Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

  1. #1
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    32,985

    Default So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Not that it really matters anymore, but it is an interesting thing to discuss.

    To quickly review, Isiah had lost the team towards the end of the 2003 season - a team that I contend was the most talented Indiana Pacers NBA team ever. I thought it was obvious that Isiah had to go, Walsh was extremely quiet after the season in fact he didn't speak until the Friday before Memorial day weekend when he held a press conference - saying that Isiah was staying (that was when PFFL went off and lost it) What was Walsh thinking, what was going on.

    I think almost 5 years later - I have decided that Walsh didn't fire Isiah for two reasons. First his grandaughter had just tragically died and by Memorial day Walsh knew that Bird was getting set to come aboard. Walsh was in a frame of mind that he wanted to step aside a little, let Bird take over the more day-to-day operations. So it would only make sense that Walsh would let Bird fire Isiah. I am 100% convinced that Walsh recommended to Bird that Isiah needed to go. But Walsh wanted to make sure Bird agreed, plus Walsh I don't believe was in the correct frame of mind to fire anyone.

    But I am convinced that Walsh knew Isiah had to go.

    This column out of NY brought all this back to mind

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/basket...06,print.story

    Newsday.com
    Knicks' players would welcome Isiah's return
    BY ALAN HAHN

    alan.hahn@newsday.com

    March 28, 2008

    TORONTO - Isiah Thomas' return in any capacity next season may not be a popular scenario among Knicks fans, but one player said it would be welcome news in the locker room.

    "Basically, there are some people who are upset with the way things went this year and, yeah, some mistakes were made," the player said. "But when it all comes down to it, we would have Isiah over someone new."

    The player agreed to speak under the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation and the Garden media policy that forbids players from talking with members of the media without a public-relations official present. The player, who admittedly has had issues with Thomas during his two seasons as coach, is concerned that Thomas' standing among the players isn't being presented accurately.

    Amid the speculation about Donnie Walsh's expected arrival after the season to take over the franchise and the great unknown that is Thomas' future with the team, the players know only what they read and hear in media reports. "I think we know less than you do right now," David Lee said after Wednesday's win over the Heat.

    Walsh remains employed by the Pacers, despite the announcement Monday that he will leave the franchise after the season. Reports by ESPN and Sports Illustrated suggested a deal is already in place with the Knicks, but the Pacers denied it. The Garden has maintained a consistent no-comment stance on the Walsh reports, but persons with knowledge of the situation have said the Knicks plan to hand the reins over to him after the season.

    Newsday reported yesterday that Walsh's arrival doesn't quite mean Thomas is certain to be fired. It is believed that Garden chairman James Dolan would prefer to keep Thomas in some capacity, even as coach. Walsh would have to agree to it, and a person close to Walsh said it is not a given he would be against Isiah's return. Walsh hired Thomas to coach the Pacers from 2000-03 before Walsh's appointed successor, Larry Bird, fired him in favor of Rick Carlisle.

    Though it was Bird's decision, Walsh was on board and told confidants at the time that he realized hiring Thomas was a mistake. But not everyone with the Pacers thought so. Former All-Star Jermaine O'Neal regularly praises his former coach and said Wednesday that he believed Walsh could help Thomas.

    "Donnie understands him as a person and as a coach," O'Neal said, "and it will give him an opportunity to concentrate strictly on X's and O's, strictly on what happens on the basketball court and not the business part of it."

    Perhaps that has emerged as this season's built-in excuse for Thomas. Last season the team failed to make the playoffs because of key injuries down the stretch. This season it was the distraction of the sexual harassment trial and then the public feud with former protégé Stephon Marbury that derailed the Knicks' season.

    If Thomas does return, it is unlikely Marbury will be with the team. "No," the player said. "They can't be together again."

    One of the major issues surrounding Thomas and Marbury was the game after Marbury went AWOL in Phoenix Nov. 12 after being told he was no longer starting. Marbury returned to play against the Clippers in Los Angeles two nights later. Yahoo Sports reported that Thomas played Marbury against the wishes of the team, which, according to the report, voted against Marbury being allowed to play after deserting.

    "There wasn't a vote, honestly," the player told Newsday. "People had their own thoughts, but it wasn't a vote straight up ... Some guys talked; Isiah wasn't there."

    There have been other issues, from verbal altercations during games with Quentin Richardson and Zach Randolph to veterans taking issue with what appears to be Thomas' intention to tank games. Thomas has not worked the team hard in practice and has allowed a lackadaisical attitude to take over the game preparation.

    But apparently all of this might not be enough to convince Dolan - and some players - that a change is needed.
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 03-28-2008 at 11:02 AM.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Bloomington IN
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    The first sentence got it right. It doesn't matter any more.

  3. #3
    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Downtown baby
    Posts
    12,638

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    One of these people is still in place making decisions for the team, so it certainly is still relevent. If you are trying to guess at the FUTURE, then you look to past actions. Unfortunately that means that until we get a few years into "Bird only" we are forced to still try to sift out who did what the past 4-5 years.


    Buck, I think you've been around when I said my theory. I thought Walsh intentionally brought in Bird to kill 2 birds with one stone.

