In a move, that despite being foreshadowed for a month, still seems incredibly shocking, the Knicks have rehired Isiah Thomas. His position is that of consultant, and the team announced his duties are to “assist the team’s senior management in various capacities, including player recruitment.” For those who instantly stopped paying attention to bball news this off-season after LeBron announced he was taking his talents elsewhere, you may’ve missed the revelations that Isiah had apparently been working for the Knicks behind the scenes.
Not only was he for some reason sent to give a last-second pitch to LeBron on behalf of the Knicks (insert your own joke here about how that convinced LBJ he’d made a good decision to not come to NY), but word was that he also played a role in successfully recruiting Amar’e Stoudemire to join the boys in Orange and Blue.
The part the Knicks’ brass is missing is that even if the only reason in the whole world that Amar’e signed up was ‘cuz of Isiah, ya still can’t hire Mr. Thomas back. I don’t care if Amar’e kept telling us over and over again that he’d sooner eat raw undigested cow bowels than come to the Knicks, and then it was Isiah so completely changed Stat’s mind that not only did the big man sign, but he also went so whole-hog-New-Yorky that he got a Yankee hat and started producing Broadway musicals. To the people of New York, Isiah will have the stink of failure forever pasted to his butt.
Even if the guy single-handedly ended up successfully recruiting for us LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Amar’e, Kobe Bryant and a reincarnation of Michael Jordan himself, with all of them repeating endlessly that Isiah was the sole reason they came, the Big Apple would still hate Isiah.
Isiah is supposed to be damn personable in, well, person, so word is that Knicks’ owner James Dolan, as well as team president Donnie Walsh (who worked with Isiah in Indiana) both really enjoy hanging out with Isiah. This isn’t an instance where his ousting was due to every-growing animosity between coach and management as is often the case in this league. Literally for a few years fans clamored for Isiah to be given the ax before Dolan capitulated, despite overwhelming evidence that compared to Thomas even stinky cheese smell good.
The thing that ownership doesn’t seem to understand is that fans are actually customers, and ya gotta keep yer customers happy. It’s bad enough that they kept working secretly with Isiah, but to now openly hire him shows a level of shocking cluelessness. After all, the NBA is full of undercover behind-the-scenes maneuvering. See Minnesota’s hand-shake deal with Joe Smith several years ago. Or more recently, how by June 30th LeBron had scheduled meetings with six franchises to discuss free agency despite teams theoretically not being allowed to contact free agents before July 1st.
The whole thing just reeks of like when you’ve got a friend who dates an awful gal/guy, and everyone knows that this girlfriend/boyfriend sucks koala eggs, including your friend (“I know, I know, our relationship ain’t healthy, but I can’t help myself, I keep going back.”). I understand it was tough for Dolan to break up with Isiah, and it took a while (“If the team doesn’t improve, you’re in trouble! …Okay, I guess the team didn’t improve, but um, I’ll give you one another chance, how about if you coach them? Then, y’know, if that doesn’t improve within in a year, I swear I might not give you quite as long an extension. …Okay, fine a short extension, but you gotta promise things will get better.”).
Sadly, this is one time that the pitiful Los Angeles Clippers provide a better role model. After many years, they too finally fired their cancer of an executive/coach Mike Dunleavy last season. The fans had been screaming to get rid of him as loud as we’d screamed for the head o’ Thomas (okay, maybe not quite as loud since they only have two fans, but on a per fan-basis, the average Clipper fan, aka one of those two guys, did scream as loud as the average Knick booster). Having finally ripped that nasty band-aid off so the scab could get air and true healing could begin, did LA owner Donald Sterling still pine for the Dunster like a love-sick schoolboy? Heck no! Currently he and Mike are engaged in a he-said/she-said lawsuit (or is it a he-said/he-said?) over unpaid salaries! That’s how a toxic relationship should end! Yes, it’s tough to break up, but when you finally get the strength to permanently end things, it usually becomes even more painfully clear how awful the relationship was.
I guess the real problem was that even after the Knicks called it quits with Isiah, Dolan made the typical mistake that can occur after an intense long-term relationship: he still wanted to stay really, really good friends with the ex. And as we all know, that usually results in you both reverting to your old ways and jumping back in the sack together. So here we are, once again stuck in bed with Isiah Thomas. Do you even need to turn the lights off to know he’s gonna screw us?