The Atlantic Division Champion New York Knicks released 40 year old Kurt Thomas yesterday to make roster room for James Singleton, a move that strikes the NY Daily News’ Frank Isola as running contrary to any notion James Dolan’s franchise is a family operation, “unless, I suppose, you are a Soprano or a Manson.” Isola points out the Knicks’ 13 game winning streak — which ended at the hands of Nate Robinson and the Bulls last night in Chicago — was kickstarted by Thomas’ performance on a broken foot in Utah.
This is a necessary evil of the business, of course. The Knicks need frontcourt insurance and Thomas wouldn’t be available even if the Knicks reach the NBA Finals. With Thomas gone, 39-year-old Marcus Camby is now the second- oldest player on the roster behind Jason Kidd and the only active player from the Knicks team that reached the 1999 NBA Finals. Active in theory, that is. When Camby plays again is anyone’s guess.
The same can be said of Amar’e Stoudemire, who is recovering from his second knee surgery since October and is set to release a documentary called “Amar’e Stoudemire: In The Moment” on the eve of the postseason. His timing isn’t great. But think of it this way: the Knicks can always say Amar’e was running during the playoffs.
Glen Grunwald won’t be erring in releasing Thomas. The Knicks have to do something. Is it cold-blooded? Absolutely. But as they say in that famous movie about a family, “It’s business, nothing personal.”
That’s not to say Thomas’ exit couldn’t have been handled a bit better. When Thomas learned of his pending fate on Wednesday, he was asked not to speak to reporters. Imagine that. You’re being fired, your career may be over, you need surgery because you played hurt and now some insensitive former co-worker wants you to show a little loyalty.