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Saturday , Apr , 07 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Could Isiah Thomas return to N.Y. Knicks?

Is it only a matter of time before the Knicks bring Isiah back into the fold? Then again, does it really matter? After all, Thomas has served as an unofficial consultant to Dolan for three years after he was fired in 2008. Dolan himself admitted as much when his attempt to hire Thomas fell through in 2010.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Believe it or not, he could return.

Isiah Thomas was recently fired by Florida International University, which opens the door for him returning to the New York Knicks.

Thomas, of course, had a bizarre reign as an executive and then coach of Knicks. He was eventually fired by super executive Donnie Walsh, but has always stayed in contact with owner James Dolan.

It’s a new day in New York. Walsh is no more. The coach he hired, Mike D’Antoni, resigned. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire are the stars, not Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury.

Thomas has a good relationship with Anthony and Stoudemire, so the door is open a crack. And nothing is impossible with the Knicks and Dolan.

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Wednesday , Mar , 14 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Has Mike D’Antoni lost ‘Melo and Knicks?

Carmelo Anthony has told a confidant that he prefers a trade from the Knicks before the deadline, according to a source.  Anthony reportedly believes Mike D'Antoni and Glen Grunwald do not trust him. He is surprised that his opinion hasn't been sought more on personnel moves. “The organization makes believe his opinions don’t matter,’’ the source said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Of course, Mike D’Antoni has lost the New York Knicks.

D'Antoni lost the NBA’s flagship franchise the moment owner James Dolan forced him and GM Donnie Walsh to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

D’Antoni didn’t want Anthony. Neither did Walsh. They sacrificed a decent team to land the one-dimensional scorer and appease Dolan, the man who signs their pay cheque.

Anthony, since arriving at Madison Square Gardens, has refused to buy-in to D’Antoni’s system. Instead, he’s trying to make the coach and teammates buy-in to his system of shooting at will.

Not surprisingly, it hasn't worked.

Here’s the problem: D’Antoni can’t hold Anthony accountable for insubordination. The small forward is armed with a three-year, $60 million contract and still has Dolan’s support.

Then there’s D’Antoni’s contract -as in he doesn’t have one beyond this year. Dolan and/or Walsh haven’t extended him, which means he’s a lame-duck.

The players know this, too. So the headstrong Knicks are unlikely to follow D’Antoni’s orders, preferring to ‘get theirs’ and ‘do their’ thing.

Add it up and there’s only one outcome: D’Antoni’s gone.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.       

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Sunday , Mar , 11 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

‘Linsanity’ won’t save Mike D’Antoni and Knicks

Except that the Knicks with Jeremy Lin started to look a lot like they did without him. They were 8-15 when Lin fell into their laps and are 18-22 today and need to win a ballgame, and keep winning ballgames, or maybe people will start wondering if (Mike) D’Antoni is even going to make it to the end of the season that Jeremy Lin was supposed to have saved for him.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Jeremy Lin is not the Messiah. He’s a young point guard trying to find his way in the NBA.

Lin can’t save Mike D’Antoni’s job as coach of the New York Knicks. And he can’t save the Knicks from the dysfunctional Carmelo Anthony.

Remember, the Knicks were decent before selling the farm to acquire Anthony from the Nuggets one year ago.

Owner James Dolan wanted Anthony so GM Donnie Walsh reluctantly traded for the forward -even though he knew the shot-first small forward would clash with Amar’e Stoudemire.

D’Antoni’s run-and-gun style won’t work with Anthony, who must be the focal point of any system he‘s in. So it’s a ‘fait accompli’ that the former coach of the year will lose his job.  

Anthony has the backing of ownership. D`Antoni does not. Lin can’t change this.

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Saturday , Nov , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Isiah Thomas wants to replace Billy Hunter as NBPA Boss?

According to a pretty piped-in informant, skulking and stalking are exactly what Thomas has been doing as Hunter tries not to lose further frontage to one clearly identified Nor’easter after another: Namely, commissioner Stern stage-managed by 29 owners; players poised to push for immediate decertification if a deal can’t be struck during this extensive bargaining session; weighty agents counseling clients that leadership is limp; and growing frustration among even Hunter’s staunchest supporters.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Once again, Isiah Thomas’ name is linked to treachery, backstabbing, deceit, and angling.

