Friday, April 18, 2008

Why, Donnie, Why?

When I first heard the news that Donnie Walsh had been hired to revive the Knicks, my initial reaction was, "Okay, it's an improvement, but so what?" But then I looked at his record -- in the draft, in free agency, on the court -- and decided that if anyone could imagine a way to fix the Knicks, perhaps it could be Donnie Walsh. But I couldn't escape the constant chatter that even though Walsh would overhaul the team, he hadn't quite made up his mind what to do with Isiah Thomas:

“He is a great basketball mind, and I’m not going to judge anything from afar,” Walsh said. “I’ve told him that we’re going to sit down and talk in the coming days, and then we’ll go from there.”

Okay, so you want to turn around the Knicks but you're not sure if doing away with the most reviled figure in the history of the franchise is the first step to take. Way to alienate the fan base on Day 1, Donnie. But maybe he's just trying to spare his old buddy Isiah a little more humiliation? (Though it's not like Isiah hasn't earned 100% of any further humiliation.)

But now the Knicks' season has ended (officially, according to the schedule; the actual Knicks' season ended shortly before Thanksgiving), it's time for Walsh to start working his magic. So what's he do? Fire Thomas as head coach but retain him as some sort-of "My Man Friday", super-secret advisor:

“I value Isiah’s knowledge of the game and his opinion,” said Walsh in a conference call Friday afternoon.

Really? Isiah has knowledge of the game? Then why didn't Isiah use any of that knowledge when he was in charge of the Knicks? How can they allow Isiah Thomas to remain anywhere near the Garden? They ought to file a restraining order.

Besides, if Donnie Walsh is so smart, what, exactly, is the mastermind of the disaster that is the current New York Knicks going to tell him? How to hit on staff members? (And even that Isiah couldn't do without screwing it up.) If Walsh values Isiah's opinion so much, give him a call every now and then. Maybe he'll tell you something of value. Or not. But at least he won't be walking around the building that really, really needs a clean break from the Thomas Era.

Maybe the public outcry will convince Walsh to change his mind. (I can't be the only one that finds this ludicrous.) C'mon, Donnie -- show New York some love.

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