Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

Could it possibly be true?

Could the New York Knicks finally be seeing an oh-so-faint pinprick of light at the bottom of the chasm into which they have fallen, a hole so deep that the sun looks like just another star?

Over the last seven years, I remember the papers in New York proclaiming that the Knickerbockers’ woes were over each time someone new came into the picture—Isiah Thomas, Stephon Marbury, Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown. Things have only gotten worse. I was totally against bringing Marbury to New York, and that proved to be a bad decision, especially since Marbury had such a huge contract and the Knicks gave up expiring contracts to get him. But Thomas, Wilkens, and Brown are all Hall-of Famers. Why should Donnie Walsh, lately from the Indiana Pacers, be able to do any better, especially if, as rumors have it, he has decided to keep Isiah on as coach?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The New York Daily News today is reporting that Walsh has a handshake agreement to become team president, and that he will bring in a new general manager. There is speculation that he will retain Zeke as coach due to an order from owner James Dolan, but suggestions for both a new GM (Mark Warkentien, Billy King) and a new coach (Mark Jackson, Scott Skiles, Tom Thibodeau) appear. Newsday reports that Kiki Vandeweghe is also in the mix for GM and that Herb Williams could be considered as coach, leaving the door open for Patrick Ewing to become a Knicks assistant under Williams.

I would be all for seeing Mark Jackson get his first head coaching job from the Knicks. I think Jackson was tough as nails as a player and has a never-back-down attitude that the Knicks could really use. Thibodeau spent many years as a Knicks assistant, and since he’s learned a few tricks under Jeff Van Gundy, I think he’d be fine, too. And I think if Williams is given full head-coach responsibilities, he’ll be a good choice, too. Not so sure about Skiles, but anything has to be better than the past seven years of misery at Madison Square Garden. There are NCAA teams that could beat the pathetic squad of losers the Knicks organization has the nerve to put on the floor every night.

If the Knicks keep Isiah in any capacity, their credibility is shot. It shows that Dolan still has his fingers in the pie, rather than that Walsh has the autonomy to make decisions as he sees fit. Since Dolan’s decision-making has been—um, questionable, at best, the fans have grown so disgusted that they really need to see that Dolan has moved into the background and is satisfied to stay there.

In addition, what do the failures of Marbury, Wilkens, Brown, and Thomas all have in common? The answer: Dolan and Thomas. Since we (sadly) know by now that Dolan will remain the owner for the foreseeable future, the only way to sever ties with all the failures of the past as much as possible is to let the ax fall on Isiah. Don’t cry for him, New York! Since Isiah knows he’ll never get another NBA job, he’s milked this one for all it’s worth, and after running a league flagship franchise into the ground competitively, I’m sure he’ll be able to live off the interest his money makes while the fans watch this phoenix struggle to rise from the ashes before someone pours water on it and puts the fire out.

Of course, this is all hearsay at the moment, as the team has announced nothing, and for now Walsh is still employed by the Pacers until the end of the year. The Knicks could be on their way to losing 60 games for the first time in their history. If that doesn’t speak to the need for change on this team, what other proof does Dolan need?

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