From the minute the Knicks announced Florida International University coach Isiah Thomas (career college record: 7-25) would be a team “consultant,” the deal has seemed fishy. Not just in the holy crap the Knicks are letting Isiah in the building again sense, but also in the wait, a guy can work for a college team AND an NBA team? sense. The NCAA says they have no rule against it, which tells you essentially all you need to know about the NCAA, but the NBA? The NBA might. Perhaps Isiah’s one positive legacy will be an Isiah clause, put in place to stop people from being like Isiah. Unfortunately, it might not stop Isiah.
The NBA is looking into possibly nixing the Isiah deal because of the door it potentially leaves ajar.
“If the league lets this go through, it’s opening Pandora’s Box,” said one Eastern Conference GM. “If they allow it, then why wouldn’t teams go out and hire Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) or Tom Izzo and have them consult, too? The league has very strict and specific rules on when we can and can’t have contact with high school players or underclassmen. But Isiah can do that with his current college job and also working again for the Knicks? That’s got to be in violation of those rules.”
We are on record as saying Isiah’s return is not the end of the world, as befuddling and inexplicable as it is, but that’s under the assumption that this is just a side gig. If the NBA makes Isiah choose, well, we don’t think he’s gonna hang with Florida International. (7-25.) Which could mean a higher-profile role with the Knicks, rather than a “consultant” job, which could mean — as everyone fears — hanging around long enough for Donnie Walsh’s contract to run out. The NBA might force Isiah Thomas to make a decision no Knicks fan should want him to make. He’s already too close; making him choose will likely bring him even closer.