Isiah’s Comments a Relief

It’s 5:30am, and I can’t sleep a wink.

According to the New York Post, Isiah Thomas has stated that he won’t make any trades this year as the deadline approaches. Although the Knick season has been a debacle this year, Thomas’ words come across as a belated Christmas gift to the team’s fans.

Thomas’ first trade as the Knick president was to acquire Stephon Marbury in a trade with the Phoenix Suns. At the time New York was a floundering franchise. Coming off a near championship run, the Knicks were overloaded with awful contracts given to Allan Houston, Howard Eisley, and Shandon Anderson among others. In the Suns deal, Isiah picked up not one but two outrageously bad contracts, Stephon Marbury’s and Anfernee Hardaway’s. Instead of attempting to reduce the Knicks salary cap woes, Thomas added to it.

And as Thomas’ tenure in New York progressed, he continued in that manner. He acquired highly paid players like Marbury, Hardaway, Jalen Rose, Steve Francis, and Zach Randolph. And he overpaid for mediocre players like Eddy Curry, Jared Jeffries, Jerome James, Jamal Crawford, Malik Rose, Jerome Williams, and Quentin Richardson. In essence what Isiah Thomas has done is collect a team of untouchables; players that other teams wouldn’t trade for due to the salary cap implications. No one could afford an aging (among other things) Stephon Marbury for $20M. Zach Randolph is owed at least $60M over the next 4 years. Eddy Curry has a player option for $10M in 2009, one he’ll certainly take given that no other team would pay him that much. The Knicks would have to offer incentive for another team to take Quentin Richardson, Jamal Crawford, Jerome James, or Jared Jeffries off their hands.

Much like the team he assembled, Thomas is over matched when competing against the rest of the league. The proof can be seen in Isiah’s trading partners. Phoenix nearly became overnight winners after Thomas freed them of Marbury and Hardaway. Orlando is now an Eastern powerhouse since Steve Francis left. Chicago had success once Isiah took Crawford and Curry off their hands. Toronto is up and coming since Jalen Rose was shipped south. And the newest member of the “Thank You Isiah” club is Portland. The Trailblazers could improve by 10 wins without Zach Randolph.

While Isiah has crushed any optimism for the 2008 season, the only positive thing New Yorkers have at this moment is that their younger players can turn into solid pros. The Knicks only hope is that David Lee, Renaldo Balkman, Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler, and Randolph Morris will turn into solid pros. But that hope is meaningless if Isiah chooses to trade one of these players, something he has done in the past. Thomas sent 20 year old Trevor Ariza to Orlando in the Steve Francis deal, and he shipped Channing Frye to Portland after just his second NBA season. Ironically both players are doing well this year for a pittance.

So Isiah’s statement “I don’t see us being active at the trade deadline” is a big relief to Knick fans. This season has been a comedy of errors for the Knicks, and if Thomas’ words ring true, there is one less thing to keep Knick fans up at night.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

42 thoughts to “Isiah’s Comments a Relief”

  1. I may be the biggest Zeke hater on this board, but even I was stunned we lost last night at home to a depleted Sacramento club. Astounding.

    Now Zeke seems to be trying to take credit for the future, talking about how he is laying a blue print… He should just shut the **** up and try to win some games….OR…

    …play Balkman, Nate, Lee with Randolph and Marbury for major minutes together and see what happens.

  2. My brother-in-law posted this on another Board…thought it worth posting here, especially about the paid claques in the stands now:

    Posted by Willis | January 3, 2008 09:51

    Bulls before Bull-bleep, very nice.

    So I’m in the Garden last night, surrounded by nice tourists in town for the holidays and checking off a night at MSG from their life lists, feeling a little bad about “expressing” myself. My buddy who go the tickets for Continental Mileage points (the parallels betweeen Bush’s America and Dolan’s Knicks continue to smite me between the eyes; devalued dollar, devalued Knicks “currrency” of Continental Mileage points as they drop the number you need for tickets) points out that he heard there are clacques in the Garden now. Sure enough, there’s a whole section in the 300’s up against the wall that have thundersticks andd foamy fingers who are cheering every now and then. In addition, when they throw the t-shirts out, there’s some fat bastard in clown makeup, rainbow wig and Starbury jersey, walking the concourse, tossing t-shirts. When the shirts are gone he returns to the paid crowd and appears on the scoreboard with the rest off the “ravenous fans”. Truly inspired. I guess whoever replaced Brown Sanders is working overtime.

