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James Dolan Still Doesn’t Get Why Knicks Fans Don’t Like Isiah Thomas
Usually the only time you see Knicks owner James Dolan open his mouth in public is when he’s “singing” with his “band” (also known as a bunch of dudes he hired to play music with him) JD and the Straight Shot. But the billionaire owner of the Knicks, Rangers and Madison Square Garden did a sit down interview for the first time in seven years with Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post recently, published today.
Most of the interview is carefully constructed fluff and puff, in which Dolan defends his personnel decisions and his belief that the Knicks can win a title this year (*cue laugh track*). But one bit in particular came close to “hard-hitting,” and Dolan’s answer revealed the depths of his obliviousness:
MV: For Knicks fans there’s one word that riles their passion more than any other: Isiah.
JD: Amazing, isn’t it?
MV: Do you still consult him, too, about basketball ideas?
JD: Not really. For Isiah, I don’t know that he’ll ever be able to work in New York. I just don’t know that he’ll ever get a fair shake, going forward in New York?
MV: Do you think that’s unfair? He did lose a lot of games here.
JD: He lost a lot of games! OK. Do I think he deserves another shot? Yeah. It just can’t be here. And I think he’s talented. I think he’s particularly talented at finding basketball talent. But I think he’s probably dismayed at this point. But I don’t see him coming back to New York. I couldn’t do that to him, and I couldn’t do that to the organization. He would probably do it as my friend but I couldn’t do it to him or his family. And you know what the press would do here. We’re interested in getting better and that situation would be such a distraction that it would actually hinder our ability to get better.
It seems Dolan has forgotten the shame Thomas brought to the Knicks organization. A quick recap:
-As head coach, Thomas posted the fifth lowest winning percentage in team history.
-At the end of the 2006 season, the Knicks had the highest payroll in the league and the second-worst record.
-He traded what ended up becoming lottery picks to Chicago for the corpse of Eddy Curry.
-He signed Jerome James to a $30 million contract.
-He’s “particularly talented at finding basketball talent,” but for every David Lee and Trevor Ariza, there’s a Renaldo Balkman (picked above Rajon Rondo, Paul Millsap) and Channing Frye (taken above Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger).
-He instigated a brawl between the Knicks and Nuggets at the Garden by allegedly ordering his players to commit hard fouls.
-He was the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit that MSG settled for $11.5 million.
So besides losing a lot of games, running the team into the ground, sexually harassing Garden employees, making poor draft and other roster choices, encouraging violent behavior and drawing the ire of just about every Knicks fan in the world, James Dolan stll thinks he deserves another shot. At least he won’t bring him back to New York. Or so he says.
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