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isiah thomas

Isiah Thomas Will Be on Television

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2009, file photo, Florida International coach Isiah Thomas directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. Thomas is back in the New York Knicks organization as a consultant, two years after he was fired as coach and team president. The Knicks announced Thomas' role on Friday, Aug. 6, 2010, saying he would "assist the team's senior management in various capacities, including player recruitment." (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File0 Isiah Thomas.

It's easy to forget now that the Knicks are good and fun and happy, but a portion of our off-season unrest revolved around Isiah Thomas, ex-Knicks president, coach, and curator of awful, overpaid teams. The reports didn't smell significant and, indeed, proved to be nothing meaningful, but James Dolan's "business meeting" with Isiah in September prompted a moment of "it's the Knicks; anything could happen" paranoia that Thomas might be back in the organizational fold. Thankfully, Dolan didn't intend to rehire the guy, and was merely having a fancy meal with his friend and confidant. The fear of an unemployed Isiah getting another chance with the Knicks went unrealized once more and his name hasn't surfaced to terrify us since.

Meanwhile, there were rumors dating back to the summer of Isiah landing a TV gig. ESPN ended up passing him over, but the news now is that Thomas will join NBA TV and NBA.com as an analyst beginning this Friday (the day the world's supposed to end, naturally). Even though Knicks fans' fears of an Isiah return have long since abated, this news stirred up the funniest part of the New York–Isiah relationship: We're all very happy for Thomas to be gainfully employed, provided it's not with the Knicks. Some Knicks fans probably offered the network unsolicited job references on Thomas's behalf — anything to keep Isiah occupied and out of James Dolan's ear. His old coaching job at FIU meant he couldn't trifle with the Knicks, and the TV job should pull him away as well. We hope it's a long, fruitful employment. (I'll just leave this here as an aside.)

But seriously, congratulations to Thomas, who obviously knows the game and should have plenty of useful insights to share. Congratulations to the Knicks, too, for being in a pleasant, stable enough situation that this news isn't a massive relief.

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Photo: Gerry Broome/AP