Tag: Melo trade

Isaih Thomas Introduced as New Knicks GM

Report: Knicks owner promises he won’t rehire Isiah Thomas


If at one time a statement can be no-brainer true and completely moot, this next sentence is it:

Knicks owner James Dolan has promised team president Donnie Walsh he will not rehire Isiah Thomas to work for the Knicks, according to the New York Post. The report says that Dolan has become disillusioned with Thomas and wants to rebut the idea Thomas still has influence within the organization.

It’s disturbing that it might have taken Dolan this long to become disillusioned with Thomas, but that’s another issue entirely.

The real question is if he is really disillusioned, or whether he is still talking and consulting with Thomas. Dolan says no, but so many voices around the Knicks still say Thomas has influence. It was that influence that prompted Dolan to jump in and spearhead the Carmelo Anthony deal for Walsh.

I’d explain why that is a bad idea, but the brilliant Kelly Dwyer hit that nail on the head at Ball Don’t Lie:

Also remember that “spearheading the Anthony deal” isn’t the best thing. The Knicks were going to get Anthony as a free agent whenever the lockout ended, and they didn’t need to send numerous assets and draft picks Denver’s way for the privilege of signing Anthony to a contract extension that will be out-moded and cap-killing once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is hammered out. In a move that reeked of Isiah’s trade for Stephon Marbury, the Knicks got the guy but lost the team, and it’s hard to see this group improving any from here on out.

Yes, the Knicks will have only four players under contract in the summer of 2012, but those four players (thanks to Anthony’s massive, old school extension) might make up the entirety of the 2012-13 salary cap with their contracts.

So saying you will not hire Thomas is an obvious and simple move. And moot if you are still listening to him.

Isiah Thomas doesn’t deny he helped get ‘Melo to New York

Image (1) iThomas-FIU-thumb-250x299-17794-thumb-250x299-17795.jpg for post 3620

It’s never easy to tell reality with Isiah Thomas.

With him, the truth is messy and convoluted. You want to make it simple — “he was a terrible GM” — but reality is more complex (he made some very good draft picks and showed an eye for spotting talent out of college).

So it is with the recruitment of Carmelo Anthony to New York.

Knicks owner James Dolan stood on the podium and specifically denied that Thomas had consulted or influenced efforts to get Anthony to New York. Nobody around the Knicks believed that.

Thomas, in a fascinating and wide-ranging interview by Bill Reiter of Fox Sports, did not deny he was involved in the Knicks getting ‘Melo.

“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.”

Right now, with the Knicks struggling to fit Anthony in and the team losing, plenty of Knicks fans would say this trade has all the markings of a Thomas move. But we do not know how it will turn out in a year or two.

Thomas in this interview vacillates between confident and needy. He desperately wants back in the NBA, he has confidence his friends will back him. To the point he pushed Reiter to call Charles Barkley right then and there, in front of him (without Barkley knowing Thomas was there).

Barkley, as always, was honest.

“He’s coaching right now,” Barkley says. “He got fired, and when you get fired you don’t just go get another job. He’s a great guy and I like him, but he made some bad decisions with the Knicks, like I think everyone knows. He has a job now, so that should be his No. 1 priority. Gotta do that.”

I hang up. I tell Isiah what Barkley said. His face falls.

Thomas all but admitted he struggles as a coach but sees himself as a good talent evaluator. His drafts were solid to very good, but his free agent choices in New York cut him and the franchise off at the knees. Thomas said his problem was more PR than actions.

Thomas was insanely confident of his skills as a player, comparing himself to Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

“I have no problem saying this at all,” he says. “They’re all 6-(feet)-9 and Jordan was 6-6 and a half. If they were all 6-1, it wouldn’t even be a question. They wouldn’t even f—ing rate. If they were all my size, s—, they wouldn’t even be talked about.

“I beat the s— out of them when they were that big. If we were all the same size, f—.” He stops to laugh good-naturedly. “Make them 6-1 and let’s go on the court.”

Go read the entire article. Like Thomas himself it is conflicting and both impressive and sad all at once.

Former Nuggets staffer acknowledges trade rumors hurt play

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets
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It was pretty clear by the end that impacts of the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors had bled onto the court for the Denver Nuggets. They were not the same team that started the season, the one that seemed to have potential.

Dean Oliver was a former front office guy and staticiscian for Denver who last month swtiched jobs to write and work for ESPN. Writing for TrueHoop, he provided some interesting insight into how the trade rumors really hit the Nuggets. He said early on it was not bad — and the Nuggets were winning. That changed.

But on January 9, in the early minutes of a home game against New Orleans, news leaked out that hometown hero Chauncey Billups was to be included in a potential trade package to go to the Nets, along with Anthony. As a member of the Denver front office at the time, I was in the arena that night. (I left the Nuggets to join ESPN a few weeks before the Anthony trade.) If there was a time when it looked like the public trade talk started hurting the Nuggets, it was then.

Almost half the team’s players saw their names out there as potential ex-Nuggets. It’s hard to work when your future is that tenuous. It’s hard for coaches to push players who may not have a long-term future with the team.

That Sunday night, with a very negative buzz in the arena, the team crawled to a 96-87 loss. Before a similar trade with New York finally got done, the Nuggets went just 12-10.

Oliver, a stats guy — THE stats guy — knows that a teams emotional state plays a big role, and it has with the Nuggets post trade.

Denver coach George Karl got his “play hard” team, and that’s what the Nuggets did right away: play hard. Since the deal, Denver’s defense has been just a hair behind the Bulls for best in the entire NBA, allowing more than 10 points per 100 possessions fewer than before the deal…

On the offensive side of the ball, the emotional impact is also clear, as the team is sharing the ball very well. Most of the players are using between 17 percent and 22 percent of the team’s possessions, a far cry from when Melo was using 31 percent. Assisted baskets are up to 63 percent, from only 54 percent prior to the deal.

Oliver goes on to talk about things such as how Ty Lawson has always played better as a starter (which is one reason Raymond Felton comes off the bench) and how this trade has been a boon for him.

Come the playoffs, it’s still hard to see Denver knocking off one of the big four teams in the West. But whoever gets them in the first round is going to have to work hard to knock them off. And if the other team isn’t willing to work hard…. somebody is going to get upset in the West. Denver could be that team moving on.

Nene says he wants to stay a Nugget forever. If they pay up.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets

After playing most of the season under the cloud of the Carmelo Anthony trade situation, the sun has broken through in Denver. And like flowers everywhere, the Nuggets are blooming in the spring.

Their defense is better. Their offense is better. Their energy is better. They are winning. It’s a fun place to play.

Nene could leave if he wanted. He can opt out of the $11.6 million he is due next season — and may to secure a longer-term deal — but told Hoopsworld he’d prefer to stick around Denver.

“I want to be a Nugget for now and forever,” Nene told HOOPSWORLD.” But I know there is a lot of business [to handle], so I can say that today. “

Translation: “step up and pay me.”

A lot of teams would be willing to pay the Brazilian center. He averages 15.1 points a game and is shooting a league best 63 percent. He does most of his damage near the rim but he has enough of a midrange game you have to respect it. He’s strong and draws the and-one on 10.5 percent of his shots. He’s good on the boards. He can defend the post.

Teams are going to make a run at him, but Nene made it clear to Hoopsworld the Nuggets get the first crack at keeping him.

“Oh yeah for sure,” said Nene reiterating his desire to remain in Denver. “It’s totally different right now. Everybody is excited, everybody is happy and everybody is enjoying playing [together]. And after games [now] you feel good. You feel like your mission is done…

“It is no surprise in basketball when you’re playing the right way,” said Nene. “When you ball and play together, when you help each other there’s no secret [to success]. That’s what we’re doing right now.”

Denver front office, the ball is your court.

Carmelo Anthony’s Dear John letter to Denver fans

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has gone from Denver. Because he forced his way out.

But, you know, he still loves you Denver fans. He really appreciates you.

Sure, he has moved on the next phase of his career. Bright lights and the big city. But he’ll always care about you.

That’s why he left you this goodbye letter on his Web site Thursday (via the Denver Post).

A Note to My Denver fans

I had to let you know how I felt about you, the city, my fans, my friends. You’ve been supportive of me and my NBA career for the past 8 years and that doesn’t go unnoticed.

Drafted when I was 19 I called Denver and the Nuggets my home. The city and the fans embraced me and watched me grow as a man and a player.

There are no words to express the gratitude and appreciation I have for Denver, the Nuggets and all the fans.

You will always be a part of my heart.

One Love,

I am certain Denver fans will let Anthony know of their feelings toward him next time he is in town. Then again, since they are 4-1 and playing good defense since he left, maybe they will get over him sooner than you think.