Monday, December 10, 2007

What does a man have to do to get fired these days?

The New York Knicks are 6-13 this season. They dropped two in a row to the now 7-13 Sixers. They finished last season at 33-49. The years before? 23-59, 33-49, and they slid into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference 4 years ago with a 39-43 record, Isiah Thomas’ first season in charge. In June of 2006 Thomas placed himself behind the bench and team owner said that Thomas needed to show “evident progress” or he’d be out of a job. In December of 2006 the former bad sport, leader of the Pistons Bad Boys who walked off the floor pouting after being swept by Da Bulls in the 1991 Playoffs, watched his team start a vicious brawl with the Denver Nuggets after allegedly being told by Thomas to commit hard fouls. Apparently in March of last year that fight and alleged involvement, coupled with the 33-49 record, was enough progress to garner a multi-year extension. The Knicks did not make the playoffs. Thomas throughout the years, despite being consistently among the worst records in the league, have continued to acquire high (over) paid players like Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis and continue to be amongst the highest payrolls in the league.

Look at Zeke’s track record. He was accused of giving tickets to NCAA players to Raptors games when he was in Toronto. He bought the CBA in 1998 and it folded in 2000, amongst outcry by former team officials in that league stating he was single-handedly responsible for the failure of the league, he refused to pay them their last paycheck. He took the Indiana Pacers who had been in the NBA Finals the year prior to him taking over to back to back first round losses in the ‘00-’01 and ’01-’02 seasons. In his third year there he led the Pacers to the #3 seed and with a lot of talent including Al Harrington and Reggie Miller, they were bounced in the first round again to the Celtics. Then he landed in an even higher-profile job and immediately traded away handfuls of draft picks for no equal value and signed Jerome James (who?) to a 5 year $30 Mill contract. If you look him up on that smile is simply because he knows he got over on everyone, specifically Zeke. His numbers since joining the Knickerbockers: 85 Games, 20 Starts, 675 Minutes. .1 Steals/Game, .4 Blocks/Game, .9 Turnovers/Game, 1.6 Boards/Game, .2 Assists/Game, and 2.5 Points/Game in an astounding 8 Minutes/Game. You’d be smiling too if you worked just over 11 hours in 2 years and had made $10 Mill+. Good Free Agent pick-up Isiah. Oh and most recently he was involved in and found guilty in a Sexual-Harassment Lawsuit, costing James Dolan and MSG 11.6 Millions Dollars.

So what does Dolan have to say about Zeke’s job after the back to back losses to the Sixers, the worst loss in recent NBA history (45 points to the Celtics), and crowd chants of “Fire Isiah”? Recent reports from the New York Times have Madison Square Garden officials saying that, “Jim is behind Isiah”. After hearing this Zeke let us in on this little gem, “I think we understand where we are and what we're trying to accomplish. And again, for us it's really about just trying to keep everything in perspective in terms of where we are in the league, where we're trying to go in the league.” It appears that where you’re trying to go is into the depths of the NBA, which is fine with me, but just as a common sense question, what the hell pictures/e-mails/text messages does Isiah have of Dolan doing? Blackmail is the only feasible explanation as to why Zeke still has a job. Of course if he does get fired I’m sure there is another team looking for an easy excuse for failure. His entire playing career was marred by controversies (1985 All-Star game, 1991 Easter Conference playoffs, 1992 Dream Team snub and ensuing feud between himself and John Stockton and Karl Malone, and his umpteen year feud with Michael Jordan) why would people honestly think that this would change once he got into the front offices and behind the bench.