As expected, the Knicks didn’t get LeBron to come to New York. While some will look at the last two seasons of salary cutting as a mistake, the opposite view should be held. The Knicks of Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry were not going to win a title. And while the Knicks as currently constructed won’t either, there are finally reasons for optimism.
Start with the free agent they did sign: Amare Stoudemire is an upgrade over David Lee and with the right point guard, can be one of the most dynamic scorers in the league. Raymond Felton could be that guy and he is a definite upgrade over Chris Duhon. Anthony Randolph has the talent to become one of the better young players in the game, if he can stay healthy. And, there is money left over for future free agents like Carmelo Anthony. For the first time in years, the playoffs are a reasonable expectation.
However, there was also a very worrying development in the madness of the past few days: The use of Isiah Thomas in the final push for LeBron James. Thomas was chosen to fly to Akron Wednesday night instead of Mike D’Antoni or Donnie Walsh. It was stunning to find out that Knicks owners Jim Dolan still trusts Isiah after all that has happened and with Walsh’s health in question, it naturally leads one to wonder if Isiah will be back in charge of the Knicks in the near future.
Dolan has shown little regard for the fans or their opinions. He let Isiah turn the Knicks into a punchline and he has allowed Glen Sather to tinker with the Rangers for ten years without coming close to a championship. But he needs to realize that bringing Isiah back would be the end of the road for most Knicks fans. Like Richie Kotite and the Jets, Ray Handley and the Giants, Bobby Bonilla and the Mets, certain figures can never be brought back to organizations and Isiah is that guy for the Knicks. If he walks back into the Knicks organization, the fans will leave in droves into the welcoming arms of Mikhail Prokhorov and the Brooklyn Nets.