The conventional thinking surrounding the Knicks surprising front office shakeup just days before the start of training camp was that it was done to ensure the proper person was in place who could make the moves necessary to make sure Carmelo Anthony doesn’t choose to leave in free agency next summer.
Whether or not new GM Steve Mills is up to the task remains to be seen, but what is odd about the situation is his return to power in the organization considering the way his messy separation from the Knicks occurred five years ago.
Frank Isola of the New York Post gave us some of the details:
It really wasn’t that long ago when Steve Mills returned from vacation and suddenly had the sinking feeling that his job as the president of Madison Square Garden was in jeopardy.
There were two not-so-subtle signs that Mills’ days were numbered; Hank Ratner, his immediate superior, had moved into his office at 2 Penn Plaza, and Mills’ parking spot had been taken away.
The ugly divorce, which began when the Garden was found liable in a highly publicized sexual harassment case, was near its completion.
That harassment case also involved Isiah Thomas, who had an unsuccessful run with the team (to put it mildly) from 2003-2008 as president of basketball operations.
Thomas remains close with Knicks owner James Dolan, and is viewed by many as having a role of an unpaid adviser. The return of Mills sparked speculation that Thomas might be brought back in a more official capacity, but Mills said in a radio interview this week that he has no intention of doing so.
Though conspiracy theorists abound, new Knicks president and GM Steve Mills did his best to quell speculation that he will be bringing back Isiah Thomas to the Knicks, suggesting that Thomas would make a fine executive director of the NBA Players’ Association instead.
“No, Isiah will not be coming back to the Knicks,” Mills said. “I’ve known Isiah for a long time. I think he has a lot of good things going on in his life. . . . He’s probably an excellent candidate for the executive director’s job at the NBA players’ association.”
That sound you heard was the team’s fan base breathing a collective sigh of relief.
The internal workings of the Knicks are a mystery to many, but even an organization that’s had more than its share of issues couldn’t possibly bring back Thomas, given the damage he did to the brand during his brief stint in charge.