    We actually ended up sitting between two families who had kids in the talent contest. Best part of the night. My buddy promised thet Dad of one of the kids he’d cheer for her, and was offered a beer in return. We did cheer for the girl, she won, (we cheered for all of them really, the chinese kid on the piano was awesome and was sitting right in front of us) and wouldn’t you know, Dad came all the way back after halftime with the beer. Good man. The British group behind us were very understanding, and we filled them in on who it was that Sucked and who it was that need to be Fired, and why we kept reminding everyone of these facts at the top of our lungs. They accepted our apologies for the horror they endured, and learned that people used to play basketball in that place, that it used to be a place that other teams feared to tread.

    As far as the game, the bizarre substitution patterns grow even more random, Lee seems to have completely given up and seemingly is now in Zeke’s bad books, Q can’t drag himself up the court anymore – indifference, sorrow, unhealed back? And most wonderous off all, Crawford can do no wrong. Everybody else was geting yo-yo’ed in and out of the game, Crawford looked like he’d just got a bad report card and hadn’t showed his parents yet, turned the ball over, got burned on D, constantly, and didn’t attempt a shot or even drive the ball past the three point line until the 3rd quarter, and never missed a minute. Huh? Is it personal now? Do guys like Lee, who want to win and take all this BS personally, don’t buy in to the party line, get frozen out, and the guys who make happy talk and show up to continue the farce, get PT?

    Honestly, it looked like some sort of wildcat labor action last night. A slowdown. Imagine if other guys in the players union would honor the Knicks player’s work stoppage? Show up at the Garden, mope around for 48 minutes, Knicks will give you the win, and help keep the pressure on the boss. And of course, another barely-there player continues the tradition of having a career night at the Garden. John Salmons, we salute you in your efforts to purge our House of the malign presence that has lodged there. Your efforts too, will be in vain.

  3. Last night John Salmons scored a career high 32 points, raising his career PPG to 6.7.
    This team would benefit from trading for future draft picks, even if they have to part with the young players IMHO.
    The 1984 Bulls were a bad team with good young talent, none of whom received a championship ring. I don’t expect any of these Knicks to be around when they compete for a championship, should they hire someone who actually builds for the future.

  4. The title should read: Isaiah as comic relief.

    Isaiah’s Knicks tenure is similar to M.L. Carr’s tenure with the Celtics.

    Excerpt from Wikipedia:

    “Carr became the General Manager of the Celtics in 1994. He later took over as coach for the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons. In his last year as coach, the Celtics had the worst record in team history, winning just 15 games, and losing 67. Carr was replaced as coach at the end of season by Rick Pitino.”

    Like Carr, Thomas held an executive position for 2+ years before becoming coach of the Knicks. Thomas is on pace to lead this team to its worst record of all time, much like M.L. Carr did. Thomas will be (should be) fired at the end of the season. We will hire a hotshot coach from the college ranks who will hold press conferences and remind us that:

    “Patrick Ewing is not coming through that door. Willis Reed is not coming through that door. Walt Frazier is not coming through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they’re going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting, hard working, and we’re going to improve. People don’t realize that, and as soon as they realize those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us because there are young guys in that (locker) room playing their asses off. I wish we had $90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can’t; the only thing we can do is work hard, and all the negativity that’s in this town sucks. I’ve been around when Phil Simms was booed. I’ve been around when Derek Jeter was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy. The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive like we are in that locker room… and if you think I’m going to succumb to negativity, you’re wrong. You’ve got the wrong guy leading this team.”

    I cannot wait to see how bad this train wreck is going to get.

  5. I am knick fan for long time james dolan need to sale the team to a person like george steinberner he love to win i remenber when he told billy martin i got the penant i want the ring this is all about .