    1) Get rid of Zeke.
    Why Walsh couldn't - JO negotiation/interaction, friends with Zeke, frame of mind due to tragedy
    Why Bird could - history of not getting along, didn't promise JO anything

    2) Bring back Rick.
    Why Walsh couldn't - left Rick hanging without an answer when he clearly wanted Isiah and had to wait on the CBA thing to clear up. The right thing to do would be to tell Rick that and risk him working for another team, but I think DW was holding him around just in case Isiah couldn't get clear of the CBA (in time at least).
    Why Bird could - Rick is his friend and who he recommended when he initially left, not only could he but you knew for certain that he would.

    Now Rick is Mr. Nice Guy so MAYBE he didn't care, but you can see how a guy might not have liked how that went down even if publically he spins positive (when doesn't he?). Maybe DW had no problems firing Zeke, but it sure was a massive swing if that's the case. Supporting him then dumping him.

    And also think about this, when did this stuff start to go down, before or AFTER RICK GOT FIRED? Isn't it odd that Bird had to come in to help shortly after Rick was let go (if I recall the timing right)?


    My theory means that in a way DW made a deal with the devil, he got all the GM stuff done he wanted to via Bird, and was able to step away a bit which he also needed.

    Then he didn't need those things anymore and wanted to be THE GM...but Bird's still in place and waiting for him to leave in fact.

    So does he go to NY for money, to be nice to Larry, or some other reason? It's just not clear yet. Maybe some day it will be.
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 03-28-2008 at 12:10 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Doesn't matter to me who was responsible for firing Zeke. I remain of the opinion that Zeke's firing was more personal than poor performance.

    Zeke's last year was when all the injuries initially started creeping up with this team. I was one of the few who felt he deserved to finish out the last year of his contract because most of the problems the team had in his final year were all issues beyond his control. So, I don't think it was him, but unfortunate circumstances that lead to the team's poor record that year. The team's record w/3 consecutive season hovering around .500 was merely an excuse to give him the can.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not a staunce Isiah Thomas supporter. I just think it was wrong to release him when it wasn't his fault things went so bad his last year here.

  5. #5
    Member Doug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,632

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Bird might have pulled the trigger, but Walsh loaded the gun, put it in Bird's hand, pointed Bird's arm at Isiah, took the safety off, and then slapped Bird on the back.
    You're caught up in the Internet / you think it's such a great asset / but you're wrong, wrong, wrong
    All that fiber optic gear / still cannot take away the fear / like an island song

    - Jimmy Buffett

  6. #6
    Member Since86's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Muncie
    Posts
    21,743

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Bird might have pulled the trigger, but Walsh loaded the gun, put it in Bird's hand, pointed Bird's arm at Isiah, took the safety off, and then slapped Bird on the back.
    END OF STORY. QFT!

    Second line.

  7. #7
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northside Bias
    Posts
    12,968

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Quote Originally Posted by NuffSaid View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I just think it was wrong to release him when it wasn't his fault things went so bad his last year here.
    What was wrong was waiting until Zeke was out of the country and then firing him with Larry questioning his work ethic. Of course, he wasn't on vacation, but he'd asked Larry Brown if he could observe his practices with USA Basketball. One of the biggest chicken **** moves I've ever seen.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

  8. #8
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    23,748

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    What was wrong was waiting until Zeke was out of the country and then firing him with Larry questioning his work ethic. Of course, he wasn't on vacation, but he'd asked Larry Brown if he could observe his practices with USA Basketball. One of the biggest chicken **** moves I've ever seen.
    But only after waiting to make sure the ink dried on Jermaine's contract.
    Welcome to Pacers Digest! New around here? Here are three tips for making the forum a great place to talk about Pacers basketball.

    • Log in. Even if you want to read instead of post, it's helpful because it lets you:
    • Change your signature options. You can hide all signatures by choosing "Settings" (top right) then "General Settings" (middle left) and unchecking the box "Show Signatures" (in the "Thread Display Options" area).
    • Create an ignore list. I know it may seem unneighborly. But you're here to talk about the Pacers, not argue with someone who's just looking for an argument. Most of the regular users on here make use (at least occasionally) of the "Ignore" feature. Just go to "Settings" -> "Edit Ignore List" and add the names.

    Enjoy your time at PD!

  9. #9
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    32,985

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    What was wrong was waiting until Zeke was out of the country and then firing him with Larry questioning his work ethic. Of course, he wasn't on vacation, but he'd asked Larry Brown if he could observe his practices with USA Basketball. One of the biggest chicken **** moves I've ever seen.
    "Amazingly" they are questioning his work ethic in NY now, saying he is arriving later and later before games (he's blaming it on traffic) and conducting 18 minute shoot arounds. But I still remember an article that came out in April of Isiah's first year as Pacers coach questioning his work ethic - quotes from Pacers players - Croshere, saying thr team isn't prepared, doesn't prepare.

