Knicks president hopes to foster relationships

MADRID -- New York Knicks president Isiah Thomas visited
Real Madrid on Sunday at the start of a European tour in which
he is hoping to establish good relations with the continent's

The Detroit Pistons legend met Real Madrid general director Lolo
Sainz on Sunday to discuss future relations with the Spanish
League club, then watched Tau Ceramica win, 74-69.

"It's not the first time that I've come to Europe," Thomas told
www.realmadrid.com. "But now I have decided to come here, not
to follow players, but to establish relations, make new friends
and make new contacts with clubs. I wanted to see how this
historic and prestigious organization in Europe, such as Real
Madrid, works."

Accompanied by Knicks European scout Kevin Wilson, Thomas was a
guest of honor at the weekend's ACB League game between Madrid
and Tau Vitoria.

The Knicks have had good relations with Real Madrid ever since
signing Polish power forward Maciej Lampe, who had come through
Madrid's youth teams.

"Thomas had an excellent image of our club following our
relations with respect to Lampe's transfer," Sainz said.
"Thomas believes that the moment has come to relaunch the links
between the NBA and Europe."

The interest of NBA franchises in European basketball has
increased in recent months.

Three weeks ago, Madrid received a visit from Golden State
Warriors vice president Chris Mullin -- a member of the famous
"Dream Team" that won the gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona

Accompanied by Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers
representatives, Mullin was keeping a close eye on Madrid star
Felipe Reyes and youngsters Axel Hervelle and Mikael Gelabale.

Meanwhile, Italian champions Montepaschi Siena recently
confirmed a future collaboration with the San Antonio Spurs.