- Eamonn Brennan, College Basketball Reporter
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There's never been much of a question that former New York Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas wanted another shot at the NBA. He's been open about it before. Before the NBA stepped in, Thomas was technically still employed by the Knicks as recently as this summer. This is not a new thing.
Still, because Thomas proved himself to be rather bad at being NBA general manager (some are willing to make the argument that Thomas was the worst ever, which is hyperbolic but revealing all the same) he can't get a job doing so. So he's stuck at Florida International, pining away the days, dreaming daily of his triumphant return to Madison Square Garden.
I'm not saying this. Isiah Thomas, in an interview with ESPN New York's Ian O'Connor, is saying this. You couldn't make it up:
Isiah believes James (and perhaps Dwyane Wade) would be starting for the New York Knicks if Isiah had remained president of the team. Isiah believes he can recruit James out of Miami and into Madison Square Garden in 2014. Isiah believes that, with or without James, he will someday help the Knicks win their first NBA title since 1973.
"I want to be on the float and I want to get my ring," Thomas said. [...]
Asked if he hopes to replace Donnie Walsh whenever the 69-year-old Knicks president retires, Thomas said, "Every single day of the week.
"When I look at my GM/executive record, if I'm evaluated on that, then whoever's after Donnie, if you're not talking about some of the top people in the game, I'll put my draft evaluation record up against anyone's."
Before we put aside the brilliant self-delusion at work here, let's take a look at the above statements. Isiah Thomas believes he could have brought LeBron, D-Wade, and who knows who else to New York. He believes he's going to win an NBA title with the Knicks. He believes he's the best candidate to replace the general manager that replaced him. After one of the least successful -- and maybe the worst! -- front office tenures of anyone in modern history.
This is crazy talk, of course, but it would be harmless crazy talk were Thomas not currently employed. But he is. By a college basketball team. The Florida International Panthers. Maybe you've heard of them. (Actually, maybe not.) Pining for a job is one thing if you're sitting on the sidelines, but admitting that you think about getting your old job back "every single day of the week" while being paid to think about FIU every single day of the week, then you're just wasting everyone's time and money.
And yes, maybe FIU made their Faustian bargain for good reason; maybe they're willing to deal with this sort of thing if it means having a basketball celebrity sell your otherwise irrelevant program, even if that sale is halfhearted. I get it.
But good God, man: You have a job to do. Either do it or don't, but don't do this. If you're so desperate to get back to professional basketball, it probably helps to act like a professional.
There's never been much of a question that former New York Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas wanted another shot at the NBA. He's been open about it before.