  6. Thomas has got to have Michael Beasley in mind with all this losing. He doesnt seem to care. He seems to talk to us like we are idiots. How can you say you are going to bring a championship here with no franchise player. Its absolutely makes no sense. I just can figure it out. It would be a media splash if the Knicks did draft 1st overall and if it does turn out to be Beasley he would be hailed as the savior of the franshcise and maybe Isaish can make some moves around the kids to get things back in order. Maybe thats his long term plan. If we dont draft that high maybe he will look for a defensive big man who can also score. Im being optimistic here. Im just trying to figure out this guys reasoning. What in the world is wrong with Dolan? This is not good business. The value of your investment is plummetting. Do something!!!! Yeah,ill keep dreaming. Michael Beasley here we come.

  7. Maybe thats his long term plan. If we dont draft that high maybe he will look for a defensive big man who can also score. Im being optimistic here. Im just trying to figure out this guys reasoning.

    Here’s Isiah’s “long-term plan”:

    1. Acquire every horrible contract and selfish, low-percentage, no-defense-playing guy you can get your hands on

    2. ???????

    3. Championship!

  8. lol JK47!

    Or maybe step 1 is: Collect intern underpants

    While it is theoretically good that IT says “no trades,” color me skeptical. I mean, he states something after every game that he promptly contradicts a game later. Next it will be, “I said no trades before the deadline but that was before we got the opportunity to bring back Penny Hardaway to the place he was so successful before. In a scenario like that, you just have to give up David Lee to get Penny.”

  9. I don’t know what everyone is bitching about. The Bricks are going to win a championship on Isiah’s watch and he’s creating a culture that we leave a lasting legacy for this organization.

    Bet he thought that was a gimme line just before a game he thought his team would win, what with three-fifths of their starting roster out…


  10. Not sure if this is possible or worth doing, but what if the Knicks trade down their pick. It appears to be a strong class. Plus the Knicks, in my estimation, need a PG, SG, C. I like Augustine of Texas. He isn’t expected to be a top 5 pick. Then with the other pick, draft a roll playing, center. It is evident the Knicks need a pass first PG and a body who can block a shot.

  11. And isn’t it sad when we are already looking foward to next year. I’m in a constant state of disappointment

  12. “Isiah Thomas has stated that he won’t make any trades this year as the deadline approaches.”

    The only reason he said this is so that when he doesn’t make a trade he can say “I told you I wouldn’t” and not the truth: “No one wants any of the players I brought here”.

  13. If my senile grandmother who cannot see nor hear much anymore was coaching this team, she would be 8 games worse than isiah at worst. You can literally just put anyone in there. As a contest for the rest of the season, they should have a fan contest where u get to coach the knicks for a game…if you win 1, u stay on, win 2, u get a 10 day cnotract, win 3 in a row and you get 4 years/$81 million and a $15 million signing bonus.

  14. “I don’t see us being active around the trade deadline. This is the time when you’re down and you can make mistakes that can cost you years. And everything that you’ve worked for the last three, four years that can set you back another three years. We’ve got a young group, we’ve got good players, and we’ve got good talent. We’ve just got to get them to play together.”

    (dramatic pause before laughter)

  15. Mike, if you really want to make some money with this blog, you could just gather all Zeke’s greatest quotes, put them in a time-line, make a little book out of it and sell that thing…hawk them in front of MSG, just across the street (not on Dolan property…).

    The NY Post should do it instead of Page Size magazines…they’d move thousands of copies with all the Zeke-haters out there..

  16. If the Knicks end up with a top three pick in the 2008 draft, I dont think they should trade down. The projected top three players could all really help this team. Beasely, Rose, and Jordan each bring something the Knicks need.

    Do you people think the Knicks have any way to secure a second top 10 lottery pick?

  17. OK…Knicks are bad. Here’s what Dolan really should do:

    Keep Isiah. Because the storied franchise lose so bad, he will never be hired again. the public humility is Dolan’s revenge from the harrassment suit.

