Isiah Thomas: NBA Teams Would be Crazy to Gamble on Former Star
Thomas recently spoke to Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com:
I definitely want to be in basketball again whether it be coaching or as a general manager. My gift is basketball...If it's the right college program, I would consider it. If it's the right GM job or coaching job in the NBA, I would consider it. I love the game. I just want to be in the game.
While there's nothing wrong with Thomas' sentiments here, the truth of the matter is that he's not gifted as a head coach or as a general manager in the same way he was gifted when he dominated the game as a player.
Thomas' career as a head coach in the NBA isn't a shining success story.
He did manage to draft Tracy McGrady during his time as an executive with the Toronto Raptors, but that's the highlight of his career.
He took over an Indiana Pacers team that lost the NBA Finals during the 1999-2000 season while winning 56 games under Larry Bird. The next season they managed to win only half their games under Thomas, finishing with a record of 41-41 and an early postseason exit in the first round.
The next couple of years weren't much better either. The Pacers never lived up to their potential during his time as their head coach. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs all three years Thomas was in charge.
To make matters worse, the year after Thomas left the team Rick Carlisle took them to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Thomas' tenure with the New York Knicks as the President of Basketball Relations from December 2003 to June 2006 can only be described with four-letter words.
By the time he was finished with that debacle, the Knicks had the highest payroll in the NBA while posting the second-worst record in the league, according to ESPN.com.
He then became the team's head coach to start the 2006-2007 season after Larry Brown was fired.
During his two years as the head coach of the Knicks, Thomas guided them to records of 33-49 and then 23-59. He continued to kill the team's salary-cap situation as the President of Basketball Relations and was ultimately fired at the end of the 2007-2008 season.
Will Thomas Land in the NBA in 2012?
During his time with the Knicks, not only did Thomas create havoc with their salary cap, but he also was in charge when scout Rodney Heard broke the rules. According to the New York Times, the team was fined $200,000 when they held workouts with college prospects that violated NBA rules.
Thomas isn't a solid candidate for any NBA team at any position of leadership. He's proved time and time again that he isn't a good head coach, and his time with the Knicks shows that he has no idea how to operate under salary cap rules.
This should be an easy decision for NBA teams. They need to keep Isiah Thomas away.
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