The Hall of Fame guard - who in retirement destroyed the Toronto Raptors, Continental Basketball Association, New York Knicks, and Donnie Walsh’s sanity - wants to replace Billy Hunter as head of the NBA Players’ Association.

Sure, the NBPA has been somewhat dysfunctional under Hunter. And sure, they need a new voice to take the reins after losing negotiations to the owners.

But Thomas?

On the one hand, he was President of the Players Association. On the other hand, everything Thomas has touched since running the floor for the Pistons has blown up in his face.

The man’s closet is full of enemies, skeletons, and who knows what else. He has always been despised by many, and his presence would fracture an already divided and fragmented union.

Hopefully, the players find somebody else to replace Hunter. Thomas isn’t right for the job.

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Friday , Nov , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: James Dolan, Knicks owner, Disgusted by lockout?

Knicks owner James Dolan blew off the two-day desperation labor session between the NBA and players’ union in Manhattan with one source saying he has been “sickened’’ by the failure of his fellow owners to make a deal. Dolan is on the negotiating committee and a five-minute train ride away from the latest talk, which ended without a deal last night at 11 p.m. after an 11-hour session.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The man who hired Isiah Thomas, signed Jerome James and Eddy Curry‘s exorbitant contracts, and pushed Donnie Walsh, the executive who rebuilt his flagship franchise, out the door is ‘sickened’ by his fellow owners.

James Dolan, the owner of the New York Knicks and Donald Sterling of the East Coast, is right. The owners some deserve blame for not cutting a new collective bargaining agreement sooner.

As a protest, Dolan skipped Thursday's negotiations -despite being on the owners’ committee and a short subway ride from where owners and players met.

Dolan’s feelings illustrate the polarization of NBA owners: big-market, have franchises are satisfied with winning negotiations, while small-market, have-not franchises are out for blood.

At a certain point, the owners must find a balance. Failure to do so could well compromise the entire league.

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Monday , Oct , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Did Isiah give Amar’e his ‘Renaissance Man’ nickname?

"I've been ordained the Renaissance Man," said Stoudemire on Twitter shortly after midnight Sunday morning. "This is now my new nickname. Renaissance Man. You like it, I love it. Its not going to change." Isiah Thomas referred to Stoudemire as a renaissance man in comments to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News on Saturday.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Isiah Thomas strikes again.

The Hall of Fame point guard is again showing his influence over the New York Knicks by dubbing Amar’e Stoudemire 'The Renaissance Man'.

Thomas, who is the coach of Florida International University, doesn’t officially work for the Knicks, but finds time to ‘help’ with trades, free agent signings, and mediocre nicknames.

This isn’t good for the Knicks. They need a talented replacement for executive Donnie Walsh, and any worthwhile candidate won’t want to deal with Thomas’ constant meddling.

Of course, Thomas may be Walsh's replacement.

Despite being one of the worst GMs in league history, Knicks owner James Dolan has considered re-hiring Thomas because the two are friends.

And then Thomas would get the last laugh.

--O. Sandor.

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Saturday , Oct , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Isiah Thomas to help Knicks sign Chris Paul?

Thomas, who worked for the Knicks as president, GM or coach from December 2003 to April 2008, was reportedly involved in the recruitment of Carmelo Anthony last season. Now, he's expected to do the same with Paul, who is under contract for the 2011-2012 season but has a player option for 2012-13, during which he is scheduled to make $17.8 million. Many have speculated that New York is a potential destination for Paul. Current Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups, whom New York acquired in a three-team, 13-player deal last February, will be a free agent after 2011-2012.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If the New York Knicks had sense, they’d muzzle Isiah Thomas.

They don`t have any sense, so Thomas will keep talking. Loudly.

Remember, Thomas’ slash-and-burn philosophy turned the Knicks into the league‘s laughingstock, forcing Commissioner David Stern to suggest to owner James Dolan that he hire veteran executive Donnie Walsh.

Thomas got a massive cheque to leave and give his opinion when asked to by the front office.

