UPDATE 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
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.