    At the end of the year, you fire him and bring in a Colangelo or another Stern reccommendation for running the largest media market in the NBA.

    He finds a way to buy out at least the following player contracts: James, Q Rich.

    Find a way to get rid of Curry, Crawford, Marbury and Randolf for as much as they can…figure the reality is getting nothing but expiring contracts.

    Start committing to the Lee’s, Robinson’s, Balkmans, Chandler’s and Morris’ not matter what, you gotta try them out.

    Use the high draft slot for an impact guy (Beasley, Jordan or whoever).

    It’ll cost money but you will want to clear out as much salary just in time for the Kobe’s or LeBrons when they can be had.

    It is a pipe dream but we have to buy into the kids and suffer until at least 2010-2011 season.

  18. By the way, did y’all see that great trade Philly made?

    Korver for Giriceck and a draft pick?

    That was amazing.

    I get that Korver has more useful skills than the Knick players, but damn, if Korver can be dumped, so should some of the Knicks!!

  19. wow i thought kobe was the worst gm in the league shipped out shaq for 60 cents on the dollar, nearly drove away phil jackson for good, traded away caron butler for kwame brown (no trade is done without it going through kobe), broke up a dynasty, ruined he’s laker legacy with the rape trial. but isiah out did him with his own crazy trial so congrats isiah your the biggest douche bag in the nba.

  20. retropkid Said:
    January 3rd, 2008 at 6:44 pm
    Mike, if you really want to make some money with this blog, you could just gather all Zeke’s greatest quotes, put them in a time-line, make a little book out of it and sell that thing…hawk them in front of MSG, just across the street (not on Dolan property…).

    The NY Post should do it instead of Page Size magazines…they’d move thousands of copies with all the Zeke-haters out there..

    Better yet, put all the flat out contradictions together.

  21. Dolan has to realize that to improve the team trades have to be made because a lot on the players on the team have value. Other GM’s just don’t want to deal with Isiah. They don’t like him. We are stuck with Marbury, Zach, Q, Jeffries and James. Crawford has much value any player that can score 52pts in a game has value. So does Curry to a team devoid of a low post presence.

    Everyone is wanting Balkman to play but the truth of the matter is he is just not very skilled. You can always find a hustle player in the league. We need fundamentally sound and skilled players. Time to blow this thing up which Isiah should have done in the beginning instead of trading for unproven players and paying them ridiculous money.

  22. “wow i thought kobe was the worst gm in the league shipped out shaq for 60 cents on the dollar, nearly drove away phil jackson for good, traded away caron butler for kwame brown (no trade is done without it going through kobe), broke up a dynasty, ruined he’s laker legacy with the rape trial.”

    off topic, but in case you hadn’t noticed, the Lakers have now put enough talented youth around Kobe to be an outside title contender, while Shaq is killing Miami, on the court and with his hugely bloated contract, they have an even worse record than NY. try to keep up.

  23. Jon – OT: at least Miami got a championship out of Shaq. The Lakers (and Knicks) have nothing.

    The Knicks are a disgrace to the game of basketball. The only individual in sports less deserving of their prolonged position managing a professional franchise than Thomas is Matt Millen with the Lions. That should say it all.

    Right now the only player worth keeping is David Lee and why would he even stay when the time comes?

    Everyone talks of getting all these players to NY when their contracts expire down the line- LeBron James blah blah – if that’s the case better get started now.

    Which will never happen unless Dolan sells tomorrow.

  24. Should the Knicks fail to get Lebron in free agency in 2010 it will be the biggest failure of a front office in pro sports EVER. Everything we do should be geared toward getting Bron but we must start now. If he goes with his buddy Jay-Z in Brooklyn, the Knicks will lose a generation fans. Not just alienate, lose. Every basketball crazy kid from age 2-16 will become a Nets fan.

  25. Hell, I’m way over 16 and if LeBron ends up on the Nets, I will sing Jay-Z tunes and be rocking up Atlantic Avenue with the 2 year olds….I grew up on LI and rooted for the Nets AND the Knicks back in the days of Dr. J and Mister K (Larry Kenon, for you young’ins…). Don’t care much about Nets now, but could be seduced….

