Saturday, April 19, 2008

"This House Is Clean"

Isiah Thomas Is Removed As Knicks Coach

A poltergeist has been exercised from the World's Most Famous Arena. Isiah Thomas will no longer be haunting the sidelines at the Garden. He will no longer be allowed to move around the furniture (or the personnel) while everyone is soundly asleep.

Donnie Walsh made the inevitable announcement late yesterday afternoon that Isiah would not return as coach next season. Everyone knew it just had to be coming. I mean, just look at the last year of his terrible tenure. But we all wanted it so bad that we were afraid that it wouldn't happen. We were so beaten down by the past seven seasons, by everything that has happened from the day that Patrick was traded to Seattle right through the way that Mike Dunleavy carved us up for 36 points for the third time this season. Non-Knicks fans would tease about the possibility that lil' Jimmy Dolan would somehow get Isiah a stay of execution for one more season. When Kiki Vandeweghe was rumored for the gig that Walsh ended up taking the papers reported that Isiah's staying on was a condition of the tentative deal. But Kiki wasn't an Academic All-American at UCLA by accident and he walked away.

And, clearly there was no way that the ol' pro from the Bronx was going to sign on to start with one hand tied behind his back. Walsh knows this city enough to know that if he took the helm of the S.S.Knickerbocker and didn't fire Isiah immediately that we would leave port next season with a breach already in the hull. He'd be taking on water and losing fan support from day one if he didn't make that move. He knew that by firing Isiah he would gain the goodwill of the citizenry and that he would be given a free pass for early struggles because those struggles would be growing pains rather than death throes.

Growing pains and death throes. That will be the difference between next season and last season. Because Isiah Thomas is gone (at least from sight if not from the payroll) this ballclub can move forward. For the first time in a long time, something went the way it was supposed to. Something went the way that we had hoped.

And, after seeing how quickly and clinically Walsh removed Isiah from this position one can even hope to see things being done the right way from here on out.

"I can't really tell you where he failed with the club. I think that we reached a point this season when our team didn't compete for a long time," new team president Donnie Walsh said. "The bottom line is that we haven't won and the team didn't look like it was motivated to try to win and be competitive."~Donnie Walsh on demoting Isiah Thomas

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