(Taylor shoots over Traylor ; 11 fourth quarter points for Maurice Thursday evening.)

I’m not quite sure if last night’s Knicks victory over Cleveland was a case of New York finally showing some character when there’s nothing left to play for, or the directionless Cavs being too heavy for LeBron to carry on his shoulders. Much as the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola can’t be sure if Isiah Thomas is staying or going.

Isiah Thomas has been unusually quiet in recent weeks, maintaining a low profile as his team makes history for all the wrong reasons.

The change in Thomas’ demeanor has been so dramatic that you’d swear the Knicks’ president hired a look-alike to take his place in the tunnel for home games. (The thought probably crossed Thomas’ mind as the Knicks were losing nine straight, their longest run of futility in 20 years.)

There are still people around the league who wonder if Thomas is busy planning his own exit strategy. That perhaps he never really understood the daunting task in front of him and that with all the head coaching vacancies available this summer, Thomas may want to try his hand at coaching again and bequeath the rebuilding of New York’s floundering basketball team to the next guy.

In February, Thomas was so enraged by the suggestion that he would leave the Knicks to pursue a high-profile coaching position, he felt compelled to issue a statement reiterating his undying loyalty to the Knicks. But even some of Thomas’ closest confidants believe there is a chance that some team may attempt to lure Thomas away from the Knicks.

“I think someone might try to hire him,” says Mark Aguirre, the Knicks’ assistant coach and Thomas’ childhood friend. “I can see teams asking for permission to talk to him. There’s going to be quite a few jobs out there.

“And considering the success he had in Indiana, I think a lot of people will be interested in him.”

Writes artsy TV maven Tom Scharpling,

On “The Apprentice” last night, the winning team got the ‘privilege’ of hitting the court at MSG with Isiah and a few of the 2005 Knicks – Penny, Jamal and Tim Thomas. My favorite part was when Isiah was putting them through a passing drill – the kind where you break up the floor and the ball never touches the floor – and he yelled at them for bobbling the ball. It must be a great feeling to get chewed for your lack of basketball skills by a guy who can’t put together a team OR keep a minor league like the CBA in business. That’s showing them, Zeke!