Isiah Thomas is back working for the team that fired him two years ago. It was announced that the Knicks would bring back Isiah Thomas in a much more limited role as a consultant.
Thomas’ top priority will still be coaching and recruiting the FIU Panthers.
Many blame the Knicks failures this decade on Isiah Thomas, and rightfully so. Thomas made some bad decisions that severely hurt the Knicks' long-term future. In fact, the Knicks still haven’t fully cleaned up the stain Isiah left on the franchise.
Thomas is the reason Donnie Walsh put the 2010 free-agency plan in place. He is the reason the Knicks had been cap strung before Donnie Walsh took over. Thomas is also the reason the Knicks forfeited this draft’s first-round pick to the Utah Jazz.
Bottom line: When you associate Isiah Thomas and the Knicks, only bad memories come to mind. However, I’m going to prove why bringing back Isiah isn’t necessarily a bad move.
First off, Isiah Thomas is only being hired as consultant, as this isn’t even a full time job. Thomas is still the head coach at Florida International University. Some may think this is just a ploy to get Thomas back on the GM’s chair if Donnie Walsh were to step down due to health reasons.
However, I assure you that even if Walsh were to step down, the Knicks already have a few candidates in mind. Allen Houston has been the rumored front runner to land the job, and former Denver Nuggets VP of basketball operations, Mark Warkenstein, has emerged as strong candidate. Thomas is still under contract to coach FIU and if he were to accept a GM job, he wouldn’t be honoring his commitment to FIU. Donnie Walsh is currently in charge and even if he were to step down, Thomas would not be considered as an option.
Thomas will be involved in assisting senior management and recruiting.
This is a good hire for the Knicks, Isiah Thomas has always had an eye for talent as he is one of the best talent evaluators in the NBA. Thomas made draft picks that seemed questionable at the time, but proved to be good decisions.
Thomas’ first ever selection was Damon Stoudemire, with the seventh overall pick. Stoudemire won rookie of the year. Thomas also found a gem in Tracy McGrady at the ninth overall pick, and he was the one who drafted Marcus Camby.
Thomas was a solid drafter, selecting recent all-star David Lee, Nate Robinson, and Trevor Ariza. Thomas was one of the first in the Knicks organization to start scouting Danillo Gallinari, who is currently the Knicks best young player.
Thomas may have overspent when it came to free agents, but when it came to finding talent he knew what he was doing. The Knicks will call on Thomas to provide analysis and insight on young prospects from around the world.
The Knicks could use Thomas' opinion on prospects considering they completely missed it in the 2009 draft after they picked Jordan Hill instead of a point guard like Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison, or Ty Lawson. Say what you want about him, but Isiah Thomas is a draft genius.
Despite his bad run with the Knicks, Thomas is still widely respected around the league, especially by the players. Many of the players don’t look at Isiah Thomas as the guy who ran the Knicks to the ground, but as the 12-time all star, hall of famer, top-50 player of all time that played with the Detroit Pistons. Thomas was instrumental in the Knicks acquiring Amar’e Stoudemire. Donnie Walsh and James Dolan repeatedly thanked Thomas during the Amar’e Stoudemire press conference, and hinted at a possible return. The Knicks even sent Thomas to Ohio as a last ditch effort in the LeBron James recruitment process.
Expect the Knicks to use Thomas as a recruiting tool next summer when they go for Carmelo Anthony.
Thomas’ return to the Knicks was inevitable. He’s remained very close with owner James Dolan and Donnie Walsh. Even after he was fired by the Knicks, Thomas remained with the Knicks in an unspecified role until he was hired by FIU.
The Knicks remained so close to Thomas that they wouldn’t give Magic Johnson free tickets when Johnson wanted to visit MSG. Johnson and Thomas had fallen out after Thomas blasted Johnson in a book.
Thomas is ecstatic to be back working for the Knicks saying, "I'm excited to work with the Knicks again, I wish my mom was still alive to see this."
So before Knicks fans go crazy, wondering how the hell the organization would hire Thomas, considering they’ve spent the past two-and-a-half years cleaning up his mess, reconsider. Isiah Thomas is only being hired as a consultant, which can only help the Knicks.