At one o’clock today, the Knicks officially announced Donnie Walsh as their new president of basketball operations. Walsh, the longtime chief executive for the Indiana Pacers and a well-respected basketball lifer, had been the rumored front-runner for the position for at least a week, and with the news now official, browbeaten Knicks fans may actually begin to dream again. But what will happen to Isiah Thomas, who was coach and president until today? Quoth Walsh:
"Now I know there's been a lot of speculation about Isiah. I have known Isiah for a long time and have great respect for his knowledge of the game. I think he is a great basketball mind. I'm not going to judge anything from afar. I have told him that we are going to sit down and talk in the coming days, and then we'll go from there. I think he's got the skills to help this franchise. "
Walsh says he doesn't know whether that role for Isiah will be as coach. But he will probably keep him on in some capacity.
Okay, we’re fine with Isiah finishing out this miserable season as long as we imagine the last eight games as a sort of updated, well-paid version of getting thrown in the stocks and flayed. But if Walsh is actually considering keeping Thomas on past this year, there are only a few “capacities” in which we’d still feel comfortable utilizing Isiah. Namely:
• Official MSG bathroom-break seat warmer
• Clown, MSG dunk-tank and tomato-throwing fund-raisers
• Chief of scouting operations, Antarctica and Polar Regions
• Zack Randolph's personal strategist for all pregame NBA Live 2008 locker-room tournaments
• Human napkin dispenser
• Interoffice relations and sensitivity-training coordinator
• Foam-finger tester
• Corporate-retreat campfire storyteller
• Chief popcorn consultant
• Resident abject lesson in failure
• Point guard
What did we miss?