It’s a pretty fair bet that Isiah Thomas will one day coach again in the NBA. It’s an equally fair bet that Zeke would prefer not to return to the bench if he’ll be held accountable for a team as wretched as the contemporary New York Knicks. Armed with that knowledge, the NY Post’s Peter Vescey, in an early contender for one of his best columns of the year, is more than happy to advocate that Thomas take over the team as soon as possible.

It’s time to call out and call in Isiah Thomas.

Time for the Knicks’ president to stop run ning away from his team’s problems, the majority of which he custom designed.

Time for Thomas to start paying much closer attention to his 19-29 masterpiece; later for checking out the local talent in Spain and Italy, as if this couldn’t have been done nearer to the draft.

What top executive goes gallivanting through Europe, I ask, when their team is in the midst of losing 16 of 19 games?

Aside from Chris Mullin, I mean? But then again, I said top executive.

You don’t abandon your players so soon after changing coaches, especially in the midst of the worst dry spell in franchise history. What’s Thomas doing overseas, anyway?

Seven-something Martynas Andriuskecvius did not play ” or only played three minutes; there are conflicting reports ” for Zalgiris Kaunas vs. Siena with Thomas in attendance. Who’s he trying to uncover the second coming of ” Darko Milicic, Nikoloz Tskitishvili or Frederic Weis?

Meanwhile, if Thomas had any respect for Euros he wouldn’t have been so quick to trade Scott Layden’s stockpile ” Milos Vujanic and center Maciej Lampe ” so soon after arriving in New York before so much as laying his eyes on the Yugoslavian guard.

Time to stop purely accruing ping-pong balls and start trying to accomplish something, even if it’s as basic as learning how to play a zone.

Time to stop pawning off unreasonable responsibility onto someone else.

Why should anyone expect Herb Williams to be able to stabilize an incorrigible situation when everyone knows he’s vapor after the season, at the very latest?

Thomas says coaching the Knicks is out of the question. He’s been saying it since getting sworn in. Says it’s too difficult to coach and supervise basketball operations. Says he can’t do justice to both jobs.

I say Thomas isn’t doing justice to either job.

Hiring Lenny Wilkens was a major mistake; millions upon millions of dollars and a full season were recklessly squandered.

The same can be said for Thomas’ redundant roster renovation; heavy on offensively consumed guards, light on defensive concept or caring. Healthy or not, the Knicks don’t have the players or the synchronization to save this season.

Their cupboard was so empty the Nets were able to swoop in and confiscate Vince Carter from the Raptors for basically Eric Williams and two nebulous first-round draft picks.

Worst of all, the Knicks are spearheaded by a fake franchise point guard who’ll always be selfish and scared and will never get it; as long as Stephon Marbury plies his trade in New York, anyway. Notice his only winning seasons took place in Minnesota and Phoenix, far away from home and lifetime enablers.

Thomas is the only one who might be able to control and intimidate his congregation . . . the only one with the slightest chance of getting through to Marbury . . . the only one who can possibly get away with telling him something he doesn’t want to hear without having him transforming to the Incredible Sulk.

So far, it has been almost the exact opposite. Sure, Thomas reamed Marbury for being the NBA’s most defensively delinquent guard, but then turned around and blew smoke up his support hose, telling him he was the NBA’s premier point. And wouldn’t you know it, this bilge Marbury bought into. That’s when the Knicks broke into incongruent pieces.

Thomas is the only one available (Knick or otherwise) with an outside shot of putting these humpties back together again.

Unless Thomas has decided to tank the entire season it’s time to relieve Williams of his duties. Time to stop having someone else take the rap for him. Time for Thomas to stop thinking he can hide in the weeds and wait for an idyllic team of Knicks to assign himself to. Time to show us he can coach as well as he thinks.