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Thomas and Knicks reunion doesn’t end well
Question of the Day
David Stern’s long reign as commissioner of the NBA has been filled with decisions, some momentous and some mundane.
Rarely, though, has he had one as easy as the one in front of him Wednesday.
All he did was save the New York Knicks from themselves.
More precisely, he made it clear to the team that hiring Isiah Thomas was one brilliant idea that wouldn’t fly. Thomas then decided to give up the good fight and stick to his job coaching college kids at Florida International.
This is, remember, a guy who stuck by Thomas all the way through a civil trial brought by a former Knicks executive who says he sexually harassed her. The same guy who reached into his deep pockets to cough up the $11.5 million judgment when the jury decided the woman was right.
It was a dumb idea, even without Thomas‘ checkered past with the Knicks. It got dumber when coaches like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski questioned the wisdom of dual jobs, and even dumber when people around the league wondered if it violated NBA rules preventing contact with players ineligible for the draft.
They would mostly be college players, like the ones Thomas is coaching.
Had Dolan simply let Thomas call a few shots in the background without giving him a formal role he might have gotten away with it. But he was so proud of his coup that he announced it in a press release last week and extolled Thomas for having qualities that “will be extremely beneficial to the team’s success.”
Forgive Dolan, because he might have had temporary amnesia. Thomas not only failed to contribute to any success during his five-year reign in New York, he was an unmitigated disaster, last seen being booed out of Madison Square Garden.
But after two years of trying to clean up his mess, the Knicks invited him back to make a new one. Only it wasn’t the basketball guys _ who said the right things but clearly wanted nothing to do with Thomas _ doing the inviting.
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