It's like watching a bad soap opera. Boy and girl start dating, boy treats girl like dirt, boy and girl have ugly breakup, and consequently girl runs back to boy and the ugly cycle is repeated. It's been portrayed a million times in a million different scenarios, and now, it's happening to the New York Knicks. The girl being the Knicks' organization and the boy being Isiah Thomas.
Thomas was recently rehired by Knicks owner James Dolan as a part-time consultant for the team. The same team he literally ripped to shreds piece-by-piece during his 4 1/2-year stint as head coach and president of basketball operations from 2003-08. The organization finally washed its hands of the relationship in April of 2008, and it seemed Madison Square Garden breathed a sigh of relief to be rid of the toxic bond, but sure enough, the two found one another yet again in August of 2010.
This move has the entire Knicks fan base — and several administrators — screaming a collective "Why?" The team was finally pulling its head above water, recuperating from mistakes and problems caused under the Thomas regime, and now it's like a giant foot is crashing down to push them right back under again.
None of the moves made by Thomas during his tenure with the Knicks seemed to make sense. He dropped millions on mediocre players, essentially eliminating the possibility of acquiring solid ones. He gave away prospects and future stars like they were candy at Halloween, and he brought the entire organization under an unwanted spotlight when a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against him by a former Knicks female executive. That lawsuit ended up costing Madison Square Garden $11.5 million dollars in punitive damages.
Any outsider would look at the track record between the two parties and advise the two to move on, to go their separate ways to grow and prosper as individuals, because together they're an explosive tandem that has caused too many problems already.
The two parties started to move on when Thomas was banned by the new team president, Donnie Walsh, from having any contact with the team whatsoever in April 2008. Thomas went on to accept the head coaching position at Florida International University, and the Knicks went on to string together an unsuccessful run for LeBron James, and nabbed Phoenix Suns' star Amare Stoudemire in the process. Things were finally looking up in the Big Apple, until Dolan lapsed and called Thomas back in for another go-around.
Sources say Dolan and Thomas have been in contact throughout the entire two-year breakup — typical of any volatile relationship — asking Thomas' advice on certain things and arranging visits at his Westchester, N.Y., home. It's said that Dolan didn't even consult other executives before bringing Thomas back on staff, a move that reportedly made Walsh absolutely livid.
Though Thomas is keeping his day job and won't have as much influence over team decisions, he's still there working for a team he helped (along with Dolan) drive into the ground. Will his lesser authority paired with a two-year absence make a difference? Probably not. That begs the question: Why did the Knicks choose to put themselves through this again? Is Dolan merely throwing out a personal favor to his friend, Thomas, whose career goal is to become a GM in the NBA?
For the Knicks' sake, fans better hope that future aspiration does not land him atop the New York administration again, because I'm not sure they could survive another struggle at the hands of Isiah Thomas.
Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of the New York Knicks.
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