From the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola :
Magic Johnson suggested last night that the Knicks’ treatment and subsequent firing of Larry Brown may have hurt Eddy Curry’s chances of making the All-Star team this season.
“That’s a lot (of the coaches) saying to Isiah (Thomas), ‘That’s my boy you fired last year,'” Johnson said on TNT, where the selections were announced.
Several coaches in the East do have strong ties to Brown, the former Knicks’ coach who was fired after one season. Atlanta’s Mike Woodson and Philadelphia’s Maurice Cheeks both worked as assistants under Brown, who is currently working for the Sixers’ organization. Woodson, who like Thomas attended Indiana University, also has been friends with the Knicks’ president/head coach for more than 25 years.
In recent years, Thomas has had adversarial relationships with the Pacers, Bulls and Nets, among Eastern Conference teams. He criticized Indiana’s decision to fire him. The Knicks and Bulls feuded over the details of the Curry trade last season. Thomas got into a shouting match with the Nets’ coaches during a preseason game.
Coincidentally, Thomas is back in Orlando for the first time since last summer’s predraft camp, which was Brown’s last assignment for the Knicks. Opposing coaches and team executives condemned the Knicks for forcing Brown to attend the camp despite the fact it was apparent the team had already made the decision to terminate him. Brown was the first executive or coach to arrive at the camp each day. But when he left a half-day early with Sixers president Billy King, the Knicks came out publicly and said that Brown had departed without permission.
Of course, the Knicks’ questionable treatment of Brown and Thomas’ history with certain teams doesn’t necessarily mean that coaches would purposely vote against Curry to settle an old grudge.
Even Magic said, “Eddy Curry, you missed out on reputation and you’re playing for a losing team.”
While Johnson is correct in claiming Brown has plenty of pals amongst the NBA coaching fraternity, he neglects to mention that Curry is also playing for a team in the Association’s No. 1 market, and even the most casual observer is aware this has been his finest season as a pro. It would’ve been helpful had Magic cited which Eastern Conference All-Star he thought to be worthy of removal from the roster in order to make room for Curry (and as Isola notes, the 26-20 Chicago Bulls have not one member of their squad going to Vegas. Playing in the All-Star Game, anyway.)