Isiah Thomas owes me an apology, NOT the other way around

So the Knicks Blog referenced an article written yesterday by Kevin Burke over at Hoops Doctor about how Isiah Thomas deserves an apology from Knicks fans. Tommy Dee refuted this nonsense in a post and has been talking about it on Twitter for a while, but he has let Kevin Burke off the hook. This post is epically terrible and a disgrace to Knicks fans everywhere. So I decided to break it down FJM style so at least something decent could come from this disastrous piece of work. Everything in bold comes from the mind of Kevin Burke while the regular text is my (witty) response. Enjoy…

By now you’ve probably heard the reports circulating around the humid New York air that disgraced former New York Knicks General Manager, Isiah Thomas, is being considered again by the club for the very same role. The very same role that he was fired from. The very same role that he has become a punch line for.

Solid intro. Disgraced, fired, punch line. I have read these reports and they are absolutely ridiculous. Thank goodness someone like you has taken the time to write a well thought out piece on why this is a terrible idea.

There is a huge misconception about Isiah Thomas’ tenure as GM of the Knicks. One that has gone on for far too long.

Oh goodness…now I see where you’re going with this. Are you really going to do this? (I think he’s really going to do this). Oh well…buckle up.

Well, I’m not quite sure what you are talking about. Are there a lot of people who think he is a former NFL linebacker or something? I can’t think of any other misconception one would have of the man.

This news of his possible (and probably unlikely) return to Manhattan finally provides me with the opportunity to set the record straight for “Zeke.” In sports, the GM of a team has two core objectives in his job description.

So. Two core objectives right? Before I read what you think they are, here are my guesses:

1. Regarding trades: Give away all of your first round picks. Rookies are significantly worse at basketball than players who have been in the league for more than one year. Also they are likely to be under 21 and cannot party with me at the clubs. Also, why should I be worrying about the future. Do you expect me to have a job in 3 years? Shame on you.

2. Regarding free agency: SPEND THAT PAPER! Leave the frugality for Wall St. If my boy James Dolan is cool with paying the luxury tax, then why not take advantage of it. What’s that? Salary caps are supposed to remain flexible? I’ll tell you what flexible is…go check out that secretary down the hall. Have you seen that ass? DAYUM.

Those must be the 2 objectives if we are going to consider Isiah a good GM right?

The first one is to improve the team’s roster.

Check! Oh wait…”improve”? Sorry I thought that said “fill with Overrated, Overpaid, Potential Suckbags.” I call it my OOPS strategy. Works every time.

Secondly, it is to put the best possible coach in place to direct this roster that you have assembled (if you have the type of control that Isiah was afforded).

You’re right, this is definitely the responsibility of the GM. But are you honestly going to try and make the argument that number 2 is equally as important as number 1? How many coaches will keep their jobs for more than 5 years in the NBA. I think it’s a well known fact with overwhelming evidence that the quality of players and how they play as a team is infinitely more important than having a good coach (barring a hiring of Mike Dunleavy, then you have no hope at all).

Breaking it down into those two categories is idiotic. There are like 20 different subsections of your arbitrary “improve the team’s roster” that are far more important than putting the best possible coach in place. Off the top of my head:


Free Agency

Managing the salary cap


Hiring a solid core of personnel like scouts and assistant GM(s)

Avoiding sexual harassment law suits

Isiah Thomas was hired as GM of the Knicks on December 22, 2003. He inherited the following roster: Othella Harrington, Kurt Thomas, a hobbled Allan Houston, Howard Eisley, Michael Doleac, Clearance Weatherspoon, Lee Nailon, Shandon Anderson, Charlie Ward, Lavar Postell and Frank Williams to name a few.

Fair point, as this is an awful team. For some reason you neglect to mention a huge point in favor of your thickheaded argument. The fact that Scott Layden was recognized (pre-Isiah) as arguably the worst GM in the league. So you could give the Obama excuse (which don’t get me wrong, I completely agree with) that he was stuck in a pretty terrible situation. But instead you say this:

In no time, he eventually transformed that roster to Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, Eddy Curry (Granted, his salary has proven to be bigger than what he is worth, but people fail to realize that Curry was 20 and 9 for the Knicks in his best year there), Zach Randolph, Jalen Rose and Steve Francis.


