(above, Corpsey and Frumps, in happier times)
If you were scratching your skull upon learning the Knicks hired former GM/head coach Isiah Thomas as new part time consultant, rest assured, writes the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola, that many within the halls of MSG were equally puzzled by what the hoops scribe claims is a byproduct of Zeke and James D’ohlan bonding during the Anucha Browne-Sanders sexual harassment trial.
The Daily News has learned that Donnie Walsh considered resigning after Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan made the controversial move to hire Thomas, but Walsh decided to continue running the team despite his objections to Thomas having a role in the front office.
“Donnie finds this entire thing distasteful,” said one NBA source. “He’s had second thoughts about staying but he wants to finish the job.”
Walsh, who did not return phone calls yesterday, is under contract through 2012. Last month, he denied a published report that he was contemplating retirement for health reasons.
Dolan’s insistence on giving Thomas the ambiguous title of consultant angered Walsh, who for two years has been trying to hire former St. John’s All-American Chris Mullin as general manager. Dolan has refused to sign off on hiring Mullin and clearly has designs on giving that position to Thomas, who also holds the title of head coach at Florida International University in Miami.
The News reported yesterday that Dolan advised Walsh to hire Thomas as his general manager two weeks ago. When Walsh refused, Dolan decided to make Thomas a consultant, a move that was universally panned by several of Dolan’s top executives, according to sources.
Besides Walsh and Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni being against the move, Garden vice chairman Hank Ratner and Garden president Scott O’Neil voiced their displeasure but were overruled by Dolan, sources said.
OK, there’s some sentiment against Thomas. But what does Scott Mills think? Al Trautwig? The Ghost Of John Condon? Where does Sean Avery weigh in? Also, keep in mind the Knicks tried to weasel out of their contractual obligations to Larry Brown based on the oft-traveled coach yapping to the media sans permission. If Walsh continues to do the same via proxy, it seems a matter of time before Thomas is offering a decade’s worth of no. 1 picks for Chris Paul.