New York Knicks fans may be overjoyed to be freed from Phil Jackson, but these moves would remind them that nothing will change so long as Jim Dolan’s there.
For a while, things were starting to look up for the New York Knicks. The mood around the Big Apple after Phil Jackson left was a celebratory one. Kristaps Porzingis, Carmelo Anthony, and Jeff Hornacek probably all feel like Russell Westbrook in that Jordan commercial. But the offseason is the easiest way for everyone to remember that this is still the Knicks.
This core isn’t making the playoffs any time soon, and even if they make good moves, expectations will be astronomically high. Because they’re in New York, they’re going to be linked to every free agent, but they’ll have to do more than fire Phil Jackson to convince them to come. And as long as James Dolan is still overseeing things, there’s always the opportunity for a meltdown. Here’s how it could happen.
5. Hiring Isiah Thomas
As soon as this report surfaced, everyone knew that the Knicks would never change, especially since this came a day after they were linked to Masai Ujiri. The difference between those two is like a Lamborghini vs. a 1990s Ford dump truck. And after his first stint with the Knicks was an unmitigated disaster, it’s hard to imagine what Dolan even sees in him.
In a way, Thomas is a lot like Phil Jackson. A figure who was revered during his glory years only to have his reputation tarnished by becoming president of the Knicks. Some of his greatest hits included acquiring Eddy Curry for two picks that turned into LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah, a sexual harassment lawsuit, and signing Jerome James and Jared Jeffries. As a head coach, his winning percentage was .341, and they only made the playoffs once during his tenure.
If the Knicks want a culture change, Thomas is the last person they should hire since it’ll practically feel like a repeat of the Phil Jackson years. But pulling the trigger on him would be the first in a string of terrible offseason moves for them.