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Knicks are bringing back Isiah Thomas as a consultant. No, it is not April 1.

Aug 6, 2010, 3:44 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for ithomas.jpgUPDATE 3:44 pm: The NBA is officially looking into this deal — where a college head coach consults with an NBA team and is considered a player “recruiter” — to see if it violates league rules.

Those league rules include that a team representative cannot have contact with college underclassmen. Which is essentially the core of Thomas’ college job. So there are some questions.

If it is ruled legal by the NBA, it is a slippery slope. What is to stop Boston from setting up a
similar deal with Roy Williams so they can get the inside scoop on North
Carolina players? Or use him to lure former Carolina players who are
free agents. Sure, that will not be part of the official job description
— it won’t be for Thomas either — but you can see the potential for
trouble.

The NCAA has signed off on the deal, according to reports.

What are the odds that Knicks ownership would push forward a deal for a friend without thinking about the legality of it? Oh, yea, pretty good.

1:49 pm: The New York Knicks are bringing Isiah Thomas back as a part time consultant to the franchise.

That sound you just heard, the screeching one that sounded like a hellmouth opening? That was Knicks fans.

He has been brought back after the Knicks suffered through two painful years on the court pulling themselves out of the hellmouth that Thomas left the team in on the court and against the cap from his term as team president. Thomas will work on a part-time as consultant and a player recruiter but not have to give up his job as head coach at Florida International University.

“Isiah Thomas brings unique experience as a Hall of Fame player, coach, executive and owner, and we believe having him as part of our organization will be extremely beneficial to the team’s success,” Dolan and Walsh said in a joint statement.

Unique. Well that’s one word for it.

“I’m excited to once again be a part of the New York Knicks organization. I was honored to have been asked to help during the recent free-agent recruiting process, and believe that this new role takes full advantage of my skill set as an evaluator of basketball talent,” Thomas said in a statement released by the team. “

Honestly, this is not that big a surprise. It should be — you should never bring back a former employee who cost you $11 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit. But it isn’t in this case.

Knicks owner James Dolan loves Thomas, they remain good friends. How do you think Thomas kept his job so long the first time? Plus remember this summer Thomas was the guy the Knicks sent to talk to LeBron’s people last minute and off the record. Thomas was specifically called out for his work in luring Amare Stoudemire to the Knicks.

If he were only to consult on the draft, this might not be a bad deal. That was the one thing Thomas always did well.

What has to be the biggest concern is this: Donnie Walsh is expected to step down in the next year or two. When he does someone like current Knicks man Allan Houston or just released Denver executive Mark Warkentien should be the next in line.

But now Thomas has his foot in the door and the ear of the owner. And that more than anything should scare the crap out of Knicks fans.

  1. Doctor Sports - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    You media freaks are wrong about Isiah. Isiah knows more about tough times and perseverance than all of you combined.
    Q: Do you think you know more about running a basketball team than Donnie Walsh?
    A: NO.
    Q: How many national championships of ANY kind have ANY of you won?
    A: 0
    Go Isiah! I hope the Knicks win it all.

  2. ScottNY - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    He must have incriminating photo’s of James Dolan.

  3. JBP - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    You got to give Isaiah his prop, he knows talent. You may not like him but he knows more than the sports writers who like to bash him. If you guys know so much about basketball, why are you working for news organization?

  4. Phil - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Isaiah was a heck of a basketball player. One of the best. No one denies that.
    But he destroyed the CBA. It went bankrupt in 3 years under Isaiah.
    Then the Pacers. He actually did OK with the Pacers, as a coach. They went from the ECF under bird, to a couple of playoff appearances under Thomas.
    Then the Knicks fiasco. He DESTROYED the Knicks. I mean DESTROYED them. For YEARS.
    Then his daughter. He threw her under the bus.
    He’s got basketball talent. But he’s got no business making important decisions.

  5. The Greek - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Yeah Right JBP, he knows talent?? Are you serious? Doesn’t take a WalMart employee to figure out Lebron James and Amare Stoudemire are worth signing.
    Isiah Thomas is hands down the worst Coach/GM/whatever to pass through the Knicks or any organization. I bet you Isiah signs himself as a point guard to a 10 yeat 100 million dollar deal.

  6. IDI - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Doctor Sports – what university gave you your degree? Thomas was clearly one of the worst executives in the NBA over the past decade. His teams were amongst the league’s bottom feeders. Go Isaiah?? Are you kidding me?

