The Logoman’s deal with Memphis expires in June, and SI.com’s Ian Thomsen, while offering the disclaimer “all I’m doing here is connecting the dots,” seems to think Jerry West will end up running the show at the Garden.
It’s important to point out that Isiah Thomas has four years to go on his new extension, and that Dolan is renowned (or infamous) for showing loyalty to his employees. However, West’s availability is going to increase the pressure on the Knicks’ current management team to turn things around. Yet the inflexibility of their payroll would make it difficult for any GM to show improvement.
It isn’t fair to blame everything in New York on Thomas. It isn’t his fault that the Knicks are dysfunctioning, that they realize so little return on their enormous player investments. What kills the Knicks is their operating model. Ever since Ernie Grunfeld was unjustly fired in 1999 because he traded old Charles Oakley for young Marcus Camby, his successors as Knicks GMs have been under orders to swing recklessly for the fences, to use New York’s surplus of cash to overwhelm the market. It’s a shortsighted, hopeless way of doing business, and any loyal employee who attempts to follow it — whether it’s Scott Layden or Thomas or other potential GMs — is doomed.
West would be one of the few GMs with the charisma to change the way business is done at Madison Square Garden. He could reclaim the agenda. He would create a new business model for a franchise that always talks about winning now — yet can never articulate how it intends to do so.
Since clinching the Northwest Division, the Utah Jazz have dropped 9 of their last 14, and the Salt Lake Tribune’s Michael C. Lewis interrogated John Amaechi’s least favorite coach.
The Jazz have inexplicably blown huge second-half leads in their last two games against the Kings and Sonics, and might have to play the rest of the regular season without injured forward Andrei Kirilenko.
That could have a serious effect on the down-the-stretch defense, considering how easily Seattle’s Rashard Lewis bombarded the Jazz in the fourth quarter of a 106-103 decision on Saturday night. Lewis scored 16 of his game-high 35 points in the final period, the night after Sacramento’s John Salmons similarly worked them over.
“The playoffs are around the corner, and we have to nip this in the bud before they get here,” the Jazz’s Carlos Boozer said.
His point is well-taken, but the problem already seems to have blossomed past the “bud” stage.
Coach Jerry Sloan, for one, said the Jazz have been playing for some time the same way they did during the loss to the Sonics, and that some of the players “got a little upset with me” for emphasizing it even after the few recent victories.
“We were playing exactly like we were” against the Sonics, he said. “Just not really getting a lot of stuff done. And when you go out and try to play that way, you get against teams that get after you and play you, then what do you do? You don’t have much to fall back on. We just haven’t been able to finish games.
“That’s the thing you have to learn,” he added, “because if you’re going to play in the playoffs, there’s going to be situation-basketball that’s coming at you, and you can’t make mistakes.”
Tractor Traylor is facing an extended stay in the stony lonesome for his role in laundering some $4 million for a cousin described by the Detroit News’ Fred Girard as “the largest dope dealer in Michigan history.” “He’s a basketball player, not a lawyer,” argues Traylor’s solicitor, in what might be the lamest defense this side of Robert Chambers’ rough sex plea.