Isiah Thomas has supporter as Pacers' Jermaine O'Neal keeps faith
BY FRANK ISOLA
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Monday, December 17th 2007, 4:00 AM
blames the Knicks' 7-16 record on the players and not Isiah Thomas,
the man responsible for assembling and coaching those players.
"I think the players have to put up a little bit more effort for the coach," O'Neal told the Indianapolis Star. "They have to figure it out because they have a lot of athletes. Isiah is a great coach, but it's up to the players to want to win, too. If the players don't put out the effort they need to put out then it's going to be a tough road for him."
O'Neal's support dates back to the days when Thomas coached him with the Pacers for three years. The two have remained close. In fact, O'Neal's high school coach and mentor, Knicks assistant coach George Glymph
, followed Thomas from Indiana to Knicks.
Thomas has tried on several occasions to acquire the power forward, a former All-Star whose play has declined in recent years.
Disgruntled forward Malik Rose
was a no-show at yesterday's practice. A team spokesman said Rose's vehicle was blocked in by the snow. The rest of the team, however, all made it to the practice facility in Greenburgh.
Rose is seeking a trade and Thomas is trying to accommodate him. There is a possibility that the Knicks will negotiate a buyout with Rose, a tactic Thomas has used with veterans in the past, including Shandon Anderson
, Maurice Taylor
, Jalen Rose
and Jerome Williams
Thomas on the Pacers, who are 12-12 under new coach Jim O'Brien
: "They've been great. I think (Jamaal
is having an awesome year for them. He's kind of the key to the team the way they are playing. They're moving the ball and he's finding people all over the place and getting everybody good looks."