMAS... please get rid of MARBURY...He is the real CANCER... just look at all the careers the list below.. Minessotta Keith Van Horn Kevin Garnet Larry Brown (Marbury robbed him off Olympic gold and got him fired from the Knicks. Isaiah Thomas....At lease he proved himself as a player... PLEASE DO NOT LET MARBURY RUIN YOUR GARDEN. Bring Back Jeff Van Gundy and Thibo...and if we can get Ewing as a Big Man Coach... Kepp Curry and Zach!
deadknicksfan Mar 27, 2008 9:02:22 AM Report Offensive Post
Isiah is an idiot and I cant stand to see his face on the sidelines. I cant watch a game as long as he's involved with the team and Dolan is an even bigger idiot for allowing this to go on as long as it has.
JimmyBX182 Mar 27, 2008 9:04:12 AM Report Offensive Post
Amazing there are still broken condoms like you around blaming Marbury. Marbury is NOT the reason this team S*UCKS. Poor GM work by Layden and Thomas has made the last 6 years in NYC basketball a disaster. Curry is the first to go, followed by Craw-ful, MissQ-Rich, and finally Z-BO. The team is a disaster. You need 1 dominant player and 2 excellent ones to be good in the league. Hopefully the Knicks get an excellent one in this year's draft. It's a shame we lost out on the best years of Marbury because of idiots like Isiah and Brown.
Blu Fog Mar 27, 2008 9:58:04 AM Report Offensive Post
Wake up folks...............Dolan only wants to keep him because he doesnt want to pay the man for doing even less than he already has done. There will have to be some type of settlement and there will still be money exchanging hands from Dolan to Isiah so why not make the man do some work?
Bobby B Mar 27, 2008 10:24:25 AM Report Offensive Post
"His team is regarded as one of the least prepared and worst conditioned in the NBA. Meanwhile, Thomas has essentially stopped working. He canceled practice on Tuesday and then conducted an 18-minute game-day shoot-around yesterday. He also continued his habit of showing up later than normal for games - which he has done more than a dozen times" If I'm Walsh, or anybody else, and Dolan says I have to keep Thomas around, even if it's cleaning out the toilet, ain't no way in H-e-l-l, I'll take the job.
michael_knight Mar 27, 2008 11:19:39 AM Report Offensive Post
First off Filip Bondy is smoking sherm crack for saying that Dolan should punish Isiah by keeping him! Wonder why we can't comment on that article. Secondly Dolan is going to have Knicks fans waiting for him to die Like Cubans were waiting on Castro to die.
Sgrandedog Mar 27, 2008 11:27:10 AM Report Offensive Post
Seriously, Isiah must have something on Dolan that Dolan wants to keep private. Isiah needs to go. I wish Dolan would go with him too...
tillzen Mar 27, 2008 11:35:08 AM Report Offensive Post
Isiah's best move as a Knick; photographing Dolan with that sheep.