Are you genuinely making the argument that this is an improved team? Sure, on paper those are better names than the scrubs he was left with. But you can’t just cherry pick like that .What about the 4 (!?!?) lottery picks that were given up in the combined Fartbury and Fatty Curry trades? Take your time, go Wikipedia the draft picks that the knicks missed out on because of these trades. Then tell me that Isiah improved the team.


Because it’s just so infuriating that you would make this argument, do you actually think that Quentin Richardson, Jalen Rose and Steve Francis were good for the Knicks? I’ll give you a hint. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Maybe it’s me, but the post-Isiah roster is clearly better than the pre-Isiah roster.

It’s you.

Clearly. Objective #1 of improving the roster: successful.

I hate you.

The head coach of the Knicks when Isiah arrived was Don Chaney. “Who?” I said, Don Chaney. Who did Isiah replace him with? Only the winningest coach in the history of the NBA at that time, Lenny Wilkens.

I’ll let Tommy Dee of the Knicks blog handle the first part about Don Chaney:

“Don Chaney was an NBA coach of the Year and a 2-time NBA champion. He was a valuable defensive assistant on the team’s staff.”

Just because you don’t do research and don’t recognize some guy’s name doesn’t mean he isn’t qualified to coach. He’s never read anything you’ve ever written and doesn’t criticize your idiotic posts (although I’d give him full permission).

As for your second cherry pick of the day, Lenny Wilkins is also the LOSINGEST coach of all time. See…I can manipulate words to help my argument also! How about we agree to disagree and call him the coachiest coach of all time. Fair?

Be prepared for some awesomeness coming up. This paragraph is so idiotic that I’m not going to even comment. He’s basically FJMing himself.

Nothing too serious. But, the Knicks still weren’t successful under Wilkens. Who did Isiah get to  eventually man the sidelines for the orange and blue after Wilkens, you ask? Oh, nobody. Just Larry Brown.  The same Larry Brown who just led the Detroit Pistons to an NBA Championship and the crown jewel of NBA head coaches at the time.

Wait for it…you ready?…here were go:

(I apologize, but I’m about to go off on a tangent, as I tend to do occasionally. But please stay with me). The roster that Larry Brown had was a very solid one: Marbury, Crawford, Richardson, Lee and Curry. As well as a descent bench. Larry Brown coached the Knicks to a 23-59 record, which was tied for a franchise worse, and he was completely absolved of any culpability. He walked away as the victim which still disgusts me to this day.  He signed a 5-year, $50M deal to coach the Knicks. He was only there for one season and got roughly $40M in a buyout.  So basically, he coached a team to the worst record in franchise history and was rewarded with $40M for one year. I was going to bring up the fact that he would also routinely call out his players to the media, rather than keep it in-house like he should, but I’m not going to even go down that road. Larry Brown did more harm to the Knicks that year than Isiah did, but nobody talks about Larry Brown.(Again, my humblest apologies. I’m back now).

Okay I lied, I can’t just leave this alone. Here’s the summary of the argument he makes regarding coaching and Larry Brown.

Point 1: Hiring the coach is 50% of a GM’s responsibility, in this case, Isiah Thomas’.

Point 2: In this regard, Isiah is great because he hired Larry Brown

Point 3: Larry Brown just won a championship, he’s a crown jewel. Larry Brown is a great coach!

Point 4: Larry Brown had a much improved roster. Better team, better coach, team should do better.

Point 5: Larry Brown leads knicks to 23-59 record, tied for worst in franchise history (see point 1)

Point 6: Larry Brown is a sucky coach (see point 1)

Point 7: Larry Brown was signed to a 5 year $50 million contract and is FIRED after one year (see point 1)

Point 8: Pay Larry Brown $40 million to go away (see point 1)

Point 9: How come no one ever talks about Larry Brown being bad (SEE POINT 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

QED: Isiah is a good GM! (Wait what? How do you draw that conclusion?)