    Knicks may deserve to lose their fan base as long as Dolan is the owner.

    Latest sports fantasy: Bloomberg buys Knicks. If he does, he’s got my vote for President!

  26. Here are two possible aids:

    1. Trade Randolph for Kenyon Martin. Martin’s injury situation means that the Nuggets would probably like this deal. Maybe. They’d love a Camby-Randolph frontcourt. Martin if healthy would be a good complement to Curry (assuming Curry plays like last year in Randolph’s absence). And I’d rather have the frustration of an oft injured player far more than an oft ball-hog loser player. If Martin is injured then Lee plays. Win-win I reckon.

    2. Curry for Dampier. Dampier is much worse than Curry but at least he defends and rebounds. Dallas can give more minutes to Diop when they want to go for more defense.

    I don’t think either of these trades are terribly good, but the salaries match, and they recognise the terrible contracts of the current Knicks. I’d just rather a Curry-Martin or Dampier-Randolph frontcourt than the current misaligned pairing.

    Food for discussions anyway….

  27. I would go for the Kenyon Martin – in a heart beat- the Dampier – no waay.

    BTW – made a misatke – Isiah DID give up two draft picks to Phoenix and not get them—- my apologies. So that makes Marbury a pretty damn good bust. Thats all on Isiah- no doubt.

  28. Dampier over Curry is probably an improvement right now even with Damp over the hill… but his contract is even longer, so forget that one.

    Same with Kenyon… assuming his leg holds up (which is a pretty farfetched assumption) it might be an even talent swap, but power forward is the one position where we’re pretty much set (maybe SF, but that’s still an unknown with Balk & Chandler). If we trade Zach for anyone it should be with a shorter contract – or a high-level PG, somehow, which no one is likely to give us.

  29. Well they are talking about breaking up the Milwaukee team – so trade Marbury with his expiring contract and Randolph for Redd and Mo Williams. Now your set- good PG, great shooter- lord knows the knicks need one, PF is set with Lee, Blakman/Chandler/Crawford at small forward and Curry in the Center. Robinson, Jeffries , Crawford , Richrdson off the bench.

    A well balanced team-

  30. No way is Dampier an improvement over Curry at all. Dampier inhis dreams will NEVER score 20 points on Tim Duncan- and both are defensive liabilites with the reboundig edge very slightly going to Damp.

    Martin – would be a diamond in the ruff- if he turns out to be the next McDyess and actually recovers – he gives the Knicks a feared shot blocker and enforcer type.

    They love to score – a randolph trade is not out of the question and the depth at pf with Lee would be great moving Jeffries to SF for defense – giving you both Blakman and Jeffrried as defensive guys. It took Bowan years to learn to shot the three- like 5 years!! But this trade suddenly makes NY a great defensive team. Marti definitely moves up and down the court waay better than Randolph and can block shots.
    Contract would prolly be the same – and if you put Lee and Martin in at the same time look out.

  31. Kenyon is probably washed up and he never could rebound even when he was healthy… but ya never know.

    Dampier used to be a good defender, though I haven’t seen him play this year. And his lifetime rebound rate is almost 50 percent higher than Curry, the worst rebounding center in the league. Damp led the league in offense rebounding (rate) two years ago.

    Just took a quick look at the stats page… his TS% this year is 68 percent! No rebounding dropoff, either. He’d obviously be an upgrade over Curry, for the next couple of years at least. No, he’s not a big scorer but the Knicks have plenty of guys who play with the ball.

    I also noticed that he’s only signed through 2011, same as Curry — I thought it was longer.

    So, I take back what I said – it’d be a pretty good trade for us, although no show-stopper.

  32. “If we trade Zach for anyone it should be with a shorter contract”

    Normally I’d agree with this statement, but for as much as I hate the prospect of adding bigger, longer contracts (like Martin’s), I hate the prospect of having Randolph on the Knicks for four years. I’d trade Randolph for anybody. All 18 pts., 10 rebs.

    Anybody at all.

