The Weekly ‘Tail Gater – A Plea for Help: Fire Isiah Now

Mike Nanna

When New York Knicks General Manager Isiah Thomas traded for Stephon Marbury in 2004, Knicks fans were given a ray of hope. Even though Zeke was mortgaging the future and tying the team down to one player, at least Marbury was a superstar. Expensive mediocrity was a thing of the past. Instead of former GM Scott Layden, the Knickerbockers had a dynamic and exciting GM to turn things around. At least that’s what fans were led to believe.

Unfortunately, Knicks fans were misled. Thomas was just a flashier version of Layden. While Layden was very open about his overall incompetence, Isiah preferred to hide under the disguise of talent acquisition. In many ways he ran his basketball team like a fan would, acquiring as many talented players as he could without any thought for position, chemistry or salary. Perhaps that is why so many individuals have let him off the hook for so long. Whether it was giving away draft picks or taking on millions of dollars in salary, Thomas has been consistently duped in every deal he has made and yet, no one has complained. Knicks fans felt so starved for success during the Layden era that they were willing to forgive a lack of fiscal responsibility as long as they got some fleeting pleasure from a deal. They let slide Isiah’s poor management abilities, figuring they were lucky just to be out of Layden’s cold grasp.

While Knicks fans were in a trance, Isiah proceeded over the next two years to single-handedly ruin the team for the foreseeable future. He has made deals for players that no other GM in the league would want and also has completely ignored a payroll that now stands at an astronomical $123 million. Not only does the team feature the highest paid backcourt in the league, but its two backup guards are also one of the league’s highest paid tandems. If Cablevision chairman Jim Dolan is willing to “dole” out the money for a winning team, that’s one thing; but how do you think he feels paying more money than any other owner, for a last place team? It’s plain embarrassing.

Clearly Isiah’s squad is expensive, but what makes Isiah legendary in his ability to destroy a by handing out money to mediocre players, without giving any thought for actual team needs. GM’s around the league have Isiah on speed dial, just in case they need to unload a contract or pick up a few draft picks while giving up worthless commodities that nobody else wants. He’s acquired Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson and Steve Francis while completely ignoring that all three players are shooting guards trapped in point guards’ bodies. Every guard on this team likes to shoot the ball 20 times a game, but the team doesn’t even have a true point guard on the roster to get them the ball. As if that wasn’t enough, Isiah signed token fat center Jerome James for $25 million this off-season. Jerome James, folks! To his credit, Isiah drafted Robinson, Channing Frye and David Lee, all of whom look like solid young players. However, so as not to ruin his reputation for ineptitude, he promptly went out and signed a coach notorious for burying youngsters on the bench. These are just a few examples, but I assure you, Isiah’s moves lack both rhyme and reason with an alarming consistency. He operates the Knicks like someone who’s never watched basketball before, collecting big names and scorers without any thought for other facets of the game.

Simply put, every team Isiah has been associated with, whether it has been as an executive or coach, has failed. He even ran an entire league into the ground (the CBA). Now he’s doing it to my beloved Knicks. Why doesn’t Jim Dolan open his eyes and see past his Cheshire cat smile to the fact that Isiah Thomas is a moron! In any other business, an executive would be banished from the industry for performing the way Isiah has, and yet he keeps getting second chances. Now his chances are up. Fire Isiah, Jim, or risk ruining New York Knicks basketball forever.

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