It’s almost as if Burke realizes mid-post that Isiah DIDN’T improve the team and DIDN’T hire a good coach, but has no choice but to keep going with this awful argument.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Objective #2 of improving the coaching situation: successful.

I actually laughed out loud after I read this sentence. Words cannot express how backwards and stupid this is (well except for his words, which do a pretty good job)

Isiah improved the roster and the coaching situation, but the team still wasn’t successful. How can that all be his fault? His critics love to harp on the fact that he overpaid for guys. In certain cases, yes, he did but at the time it didn’t prohibit them for acquiring anyone that they had their eye on. It wasn’t until Donnie Walsh took over and forfeited 2 seasons that we realized just how many hefty salaries he had acquired. But, he wasn’t planning for 2010 like Walsh was. He was planning for then.

In hindsight, Eddy Curry’s salary is obviously way too high, and he also overpaid for Jerome James at $30M for 5-years. But James just came off a pretty impressive playoff run (for his standards) the year before for the SuperSonics, and had many GMs across the league taking a look at him.

Isiah was definitely not an angel during his time in New York. The Anucha Browne Sanders harassment case, where she was awarded $11.6M in punitive damages, is evidence of that.

Summary: Isiah did such a good job. Sure he made this awful mistake, this awful mistake, and this awful mistake, but he wasn’t looking towards the future! He was simply trying to ruin everything immediately. Also he sexually harassed someone. What a great GM!

At this point, it’s starting to get repetitive.

But he became a punch line when he largely accomplished his two primary objectives in his job. It became cool to talk bad about Isiah.

No, it became hair-ripping-out-of-my-skull frustrating when he DIDN’T ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING!!! You couldn’t talk about the Knicks without mentioning Isiah because he had destroyed a storied franchise. It wasn’t cool, it was necessary.

Current GM, Donnie Walsh is 70 years old and has been going through health problems of late. That is why there is even speculation that a new GM is needed.  Isiah is most guilty for acquiring high salary guys. Donnie Walsh threw away 2 seasons by getting rid of those salaries in anticipation of a guy who never came. Which is worse?

Isiah threw away X number of seasons (you pick, because who really knows how many he screwed up in the future). Donnie Walsh spent 2 cleaning up his mess. Which is worse??? It’s like the dumbest math question ever asked. Please go away Kevin, you’re hurting my brain.

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28 Replies to “Isiah Thomas owes me an apology, NOT the other way around”

  1. Ya know what, Tim. I’ll be honest.

    When ACo wrote this, I actually had to look up what ‘FJM stood for. I’m assuming it’s Fire Joe Morgan, a site, or style, with which I’m not overly familiar. Perhaps I’m too old school… or just too old. (I actually thought it had more of a Bill Simmons flavor)

    But I do get the sense that ACo isn’t all that crazy about Isiah OR the state of his New York Knickerbockers.

    Don’t worry though, he’ll still draft Amare Stoudemire first in his NBA fantasy league, which might not be all that bad of a move since he’ll be the only one on that team putting up any numbers.

  2. Yea Chris, its Fire Joe Morgan. I know Tim, nobody can do it as well as they can. But this article was just so ridiculous that I couldn’t let it go.

  3. I must take a look-see then.

    And I promise to be back to comment on Isiah Thomas and your beloved New York Knickerbockers… after I’ve had my coffee.

  4. Thomas owes the whole professional basketball world an apology . He ruined the Continental Basketball Assoc and also the New York Knicks . Were he a general in the military he’d have been court martialed for dereliction of duty.
    Nick Saban is proving what a real dic_-head he really is. Speaks out of his a_s on number of things without actually taking into account his very own actions.

    BC News

    Saban Compares Unscrupulous Agents to a ‘Pimp’

    Saban compares actions of unscrupulous agents to a ‘pimp,’ wants NFL to impose punishments

    Nick Saban didn’t pull punches Wednesday when discussing the improper contact with athletes by unscrupulous agents, comparing their behavior to that of a “pimp.”

