Still lingering, this time on HBO’s ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’, former New York Knicks executive Isiah Thomas grades his tenure.
By David Hong
Former New York Knicks president and head coach and current New York Liberty president Isiah Thomas gave himself a grade for his time with the Knicks. He graded himself to C-minus to a D.
“I think we had a pretty talented roster, but the chemistry was just bad. It was just bad,” Thomas said during an interview with HBO’s Real Sports, which is scheduled to be shown on Tuesday at 10 p.m. “If you’re trying to paint the picture that I wasn’t at my best here and I didn’t do a good job here in New York, I’m not disagreeing with you.”
C-minus to a D might’ve been a generous grade for him. Thomas, during his Knicks tenure, was anything but smooth. It was a total disaster.
The man took over the team when the they were losing, despite enjoying the highest payroll in the league under then GM Scott Layden. All he did was bloat the payroll and increase the losing even more by overpaying more players, acquiring players with high egos, and trading away future first round picks for underachievers.
There was a lot you can point to: The Stephon Marbury trade, Steve Francis trade, trading two first round picks for overweight underachiever Eddy Curry. Though it all though, maybe Isiah’s worst move of all came when he signed another overweight big in Jerome James to a five year deal. The list goes on and on.
Isiah just added more of the losing to the Knicks while increasing the payroll even more in a way where the Knicks seemed stuck with their high salary cap for years.
As GM, Isiah helped the Knicks reach the playoffs in the 2003-2004 season, but with a losing record (39-43). His next four years were all losing seasons including two 23-59 seasons in the 2005-2006 when he was the GM and also in the 2007-2008 season when he was the Knicks head coach which was eventually his final season at the helm with the Knicks.
Thomas also faced issues off the court in a 2007 sexual harassment case in which a former team executive, Anucha Browne Sanders, was involved. Browne was eventually fired for complaining, but in December 2007, Madison Square Garden and their owner James Dolan settled the case with Browne for $11.5 million
Dolan fired Thomas after the 2007-2008 season, but for some reason the two have kept in touch together. Dolan never believed Thomas did as bad a job as the records showed and there were few instances when Dolan tried to bring Thomas back into a role with the Knicks including a special consultant when Thomas was used to help recruit Lebron James and other big free agents back in 2010.
Dolan couldn’t completely bring Thomas back into a full time role with the Knicks but he brought Thomas back to MSG as the new president of the WNBA Liberty which created some backlash considering Thomas was involved in the 2007 sexual harassment case with the former female Knicks employee.
The Knicks era under Thomas was probably the darkest era ever in the storied franchise’s history and even more so than last season’s 17-65 disastrous season. Nothing would bring more of a nightmarish situation for Knicks fans than if Dolan officially brings Thomas back into the Knicks in a front office role.
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