In Fear of Isiah


With my head still spinning from some of the latest franchise moves decreed from the desk of James Dolan, there was really only one thing on my mind over the past week: Isiah. Us Knick fans collectively hold our breath anytime one of Dolan’s signature Friday afternoon press releases (one of the oldest PR tricks in the book) slips through the cables and that’s because we really never know what to expect other than to brace ourselves for the worst. And by the worst of course I am referring to that specter known simply as Isiah.

When Steve Mills was inserted as the new GM, it seemed as if the second sentence of almost every report warned of his ties to Isiah Thomas. I can only assume how bizarre this may seem to fans of other teams. After all, normally NBA executives and their personal friendships are of no real concern but here in New York we just can’t seem to escape the perpetual possibility of Dolan bringing back what is quite literally King Midas’ living opposite. But then earlier today the following words came out of Steve Mills’ mouth during a radio interview:

Isiah will not be coming back.

I’m not sure how to feel really. Now that Mills has seemingly confirmed that Isiah’s fourth (or is it fifth, or even sixth?) chance with the Knicks is off the table, I should try and re-read all the articles explaining Mills’s prowess as a pitch man for free agents, Woodson’s extension as a means of continuity, and Allan Houston’s grooming as a future GM with a clear head. I can’t. I know that no “sources” have indicated anything about Isiah coming back, but I’m living with the NBA fan equivalent of post traumatic stress. Isiah’s botches are epic in scale and comedic in nature, the stuff that will go down in textbooks of “What not to do as an executive” in business schools throughout the universe. So with that said, forgive me if I haven’t exhaled yet.

Dolan has turned trolling into his modus operandi and just like any internet troll; I truly believe he gets a nefarious pleasure out of enraging Knick fans. It’s probably part of the reason he gravitates towards noted league misfits and outright brandishes his comfort with them. With Dolan, all logic must be suspended. Who else deems it fit to spend millions on an arena renovation with a lease set to expire in a few years and a City Council salivating to turn 34th street into a modern-day transportation nexus? It’s unfortunate that practically anything or person attached to him usually gets lost in cloud of stink that trails him, but regardless of how unfairly that may be driven by the New York media, it’s just what happens anytime Dolan shakes things up.

Maybe behind the scenes Steve Mills really is more of a personality than dorky Glen Grunwald. In a world where Jay-Z is landing prized clients over the legendary Scott Boras, perhaps there is something to this. Maybe Mike Woodon’s extension has nothing do with his closeness to Isiah and Mills. After all, it is pretty academic to reward a coach who has that high of a winning percentage instead of having an uncomfortable cloud hovering over him all year. And yes, Allan Houston is a class act that would be a rare professional presence in the daily circus held at 2 Penn Plaza. I’ll keeping trying to tell myself this, but unfortunately as long as Dolan is running the Knicks, I just can’t help but live in fear of Isiah.

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