But Thomas is friendly with Dolan, so he stayed active and involved with the Knicks even though he has a college coaching gig at Florida International University.

This clearly alienated Walsh, who is now the outgoing executive for the Knicks. He couldn’t have liked Thomas taking credit for the signing of Amar’e Stoudemire and acquisition of Carmelo Anthony. 

Whoever replaces Walsh won’t be pleased to hear Thomas insinuate that he’ll have a key role in the Knicks chasing point guard Chris Paul.

Paul, of course, is a free agent in July of 2012. He’ll likely leave the small market New Orleans Hornets -even if the new collective bargaining agreement fixes the disparity between small and big market teams.

Enter New York. Paul will surely find it difficult to turn down the lure of playing in Madison Square Garden with Stoudemire and Anthony.

This has nothing to do with Thomas. However, an opportunist never turns down or passes up an opportunity.

--O. Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Donnie Walsh: Knicks have championship core

We have a core of players we can build around to build a [championship-contending] team,” Walsh said. “We’re not finished. There’s more pieces. But I think we got some really good players that can lead a team and form a core of that team. What we have are the most important things.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Their core isn’t bad. It’s just not that good, either.
 
Executive Donnie Walsh is overestimating his New York Knicks if he believes Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Amar’e Stoudemire need only a few tweaks to win a championship.

There’s little evidence to suggest Anthony and Stoudemire can play together, while Billups is aging -and fast.

The Knicks, even if the stars align and do contend in the Eastern Conference, will be hard pressed to topple the Miami Heat and their core of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade in a best-of-seven series.

--O.Sandor.

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Sunday , Sep , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Portland interested in Chris Mullin for GM?

Blazers president Larry Miller has expressed a strong interest in former Golden State Warriors GM Chris Mullin, sources said. Mullin’s expected to talk with the Blazers too, sources said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
Chris Mullin’s career as an executive hasn’t been normal.

The sharpshooter revitalized the Golden State Warriors before getting stabbed in the back by Don Nelson, his former coach and the man he rescued from the sideline boss scrap heap.

Then Mullin was tabbed to take over the executive chair in New York from Donnie Walsh before dysfunctional owner James Dolan stepped-in. Walsh is out; Mullin won’t be leading the Knicks.

Now he’s linked to the Portland Trail Blazers, the organization that fired GM Kevin Pritchard moments before the 2010 NBA draft only to invite him to stay for the evening's festivities.

Pritchard’s replacement, Richie Cho, was pink-slipped after being on the job for less than a year. Cho was seen as too docile, low-key, and quiet.

Perhaps Mullin should pass on the Blazers‘ gig. Right now, they’re dysfunctional, and owner Paul Allen seems determined to meddle.

Life may be a little more normal in ESPN’s broadcast booth.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: James Dolan wants to ‘Fix the Knicks’

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: In the last ten-to-fifteen years, no NBA team has made more mistakes than the New York Knicks.

Much of the blame can be laid at the feet of owner James Dolan, who recently refused to re-hire the executive, Donnie Walsh, who turned the Knicks’ fortunes around.

Instead of keeping Walsh, Dolan was likely working on this ...

(Watch at your discretion. Fix the Knicks is painful.)

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jun , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Will 2012 be awkward for D’Antoni and Knicks?

D’Antoni told The Post yesterday, in his first interview since the season ended, that he is not concerned about his future with the Knicks. “No, I feel good,” D’Antoni said. “I hate it Donnie is leaving. I owe a lot to him. We had three good years. He did exactly what he wanted and said he would do and he’s got us in position to be one of the better teams in the NBA next year. That’s to his credit."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Things will be awkward for Mike D’Antoni, the coach of the New York Knicks.

After all, the man who hired him, Donnie Walsh, no longer has the final word and is a consultant. A new executive will be brought in, and, no matter what he claims, he’ll eventually want his guy on the sideline.

Inheriting a coach is tough. The new executive and inherited coach have to build trust, familiarity, and win. And they must do it fast.

It can also be useful. Suppose the Knicks falter early in 2011-12. The new executive has a chip to play: D’Antoni. He can get a mulligan by firing ‘Mr. Seven Seconds Or Less’ and bringing in his guy.