  33. I would take Dampier for Curry in a hot second, Dampier would solve some problems for us, both the logjam in the frontcourt and our defensive deficiencies.

    I hate Randolph, the stuff I am hearing about his bad attitude really pisses me off, but Curry really is not playing well, a great spurs game notwithstanding…

    If you were in the Dallas Mavericks, would you exchange Dampier for Curry? I really doubt it. When you have highly efficient scorers who are complete players like Nowitzki, Terry, and Howard, what do you need Curry for. That’s a big downgrade…

    Their platoon of Diop/Dampier gives them very solid production…

  34. “If you were in the Dallas Mavericks, would you exchange Dampier for Curry? I really doubt it. ”

    probably not, but watching the tape of Curry vs. Duncan the other night might make them consider it a little more strongly at least.

  35. Current Knicks excluded, who would you say has the absolute worst, most unmoveable contract in the league. Because of Kenyon Martin’s injury history he’s an obvious choice. Is there a consensus though?

    Also, is there an advanced stat site that measures stats per $? Like, who for $60 million over the next four years is statistically most/least worth it: Kenyon Martin, Peja Stojakovic, Andrei Kirolenko (sp?), Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, etc…

    Just wondering

  36. There is a WARP for basketball that someone over at APBR has created, but I don’t know where exactly to find it….

    Post there and someone will help you out with it…

  37. Z – I am with you I would trade Zach for anybody at all. I would prefer to upgrade our SF or SG position but if I could not I would trade him for anyone; Darius Miles, Kenyon Martin, Antoine Walker, I just want him gone.

    As for Curry I have a certain affinity for him but I would not mind getting rid of him if we got something back. Lee is our PF of the future (I hope at least) so we need a center that can score 15+ points a game because a team should really get 25+ points a game from their starting PF/C combo or they become a jump shooting team which is streaky and unreliable especially in the playoffs.

    So for now I would keep Curry until we find a more desirable center to pair with Lee but right now, as long as we get rid of Randolph I would keep Curry and try to actually put some jump shooters around him to prevent the triple teams.

    I think Curry’s woes are actually a combination of Randolph’s arrival and Richardson’s demise. On offense Randolph stagnates ball movement and crowds Curry in the lane and Richardson’s horrendous shooting allows teams to easily double off of him without being punished. The combination has resulted in Curry shooting a career low in efg% and ts%. (still better than Randolph’s career high by the way)

    If we can move Randolph for a starter at SF, (that can shoot the three) Curry will instantly come out of his slump and be even better than last year, since his turnovers are down.

  38. I must admit–I’ve always liked the Knicks. Maybe it’s the legendary players, or just the excitement of the Ewing/Starks/Oakley era. But, mostly, these days, it’s because I’m from Portland, aka Rip City–the Rose City, hence my nickname Thorn–and I can’t help but hit my knees and clasp my hands in gratitude to Isaiah for taking Zach Randolph away…

    But, for the sake of all you true blue Knicks fans, I wish my current reason to like the your team was different…

    After Portland’s glory days, it was multiple depressing years of quagmire and losses with players that plague team chemistry, that nearly destroyed our fanbase and franchise. Zach is a prime example. I moaned season after season, that all we needed was to lose the “losers” and just pick up some hard-working no-names so we could at least cheer with pride for their effort, win or lose.

    I’m proud to say that the Blazers are going to win a lot more than 10 games thanks to the absence of Zach and other players with a me-me-me-not-you influence.

    But, more importantly, I just want Knicks fans to know, we in Portland know how you feel–but, at least you have a strong and historic team, with fans whose devotion and emotion will eventually right the wrong direction your team has taken. Here’s to the Knicks next rise rise to the top…Cheers from Rip City.

  39. everyone loves to hate the knicks. everything isiah is doing is correct. he is laying a blue print. nate is a great player. isiah will get rid of steph…the future lineup will b Nate, Jamal, Balkman, Lee, Curry…with Randolph Morris and Jared Jeffries leading the way off the bench..steph, quentin, zach randolph, malik will all be gone…have faith, and patience

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