  10. #10
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    32,985

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    But only after waiting to make sure the ink dried on Jermaine's contract.
    Wasn't that a huge mistake

  11. #11
    Cheeseburger in Paradise Los Angeles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Venice, CA
    Posts
    9,690

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    From a personal story related to me from someone who would know, Walsh agreed with Bird (and a few others) that it was time to let Thomas go, but he was also torn up about it and really felt bad about the situation at the time. He also demanded that he do the actual "firing" himself, and as far as I know, he was the one that told him he was gone.

    The real irony here is that Thomas became a FAR wealthier man after leaving the Pacers. So he really shouldn't be upset about the scenario.

    It has also been related to me that IT would have been gone well before then if it weren't for Jermaine's contract being up. If that problem weren't there, then IT would have been shown the door early to allow for a hot-and-heavy courting of Jeff Van Gundy.

    Jeff Van Gundy had signed with the Rockets well before the Jermaine contract was completed, closing that door. Another door opened when Carlisle was unceremoniously booted after an ECF appearance in Detroit.
    Last edited by Los Angeles; 03-28-2008 at 04:15 PM.
    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

    “If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” - Catherine Aird

  12. #12

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    I hate to take this thread in a different direction. But I understand
    that at the Naismith HOF, there's a small display depicting IT's 'quick'
    offense.

    Thing is though, since it perishable, they have to have a dog come
    in and drop a fresh pile every other day...!

  13. #13
    woman without a team
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,055

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    What was wrong was waiting until Zeke was out of the country and then firing him with Larry questioning his work ethic. Of course, he wasn't on vacation, but he'd asked Larry Brown if he could observe his practices with USA Basketball. One of the biggest chicken **** moves I've ever seen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    But only after waiting to make sure the ink dried on Jermaine's contract.
    The above is why I will NEVER change my opinion of that (obscenity ladened tirade withheld) Larry Bird.

  14. #14
    A Magical Place Hoop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Greenwood
    Posts
    4,602
    Mood

    Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    I don't really cared who fired him last time, I'm just happy Walsh gets to fire his worthless @ss again.
    "Just look at the flowers ........ BANG"

  15. #15
    Formerly QuickRelease NapTonius Monk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    4,799

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    I wonder if our 2-headed monster is what drove Stan VanRon JeremyGundy away.

  16. #16
    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Downtown baby
    Posts
    12,638

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    What if it was just our one-headed monster? That wouldn't bode well for things to come. I really hope that's not the case, that deals aren't falling through for that reason.

    Better to hope that DW had turned into a real ball buster and made deals and SVG go south.

  17. #17
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northside Bias
    Posts
    12,968

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    "Amazingly" they are questioning his work ethic in NY now, saying he is arriving later and later before games (he's blaming it on traffic) and conducting 18 minute shoot arounds. But I still remember an article that came out in April of Isiah's first year as Pacers coach questioning his work ethic - quotes from Pacers players - Croshere, saying thr team isn't prepared, doesn't prepare.
    Well, Cro would certainly know about not having a work ethic.

    Seriously, I don't remember any player besides Cro complaining about Isiah at all. I don't even think Mercer did, though Slick did on his behalf enough for both of them. After Larry's swipe, a number of players said Isiah worked so much it was not unusual for him to sleep at the office.

    I don't get why you're bringing this up, we've had this discussion a million times. If you want to bring up ancient history, how about Versace. We haven't beaten him into the ground. Or better yet, Bob Hill. If anything will force Jay to post, that will.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

  18. #18
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northside Bias
    Posts
    12,968

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    Quote Originally Posted by Los Angeles View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    He also demanded that he do the actual "firing" himself, and as far as I know, he was the one that told him he was gone.
    If Donnie felt bad about it, he would have insisted they waited until Isiah was back from Puerto Rico. As that airline commercial showed, you don't fire a man on the phone.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

  19. #19
    Member Sollozzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    17,767

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    I'm not a huge fan of Isiah the coach, but that was an absolutely classless way to handle that situation with him.

  20. #20
    Get well PG! DGPR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Whiteland, IN
    Age
    28
    Posts
    2,055

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: So was it Bird or Walsh who actually fired Isiah back in 2003

    I took a tour of Conseco Fieldhouse my junior year of highschool and that was around the time of the Isiah firing. One of the marketing guys said he was there during the first conversation with Bird and Isiah after Bird was hired. It went a little something like this.

    Isiah: "Larry, before you do anything.."

    LB: "Isiah, there is no way in hell you are going to keep your job here."

    End of story.

    "I've got an idea--an idea so smart that my head would explode if I even began to know what I'm talking about." - Peter Griffin


Similar Threads

  1. Donnie Walsh To New York
    By granger33 in forum Indiana Pacers
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 03-26-2008, 07:17 AM
  2. Replies: 89
    Last Post: 03-24-2008, 09:15 PM
  3. Walsh closing in on deal to discuss "spygate"
    By Sollozzo in forum Indianapolis Colts
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-10-2008, 12:17 PM
  4. This summer will be interesting.
    By pwee31 in forum Indiana Pacers
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 02-25-2008, 04:14 PM
  5. Report says Patriots taped St. Louis before SB 36
    By Sollozzo in forum Indianapolis Colts
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 02-05-2008, 12:59 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •