Isiah Thomas, as general manager of the New York Knicks, built loser after loser, pulverized the team’s cap structure and exposed Madison Square Garden to an eight-digit sexual-harassment lawsuit.
Just the man who deserves another chance to run a team.
That’s reportedly the logic of Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, who could be weeks from relieving Joe Dumars as general manager. Dumars’ contract expires after the season, and it’s difficult to see him returning in that capacity after the Pistons’ miserable season.
“Gores is definitely looking at Isiah to replace Joe,” one league source said.
What [Gores] knows about pro basketball you can probably fit in a thimble, and he loves his stars. That goes for current ones (Josh Smith, who is said to have a direct pipeline to Gores) and former ones (there’s none bigger in the Motor City than Thomas, who led the Pistons to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990).
Gores, 49, grew up in Michigan. I can see why he’d idolize Thomas, the top player on the Bad Boys.
Bill Simmons has written extensively on this, but sports-team owners sometimes use their wealth to live their fantasies of befriending famous athletes. No better way to make someone your friend than offering him a job in your company, right?
If Gores wants to do that, I suppose it’s his prerogative. He owns the team, after all.
It would just likely cost him a lot of money.
Pistons fans won’t buy tickets to watch a terrible team, which Thomas would be far too likely to create. And if Dumars handed out too many big and bad contracts, wait until Thomas gets a hold of the checkbook.
I actually believe Thomas gets overly criticized by Knicks fans. Don’t get me wrong, Thomas did an awful job as New York’s general manager. But the Knicks were in bad shape, on the floor and in the cap structure, when he arrived. He worsened the issues and created new problems – and he deserves blame for that – but he didn’t break a model franchise.
However, that’s just arguing the degree of Thomas’ failures. He failed and failed big, and that should preclude him from getting the Pistons’, or any other NBA, general-managing job.
Thomas wouldn’t necessarily be doomed to repeat his terrible tenure, but the odds are far too high to justify hiring him. There are front-office members all over the league who are far more deserving of a first chance to run a team than Thomas is of a second chance.
If Gores wants to befriend Thomas, take him out to dinner or something.