Right now, the Madison Square Garden organization — which owns the New York Knicks (along with the Rangers and other assets) — is in flux. Young, hard-charging MSG sports president Scott O’Neil is out and we don’t know which direction MSG goes next. Or how that impacts the Knicks.
So Knicks and MSG head honcho James Dolan did what everyone does when they have big decisions to make — he reached out to a trusted advisor and consultant.
That sends shivers down the spines of Knicks fans. Whether they like it or not, Thomas could have a job with the Knicks but doesn’t want it, a source told Frank Isola of the Daily News.
“Isiah is very close with Jim Dolan but he’s told me that he’s not ready to jump back into the NBA just yet,” said the source, who was with Thomas on Friday at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass. “There’s this perception out there that Isiah is desperate to get back, but that’s false. I think it will eventually happen but just not now.”
Sounds like spin to me. Thomas and Dolan know the backlash that would follow with Thomas being hired in any capacity — Knicks fans loathe the idea — so rather than make it official Thomas stays an unofficial consultant while saying “I don’t want a job.”
Not that it really changes anything. Dolan meeting with Thomas Friday spun a lot of heads because the conventional wisdom is Thomas would do anything to get back in the NBA and with the Knicks. No doubt there is a desire. He tried to consult with them while a college coach, but the NBA was able to kill that (you can’t be a college coach and NBA consultant at the same time, that’s the rules).
So did Dolan offer Thomas a formal job? Does it even really matter? Thomas has always had Dolan’s ear, that has not changed. Never has, never will. Notice that two guys with ties to Thomas — coach Mike Woodson and GM Glen Grunwald — have positions of power with the Knicks.
Give Thomas a job and the only thing that would change formally is where Thomas gets his medical benefits. Thomas’ voice is already heard in the organization. It’s just a matter of perception and backlash if he were hired.
Thomas is working on his masters degree at Cal Berkley and may just want to do that for a while remaining off the Knicks official books. But don’t doubt his ties to the team.