The labour uncertainty will help D’Antoni, though. Owner James Dolan won’t want to fire D’Antoni because he’d have to honour his $6 million contract and pay another big-ticket coach.

Remember, teams will have less revenue next year if a work stoppage shortens the season. Paying two coaches isn’t easy –even for the wealthy Knicks.

Odds are that D’Antoni stays in New York. 2012 won’t be easy, regardless of how he spins it.  

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jun , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Isiah Thomas: ‘Never say Never’ on returning to Knicks

Just hours after Donnie Walsh announced he was stepping down as Knicks' president, Isiah Thomas uttered the words that all Knicks fans fear: "Never say never about anything," Thomas said on ESPN's "SportsCenter" Friday night when asked what he would do if Knicks owner James Dolan were to call him about replacing Walsh. "All my doors are open."
 
 
HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: I`m not sure if Isiah Thomas is a Justin Bieber fan.

Thomas surely made the Madison Square Garden faithful shriek when declaring he`d 'Never Say Never' on returning to the New York Knicks.
 
These weren`t shrieks of joy from preteens. These were shrieks of horror from dedicated hoop fans.
 
Knick-nation knew Donnie Walsh, who the club cut ties with yesterday, wasn`t perfect. The veteran spent years clearing cap space to sign LeBron James, but ended up with Amar`e Stoudemire.
 
They respected Dolan for leading the team back to the playoffs. Most importantly, the organization was no longer a laughingstock.
 
There were no lawsuits; there were no curious interviews with the team`s star; there was no letting the coach twist in the wind for months; there were no disgraceful contracts; and the owner wasn`t allowed to wreck his toy.
 
The soap opera had ended. Sanity had returned. Or, so we thought.
 
Owner James Dolan didn`t like the power Walsh had. So he played hardball on an extension. He demanded that Walsh, going forward, would report to him.
 
Dolan knew Walsh would never accept this. And Dolan achieved what many believed was his true objective: he forced Walsh out.
 
This, of course, opens the door for Thomas to return. Officially. Here's the question: did he ever leave?
 
Some claim the Hall of Fame guard was always working to undermine Walsh, taking credit for signing Stoudemire and engineering the Carmelo Anthony trade.
 
Coaching at Florida International University is a sabbatical from his real gig as Dolan's buddy. Thomas reportedly worked out prospects for the Knicks and acted as a consultant, even if this was a violation of NCAA policy.
 
New York should prepare for Thomas' return. Their shrieks will be louder and more painful than preteens at a Bieber concert.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Monday , Apr , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Should Knicks consult Carmelo Anthony on roster changes?

“That’s something that as a group, collectively, we have to come together and see what we’re lacking, where we need to get stronger at,” Anthony said when asked what he thinks the Knicks need to add or improve. “I’m pretty sure I’ll be talking to Donnie [Walsh] or [owner James] Dolan and Amar’e [Stoudemire] will be there and Chauncey [Billups] will be there, just trying to figure out some ways where we can become not just a playoff team but a championship-caliber team.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: On the one hand, Carmelo Anthony is the New York Knicks’ co-franchise player. In the NBA, franchise players are consulted on personnel decisions.

On the other hand, Anthony hasn’t won anything since turning pro. Not with the Denver Nuggets; not with the New York Knicks, either.

Perhaps Executive Donnie Walsh, if he returns to Madison Square Gardens, will notify Anthony as a professional courtesy. Perhaps not.
 
Either way, Anthony’s focus should be on his improvment. Nothing else. His conditioning isn't up to par. He's still a mediocre defender, too.
 
Most importantly, he and Amar’e Stoudemire must bond. These two will share the New York spotlight for years to come, and STAT certainly struggled once the Knicks acquired ‘Melo.
 