    The Alabama coach was upset about the rash of recent agent-related incidents that have resulted in NCAA investigations at several Southeastern Conference schools.

    “I don’t think it’s anything but greed that’s creating it right now on behalf of the agents,” Saban said in a rant at the SEC media days. “The agents that do this — and I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp?

    “I have no respect for people who do that to young people. None. How would you feel if they did it to your child?”

    Agents, not national titles, was the primary topic on Day 1 at the Wynfrey Hotel. Three SEC teams — Florida , Alabama and South Carolina — are investigating allegations involving improper contact with an agent. Saban and SEC commissioner Mike Slive both emphatically said it was time for a change to NCAA rules governing agents.

    Saban confirmed that Alabama is looking into a trip defensive end Marcell Dareus took to an agent’s party at Miami’s South Beach. South Carolina is looking into claims from the same South Beach party with tight end Weslye Saunders.

    Georgia associate athletic director Claude Felton confirmed that the NCAA requested permission late Wednesday afternoon to conduct an inquiry on the Bulldogs’ campus. He would not say what the inquiry was about or whether it was related to the South Beach party. “This is all we can say,” Felton said.

    Click on link to read in its entirety.

    This statement coming from a guy who’d make Attila The Hun seem like a wonderful human being . When hasn’t that guy lied to make himself look good ?

    In My Wheelhouse From Where I Sit ….


    tophatal …………. 🙂

  5. Al & Aco…

    Regarding Isiah, it’s odd to see an athlete of his stature have such a significant fall from grace.

    Sure we’ve had Tyson, Kobe, OJ and Vick but Isiah didn’t do anything to the extent these guys did.

    His worst indiscretions not involving basketball were the sexual harassment allegations and the night he took those sleeping pills.

    He’s never raped, bitten or killed anyone as far as I know. Yet he’s still plenty hated as one can see from ACo’s post.

    (Okay, so maybe ‘hated’ is too strong a word but it’s unlikely ACo or any Knick fan will be inviting Zeke over to dinner any time soon.)

    Believe it or not, I almost feel sorry for the guy. His career after basketball didn’t go the way of Larry, Magic, Michael or Charles and let us not forget, back in the day, his talent was very close to on a par with those guys.

    Now… would I want him running the Magic? Probably not.

    Not unless he could hand deliver Chris Paul.

  6. And re: Saban, Al, it’s good to see we can still count on him for a quality sound bite.

    What’s going on here is clearly some spinning away from the attention paid to the individuals, coaches and universities and putting it on the agents.

    But there are still truths to his statements. Agents are pretty actively looking to land new clients and probably don’t care too much about rules of the futures of the schools involved if he can make a quick buck.

    Perhaps they should take a lesson from the boosters who get kids into these schools to begin with and who never get caught.

  7. Anyone trying to argue Isiah did a good job is trippin. If he gets a second chance it would be one of the worst re-hire’s ever. Maybe that’s what turned Lebron off when he went to visit the Knicks!

  8. Chris

    Zeke is the type of guy that it’s OK to have a drink with but beyond that …’s best to leave him alone.

    Not the type of guy you’d want to be seen with on too regular a basis.

    Saban is a buffoon ! ‘nough said !

    There are going to be a couple of pimps looking to beat his a-s for bringing their name into disrepute !

    Pimps are nowhere near as corrupt as collegiate coach and that’s a fact .

    Liar , Liar Pants On Fire


    tophatal ……….. 🙂

  9. Chap…

    When Isiah landed at FIU, or FAU, or wherever the hell he’s currently coaching, I thought it would be a good, new beginning for him, to teach young kids, to reinvent himself.

    I figured there wouldn’t be a top young PG coming out of high school that wouldn’t want to learn from him. We’re quick to forget he was one of the best NBA point guards ever.

    I guess the question is… what would they be learning?

  10. Chap….

    C’mon, really.

    Didn’t the Knicks already waste enough money on Allan Houston?

    That news has to have Knicks fans in as much of an uproar as bringing back Isiah.

