The New York Times is reporting that the deal between the New York Knicks and Isiah Thomas is to be called off.
Thomas, who had signed on to be a part-time consultant for the New York Knicks, will reportedly not be taking the position with his former team, where he served as President of Basketball Operations from 2003 to 2008 (and as head coach in 2007 and 2008).
Thomas' rehiring led to league wide distress, causing many other teams to question the arrangement between the two parties. Duke head coach, Mike Krzyzewski, was particularly outspoken on the issue in an interview with the NY Times.
“In college, everybody is looking to make sure that no one has advantage, so I probably could be hired by somebody as a consultant. But I would never want to do that. I would decline to do that, just because I shouldn’t be perceived to have an advantage over another college coach.”
Many of the other NCAA Basketball coaches shared his distaste for the deal, considering it to be an advantage when it comes to college recruiting. Jim Arrow, a coach at South Alabama, explained how-so, in a telephone interview with the NY Times.
“I can’t believe that the N.C.A.A. would O.K. him to be able to have dual roles, or dual positions, that I think would help one in recruiting,” Arrow argued that Thomas can now “go into a home and say, ‘By the way, I’m also connected with the Knicks and I can guarantee you that you’ll be able to be looked at by the Knicks.' It’s a tremendous advantage.”
Thomas returning to the Knicks, albeit in a small role, has been nothing more than a distraction. Knicks owner James Dolan should have known the backlash that would ensue with the rehiring of Thomas. If all is true, Isiah Thomas will be making his best decision as a Knick, and will step out of the way.