So Anthony has a laundry list of goals for the summer. The front office shouldn't distract him   
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Mar , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Isiah liked ‘helping the Knicks’ sign ‘Melo and Amar’e

Which brings us to whether Isiah, on behalf of his good friend, Knicks owner James Dolan, was instrumental in helping New York land 'Melo and Amar'e. So I ask him: Was that you? He takes a long time to answer. "I do have a lot of friends," he says carefully. "And I am asked to advise in a lot of different scenarios. Players, coaches, and ..." A very long pause. "I won't comment on the Knicks situation, but I do like helping the Knicks, and I do want them to do well."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Are the New York Knicks for real? Are they really having disgraced coach and executive Isiah Thomas talk to players?

The answer is yes.

Yes, Knicks owner James Dolan still consults Thomas – the financial mismanagement, poor trades, Stephon Marbury fiasco, Larry Brown disaster, sexual harassment suit, and other indiscretions don’t matter.

Yes, Dolan overlooks Thomas’ flaws and failures. Just like Dolan overlooks Donnie Walsh bringing the Knicks back to respectability.

Here’s a scarier thought: Thomas could be 'helping' the Knicks full time next season. Walsh doesn't have a guaranteed deal for 2012. Thomas, of course, is available, and would be willing to lead 'his' signings of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Dolan may let Walsh go and say yes to Thomas, giving one of the game’s most tarnished individuals a second chance at running this classic franchise.

Thomas leading the Knicks was a nightmare. Somehow, Dolan believes a sequel will be better. And yes, this is 'for real'.

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Knicks to replace D’Antoni and/or Billups?

The way the Knicks have struggled with Chauncey Billups running Mike D'Antoni's offense has rival executives wondering whether one of them -- or both -- won't be back next season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The coach and coach on-the-floor could soon be out of work.

There are rumors the New York Knicks will cut ties with sideline boss Mike D’Antoni and point guard Chauncey Billups at season’s end.

Like all things New York Knicks, it’s complicated.

D’Antoni’s future is linked to executive Donnie Walsh. Unbelievably, Walsh, who brought the Knicks back to respectability after years of dysfunction under Isiah Thomas, may be pushed out at year’s end.

This would trickle down to the bench. D’Antoni was Walsh’s choice. And the 'Seven Seconds or Less' guru is protected with Walsh in the executive suite.

Walsh wasn’t the choice of owner James Dolan, though. He was the choice of Commissioner David Stern, who ‘suggested’ Dolan hire the veteran executive after Thomas’ shenanigans and tomfoolery became too great a black eye for league head office to ignore.

Dolan, who resents being told what to do, may re-hire his buddy Thomas. And ‘Zeke’ would then replace D’Antoni with his guy on the sideline.

This brings us to Billups. He has struggled to appease the club’s two scorers, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Billups is slated to earn $14 million in 2012; however, he can be bought out for $3.7 million. Expect the Knicks to exercise this clause –especially if the muscular table-setter can’t become Mr. Big Shot down the stretch or in the playoffs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean Billups won’t be back. The club could buy him out and re-sign him for considerably less money. Or, player and team could simply part ways. Nothing is set in stone.

There’s a famous saying ‘Only in New York’. Perhaps this should be revised to ‘Only in New York with the Knicks’.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Feb , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Isiah Thomas to join Carmelo Anthony in New York?

The Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony in a blockbuster trade on Monday, but the price was steeper than Donnie Walsh was hoping to pay.New York's front office has been suffering from a power struggle, with Isiah Thomas consulting James Dolan and the franchise also recently hired Mark Warkentien who is a CAA client. "This is all Dolan. All Isiah. All (Worldwide) Wes and Leon Rose," said an ally of Walsh.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Carmelo Anthony is heading to the New York Knicks, and Isiah Thomas might soon join him.

Reports indicate Knicks owner James Dolan used Isiah Thomas, a former employee, and consultant ‘Worldwide’ Wes to acquire Anthony because current Executive Donnie Walsh wasn’t bullish on the Denver Nuggets’ forward.

Clearly, there’s a power struggle occurring in the Knickerbockers’ front office. And the daggers are out since Walsh's contract expires at season's end.

Here’s the question: would Dolan actually let Walsh, a respected front office guru, leave and replace him with Thomas, a man who has slashed and burned everything he has touched since taking off a Detroit Pistons jersey?

Sadly, the answer is yes.