    Unless of course Houston offered to work the first five years for free.

  11. A Tuscaloosa pimp, Al.

    Now that’s a funny thought.

    But you know there’s gotta be some.

    Hang on… gonna go pop ‘Hustle n Flow’ into the DVD player.

  12. Chris

    Leave Tuskaloosa out of this as they’ve nothing wrong .

    I see that MLB hierarchy will let Mark Cuban partake in the bidding process of the Rangers. So tell me when did they figure it out that the other six potential bidders they already had were worthless ? Was it due to the fact that not one of them had any financing in place ?

    MLB has become a running joke that they make the government seem like a bunch of hard working individuals .

    That’s how dumb Selig and his posse of frggin’ idiots are !

    And you once stated he was good for the game ? You must’ve been using Midol at the time ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!


    Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………… 🙂

  13. Al…

    You must have me mistaken for someone else.

    I defy you to peruse the SportsChump archives and find anywhere that I’ve even hinted that Bud Selig was good for the game.

  14. Haha, I don’t really think either are a good choice to help this franchise. Houston at least has a clean slate for front office stuff if that counts for anything…

  15. Chris

    I know Bud has never been good for the game but we were also told that the likes of Citibank and AIG were too big to fail and look what happened there ? Now Bud does an about face and all of a sudden we’re meant to think that the game is still in a healthy position ? It’s not healthy financially or competitively !

    How the hell could he favor one bidder over the other when his “so called favored” bidders didn’t even have the full financial backing to pull of a deal in the first place ? No wonder he’s viewed as an as_hole !

    If the Rangers should go belly up at season’s end then he and Tom Hicks are solely to blame .


    tophatal ………….


  16. I gotta tell ya’, Al.

    As an Orlando fan, I’m glad Otis Smith and the Magic aren’t sitting idly by while the Heat compound talent.

    They’re in serious contention for Chris Paul and that could make for an interesting in-state rivalry over the next few years.

  17. Chris

    Refer to the piece by me titled “ Now What” ? I lay it all out there in the piece.

    So the Yankees may well go fter the D’backs’ Dan Haren ? Interesting … all of a sudden they’ll now leave the rest of the AL and teams in the shade .

    Arizona talking Haren trade with Yankees, others

    PHOENIX (AP)—Arizona president Derrick Hall has confirmed that the New York Yankees are among “a few teams” in discussions with the Diamondbacks about a possible trade for right-hander Dan Haren(notes).

    But Hall told The Associated Press on Friday night that there is no front-runner and other clubs have made offers that are “of at least equal value” to what the Yankees are proposing. He said no trade is imminent.

    Haren has emerged as one of the most sought-after starters as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. He is in the second season of a four-year, $44.75 million contract with a club option for a fifth year.

    Though their deep rotation has been a strength all season, the Yankees seem intent on trying to acquire a front-line starter. They came close to landing lefty ace Cliff Lee(notes) two weeks ago before Seattle traded him to AL West-leading Texas. Since then, 38-year-old New York lefty Andy Pettitte(notes) went down with a groin injury and is expected to be sidelined until at least mid-to-late August.

    Sergio Mitre(notes) is set to take Pettitte’s spot in the rotation—for now.

    The Yankees, who have the best record in the majors, want to limit young right-hander Phil Hughes’(notes) innings this year and might be thinking about returning him to the bullpen in the postseason. Hughes flourished as a setup man last season and Joba Chamberlain(notes) has struggled in that role this year.

    New York also could be concerned about starting A.J. Burnett(notes) and Javier Vazquez(notes) in pressure-packed games. Both have struggled badly at times this season. And the big-budget Yankees certainly don’t want the best available pitchers on the trade market going to their top American League competitors.

    Bob Arum has arranged Pacquaio to fight stablemate Antonio Margarito . I hope Arum makes sure that Margarito isn’t wearing plaster of paris on his round his fists for the November 13th bout .




  18. Al…

    The Yanks making late season acquisition should come as a surprise to no one.

    And Pacquiao still not fighting Mayweather, huh? Last boxing fan out, please turn out the lights.

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