January 2, 2008

Thomas, Dolan, Chain of Fools

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Usually I write about politics and current affairs, because not only are these subjects interesting to me, but studying them is essential to understanding how society functions. However, this being my last blog entry before 2008, I would like to comment on a subject that outrages me more than any political event possibly can. As of this writing, the New York Knicks are 8-18 and Isaiah Thomas is still the team’s coach and GM. If you live in New York, as I do, you have undoubtedly heard about the terrible job both Thomas and Knicks’ owner James Dolan have done. If you live outside of New York, then you probably make fun of Knicks fans. Either way, the once great New York Knickerbockers are now an embarrassment to the NBA and New York sports.
It has become a common occurrence to go to a Knicks game and hear fans clamor for Thomas’ removal, as “Fire Isaiah” chants fill the air. Although removing Thomas from the team can only help, much more needs to be done. The Knicks have experimented with four different head coaches over the last seven years. During this time, Isaiah Thomas has brought in players who simply will not be part of a winning formula. The selfishness of Stephon Marbury and Zach Randolph, combined with the inconsistency of center Eddy Curry, will never lead to success. Furthermore, the Knicks decided to sign Jerome James to a five-year, $30 million contract, possibly one of the worst contracts in sports history. James has contributed nothing to the team and has yet to play in a single game this season. But then again, if I were paid $30 million over five years to travel around the country, I would have a hard time turning that offer down.
Nearly the entire world is in agreement that the Knicks are simply awful. The question is what should be done. Allowing Thomas to continue being with the Knicks is simply unacceptable. Dolan needs to realize that the franchise is a joke, and he is a joke as well. If the current situation continues, MSG may begin to lose revenue and see season ticket sales decline. I fear that the only thing that will encourage Dolan to act is if his wallet becomes thinner. What is needed is a complete overhaul. First and foremost, there needs to be a head coach who is accountable and tough. Many of the Knicks players, with the exceptions of David Lee, Ronaldo Balkman, and Jamal Crawford, are over paid and coddled. What the Knicks needs is a Bill Parcells of the NBA. Although coach Jerry Sloan is not on the market, he is the type of man the Knicks need at the helm. He is smart, responsible, and most importantly he is hard-nosed. Once the Knicks get this type of coach, they can then turn their attention to the front office and get rid of their huge contracts. Unfortunately, reform rests on the shoulders of incompetent owner James Dolan.
Some might say that all the Knicks need is what the Celtics got in the off-season, a couple of superstar players who may be able to turn the franchise around. I reject this notion, because many of the current Knicks players would never be able to effectively participate in a team setting. Most of the Knicks “stars,” as I previously said, are selfish and uncooperative. Furthermore, Thomas and MSG had to settle a sexual harassment case to the tune of $11.6 million in punitive damages. This incident alone is indicative of the ruinous culture that is the New York Knicks. It is time for the Knicks to stop hoping, and start acting.

Lee Blum is a Sun blogger. He can be reached at blogs@cornellsun.com.