NEW YORK--According to a high ranking NBA official, Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas is about to do something really stupid in an attempt improve his team before the trading deadline. The official, who asked not to be identified, hinted that a deal could be made as early as Wednesday that would cripple the team financially for years to come.

Thomas himself denied that a deal was imminent but refused to rule it out altogether.

“You hear all kinds of trade talk out there,” said Thomas. “99 percent of it is totally unfounded, so when I hear people say that so and so is going to be traded or that something is imminent, I just have to laugh. Right now nothing is on the table. But that doesn’t mean a deal won’t be made. I’ll stop at nothing to improve this team. Nobody is untouchable—except for Stephon Marbury. That guy’s a real winner. I’m looking forward to building a team around him again.”

Thomas also said that any move he made would be helpful to the team, despite rumors to the contrary.

“Yea, I’ve been hearing all the rumors about me doing something really stupid,” said Thomas. “Needless to say, they are ridiculous. If I make a move at all it will be one that improves our roster and helps us compete for a playoff spot. For example, I might take on a chronically injured 33-year-old center just to give us a little more presence inside, or maybe even get Sam Cassell in a sign and trade and give him a 10-year-deal worth, oh, I don’t know, $100 million. That’s the kind of move I’ve built my career on. That’s the kind of move [old GM] Scott Layden would’ve been afraid to make. That’s why we’re so much better off now that he’s gone.”

One possible scenario being discussed is the acquisition of Jalen Rose from the Toronto Raptors for a first round draft pick. Rose’s contract has become a burden in Toronto , but the Knicks would be willing to take it on if he agrees to sign a multi-year extension.

“The Knicks are looking to trade away youth and acquire aging, mediocre talent that has never succeeded on any level,” said one GM. “If possible, they want to sign this player to a long term deal, one that would really kill their salary cap. Thomas is the kind of guy who wants to make bold moves and take risks. He’s getting ready to shake things up in order to clean up the mess he made during the last shake up.”

Despite Thomas’ denials, Knicks fans are getting anxious. The team may be struggling, but any move Thomas makes could make things worse. Some fans would like to see him stand pat, just to be on the safe side.

“Anytime you hear that Isiah is going to make a move, you get nervous,” said Tim Hafert, 35, a lifelong Knicks fan. “When he gets an itchy trigger finger there’s no telling what he’ll do. Even though they totally blow right now, it would probably be better if he just didn’t do anything. Believe it or not, he can make things worse. This is a guy who thought Lenny Wilkins could still coach in this league. This is a guy who signed Vin Baker. His last team tried to kill him just to get him off the salary cap.”

When Thomas was hired in 2003, fans embraced him with open arms. He was replacing the much-maligned Scott Layden and was expected to be the franchise’s savior. But lately, even Thomas’ biggest supporters have started to question him.

Steven A. Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who repeatedly bashed Layden during his tenure with the Knicks, was forced to admit yesterday that Thomas was just as bad.

“Scott Layden was terrible. Absolutely terrible,” Smith said on ESPN’s NBA Prime Time. “He took a tremendous team and drove them into the ground and you can’t do that in New York . Unfortunately, Isiah Thomas isn’t any better. I supported him when he was hired in 2003 for two reasons. Number one, he was replacing that idiot Layden. Number two, he’s black. I had no idea it was going to be such a disaster. Usually black guys are fired long before they can do this much damage.”

With the trading deadline near, Thomas is still holding his cards close to his vest and refuses to dignify any of the recent trade rumors.

“If and when there’s news, you guys will be the first to know,” Thomas told reporters. “Of course I’m talking to some teams, but everybody talks this time of year. If I come across something that will make the New York Knicks more successful, I will pull the trigger. If not, I will stand pat. Either way, I’m probably going to be fired by the end of the year.”

Report: Isiah Thomas About To Do Something Really Stupid
February 22th , 2005- Volume 1 Issue 88