Yes, Dolan has reservations about re-signing Walsh –even though he cleaned up much of the cap mess Thomas created during his ‘Reign of Terror’ at Madison Square Garden.

Yes, Dolan has something against the class, stability, and professionalism Walsh exudes and has a soft spot for Thomas’ tomfoolery, shenanigans, and lawsuits.

And yes, Dolan seems apathetic to Dolan’s more restrained personality and seems taken by Thomas’ Cheshire-cat smile and charm.

If Walsh is given the boot for Thomas, the Knicks will again sink to the bottom of the standings –regardless of how much talent they have on-court.

After all, great organizations have stability at the top. Zeke only knows the opposite: instability. Since leaving the Pistons, he has walked on the Continental Basketball Association and Toronto Raptors, while also destroying the Knicks, one of the NBA’s great franchises.

To be fair, he had mediocre results as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers.  

Don’t be surprised if Anthony’s return to his home of New York marks the return of Thomas. And the sequel won’t be better than the original.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Feb , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

New York Madness: why the Knicks shouldn’t trade for Carmelo Anthony

In the three-team package, the Knicks would be giving up Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry's expiring contract. That would seem too good to be true, and one person familiar with talks said there could be other pieces involved.

"I don't think we have anything going, but we're getting a feeling for possibilities,'' Walsh said before the Knicks played the 76ers at the Garden. "We have a better feeling for what's going to happen.'' In Donniespeak, that means things have progressed, with the trade deadline still a very long 19 days away. The Nuggets would get a first-round pick, Chandler and Minnesota's Corey Brewer, but the feeling is they would have to gain more for this deal to take place.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Trading for Carmelo Anthony makes as much sense for the New York Knicks as re-hiring Isiah Thomas.

Maybe less.

After all, Anthony wants to suit up for the Knicks. He’ll take less of everything – shots, cold hard cash, and spotlight- to call Madison Square Garden home.

Why give up an expiring contract, Eddy Curry, and two young assets, Wilson Chandler and Anthony Randolph, when Anthony will sign as a free agent and cost nothing but money?

Speaking of money, Anthony will cost less as a free agent. Suppose the Knicks acquire Melo before the February 24th deadline. They would need to honour the final year of his max contract and extend him under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement.

So Anthony would make $18 million in 2012 and possibly $20 million per year from 2013 to 2016.

Suppose the Knicks hold off on a trade. To become a free agent, Anthony would have to opt-out of the last year of his current contract and leave $18 million on the table.

His next contract would fall under the new CBA, which will reduce all player salaries –even those paid to superstars.

Waiting for Anthony would cost the Knicks far less in terms of assets and money. It’s the smart, prudent move.

Unfortunately, there are rumblings Thomas will return to New York and replace executive Donnie Walsh, despite causing nothing but mayhem and destruction.

Perhaps Anthony becomes a Knick before February 24th.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Dec , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e Stoudemire and Ray Felton saving New York Knicks

After a difficult start to the 10-11 season, Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton took control of the Knicks' locker room and the team responded with a five-game winning streak.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talent matters. So does chemistry.

For instance, the New York Knicks once spent a fortune amassing a roster of fantasy players. These players were individually talented, but never made those around them better.

Stephon Marbury was worried about his brand. Zach Randolph was worried about his statistics, while Eddy Curry was worried about, well, something other than basketball.

Other Knicks were also guilty of me-disease. They played basketball like it was an individual sport. The four other guys wearing the same uniform were a nuisance to achieving their goal.

Much of this goes back to the Isiah Thomas era. Zeke’s get-mine approach in the executive suite trickled directly down to the players.

It has taken years to rid Madison Square Gardens of this dysfunction. Now the Knicks are flying high, though. They’re playing team-first basketball. They’ve won 8 of 9.

Their recent success is due to the leadership of two players: Ray Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Not long ago, the Knicks were struggling. They weren’t together. They were disjointed. And they were 3-9.

The media was circling. Executive Donnie Walsh and Coach Mike D’Antoni were on shaky ground. And Stoudemire, who signed a $100 million free agent contract this summer, seemed like a mistake.

Felton and Stoudemire stepped up on-and off court. They took control of the locker room by challenging others to improve their play. They started using the pick-and-roll to terrorize opponents.

