The Heat Is On Isiah, Knicks
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Just made it down here to check out the New York Knicks. . .I know, why them? They stink. But there isn't anyone in the NBA in a hotter seat than President of Basketball Operations/Coach Isiah Thomas, who admitted today -- as he has often since he was forced to turn around the team -- that he is in a "tough situation." And, he doesn't look the least bit thrilled by the situation. And how could he be? How often do you see a situation where the team's owner publicly tosses someone in the skillet and throws in a pat of butter to see if he will fry?
After the Larry Brown fiasco played out (wait, it's still playing out) with him being fired after a 23-59 stinker of a season, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan told Isiah in late June that he wanted results - "significant improvement" -- or Isiah was out of there, following 2 Â½ seasons in Gotham that have sent the Knicks spiraling into wretchedness on the court and a steadily balooning payroll. The Knicks would be lost in the lowsy abyss with Atlanta, Charlotte and Portland if not for the fact that they have the highest payroll in the league (about $121 million), they are in New York and there seemingly is little hope for the immediate future.
The Knicks players tried to sound upbeat, tried to make it seem as if the redundant roster won't be a problem, tried to make it seem like this will be a big year for them, individually and as a team. But it's hard to make someone believe you when it sounds like you don't believe it yourself. The Knicks will be better this year. I didn't think that roster should've won just 23 games, no matter how many shoot-first point guards and overweight centers were on the roster. They shouldn't have been that bad.
Former Wizard Jared Jeffries decided to join this mess in the offseason, signing a five-year, $30-million deal, and he's already struggling to put the ball in the hole. On the first day of camp Tuesday, Jeffries missed three free throws, including an airball, which forced the team to run three windsprints after practice. Jeffries, looking to endear himself to his new teammates, offered to run the sprints alone but when he lined up to run, his teammates joined him. Thomas is trying to get his team to come together as one. For now, it seems like everybody is buying in. It still might not be enough.
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