  7. BC - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    What happened, did FAU fire him?

  8. RJV - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    DOCTOR SPORTS…..WHATEVER DRUGS YOU ARE TAKING…..I WANT SOME…WHAT EVER ROSE COLORED GLASSES YOU ARE LOOKING OUT OF….I WANT A PAIR…..YOU HAVE GOT TO BE ON DRUGS TO SAY WHAT YOU JUST SAID! KNICKS FANS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY ARE DENOUNCING THEIR “FANDOM” AS WE SPEAK! SEE HOW MANY SETS OF SEASON TICKETS ARE FOR SALE ON EBAY!
    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. MIKE - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    The Pistons were successful until he as a superstar had the power to manipulate who they acquired and got rid of and they went downhill from there. He has had no success when he gets to put together a team. Good player – one of the worst managers and executives of all time. Re-hiring him makes Dolan one of the worst owners of all time

  10. Cire - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Well, one thing’s for sure: He’ll get first shot at the cream coming our of FIU.

  11. rorjr99 - Aug 6, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Doctor Sports has a point about the qualifications of those writing this story (and most of us following it)… but that is all he got right in his post.
    Donnie Walsh did a great job at Indiana. But, Walsh’s so-called wunderkind Thomas put the Knicks in a far worse situation than Houston’s contract. And for the record… how many championships have Thomas or Walsh ushered in as execs? Oh, the same as the writers and those commenting on this bulletin board.
    Now… the Knicks had an identity before Thomas or Walsh showed up, but guess what… they lost that identity. The Knicks no longer play defense, no longer show heart, no longer give credence to the moniker “The Mecca of Basketball”, and worst of all – no longer perennial playoff participants.
    Phil and ScottNY are spot on with their posts. I don’t think FAU fired Thomas, yet… I am sure he is jeopardizing or breaking a bunch of NCAA rules.
    It would be nice if ALL of the NYC sports teams hand ownership like the Steinbrenners… but the Dolan and Wilpon families are truly lousy stewards of NY sports (can you tell I love being miserable due to my choices in teams?).
    Oh… and don’t get me started on the contract that Amare got… at least Houston was a few seasons away from his microfacture surgery… Amare has had two and had a serious eye injury… nice investment. Paul not high on the Knicks and I am confident we will lose out on the Melo sweepstakes next summer (and that is sad because he is tailor made for D’Antoni’s team).
    ‘Nuff said.

  12. craigolney - Aug 6, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    There has to be more to this story. To get a consulting gig while sitting in his home in South Florida just smells like the Hudson.
    It’s not like Isiah is thought of in high regards amongst the greats in the league. He was the best player(some might argue Joe D) on the “Bad Boys”, but that was a team with a great coach(Daly).
    If you watch film he was excellent,but not great. And his track record away from the court speaks for itself. The only thing you can say is he did help them get to the free agency of 2010 to sign in what will be come the biggest bust of this summer in Amare – his knee is going to be an issue from now until they are able to send him packing with an expiring contract.
    Good luck, Knicks. FIU must feel great that Isiah has one foot out the door while still collecting a paycheck as HC. Such a smart recruiting tool by a HC to talk about leaving your job.

  13. Josh - Aug 6, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    I think its funny that all these people get on here bashing Isiah yet they really don’t even know where he really is the head coach. I have seen FAU (Florida Atlantic University Owls) a few times just in the comments. That’s too bad… He has never and will never be employed there. Isiah is currently the head coach at FIU (Florida International University Golden Panthers). Chill out with the bashing. He probably won’t be allowed to take the position anyways because the NBA is going to say that he could illegally recruit his players. Too bad that FIU has only had 2 players ever make the NBA… Carlos Arroyo and Raja Bell. Both are solid players but neither can be “the guy” for a team.

  14. Graves - Aug 6, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Dr, i think you need to heal thyself. Isiah may have been a great player but as a coach as a manager and as PR asset he was a nightmare who led the team into a pit and dragged the organization behind it. Dolan is clearly helping a buddy and so having let friendship get in the way of business and ethics, deserves what follows-which will be more of a mess as Isiah slowly trying to slink back to courtside.

  15. kristakay1 - Aug 6, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    I love the picture with this article – typical Isiah

  16. I cant belive I'm still a Knicks fan - Aug 6, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    Would someone please force Dolan to sell this team already!?!?!? This guy is killing us.

  17. willmose - Aug 6, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Did the Knicks hire some new female staff that need to be harassed?

  18. rorjr99 - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    My bad to both FAU and FIU.
    Josh: As for bashing Mr. Thomas, would you not bash him if he tarnished FAU’s reputation? It is clear that you are not a Knick fan, because if you were, you would have something negative to say about Mr. Thomas (even if he doesn’t get re-hired, the fact that they even associate with him is a disservice to people who are fans of this team.). And if you are, when did you decide that less than mediocrity was acceptable?
    Anyways, I think bashing is about the only way we can voice our displeasure about Mr. Thomas and the current ownership/management.

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