It’s ironic that the change started with these two.

Before signing with New York this July, Felton had a mostly mixed run in Charlotte. He wasn’t a bust; however, he was behind other point guards from the 2005 draft like Deron Williams and Chris Paul.

Fair or not, Stoudemire also had a mixed reputation. He gave himself the nickname Standing Tall and Talented, and has been known to call himself Black Jesus.

Individually great, Stoudemire never made those around him better. His gaudy numbers were seen as a result of Phoenix teammate Steve Nash.

Well, Felton has taken a giant step. As has Stoudemire. Together, they're creating a new era of Knick basketball.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Isiah Thomas to help NY Knicks sign Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul?

In a Friday telephone interview, Donnie Walsh said there were no plans for Isiah Thomas to resume a full-time position with the Knicks. Walsh said Thomas had initiated the discussions on returning to the team in some formal capacity.

"Isiah can help us in the areas that he’ll consult with us in," Walsh said.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Insanity is repeating the same behaviour and expecting a different result.

On the surface, it would appear reasonable to call the New York Knicks decision to re-hire Isiah Thomas insane.

Thomas, of course, decimated the franchise. He traded for Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry. He signed Jerome James for mid-level money. And he got involved in a sexual harassment case.

Why would new Knicks executive Donnie Walsh bring ‘Zeke’ back as an outside consultant? Why would Walsh and this classic franchise seek such drama?   

To be fair, Thomas has always been an astute judge of talent. For instance, he drafted sleepers like blue-collar swingman Trevor Ariza and scoring post David Lee.

Thomas can supposedly relate to today’s players better than Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni. This apparently helped the club sign pogo-stick free agent Amar’e Stoudemire.

And the Knicks are hoping Thomas’ communication skills can land them two more free agents. Next summer, they want Carmelo Anthony. Two summers from now, they’re scheming on Chris Paul.

Perhaps, this isn’t insanity. Perhaps, this is a calculated risk.       

After all, the Knicks have Thomas on their terms. Most of the time, he’ll be coaching at Florida International University. When needed, he’s available to give his opinion on prospects or help woo free agents.

The Knicks will only be utilizing Thomas’ strengths, and not giving him an opportunity or chance to show his obvious weaknesses as an administrator.

Perhaps this isn’t insanity or even a calculated risk. Public relations aside, this type of ad hoc, casual arrangement could work for the team and Thomas.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

‘Hail Mary’ or Anti-Christ? Knicks involved Thomas in LeBron negotiations

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni says Isiah Thomas' involvement in the team's recruitment of LeBron James was a last-ditch effort.

D'Antoni called the move a "Hail Mary." "We were sitting around and thinking what can we do to try and get it back and Isiah had an in with someone in [LeBron's] entourage," D'Antoni told the New York Daily News.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: No wonder they lost out on LeBron James.

After all, The King - self-proclaimed or not - turned his back on the Cleveland Cavaliers and took less money to sign with the Miami Heat because he wanted to win.

Capturing championships is all that mattered to James. Not shoe deals. Not off-court adulation. And this forced him to turn his back on his home state.

So how would it have appeared to Team LeBron when Isiah Thomas - the man who destroyed the New York Knicks and virtually burned the Mecca of basketball known as Madison Square Gardens - popped up during negotiations?

The Hall of Fame point guard's trades, signings, and draft picks turned this classic franchise into a laughingstock, and brought misery to the NYC.

Worst of all, Thomas' involvement surely complicated negotiations. James and his people must have had concerns about who was really in charge. Was it Thomas, the old head of basketball operations? Or Donnie Walsh, the executive who was brought in to clean up his mess?

The Knicks must make a decision. Either they permanently cut ties with Thomas or, crazy as it sounds, re-hire him.

Currently, they're stuck in the middle, a bizarre no-man's land,  which is the worst case scenario. Thomas, again, plays the villain, appearing at the worst possible time to foil plans and scare the locals.

Common sense would rule out bringing Thomas back to New York. Clearly, common sense is still in short supply, though. And this may be the greatest reason James ignored the Knicks and signed elsewhere. 

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.