Thomas won't return to Knicks as consultant
Isiah Thomas won't rejoin the Knicks after all.
Last night, five days after the Knicks announced they were bringing him back as a part-time consultant, Thomas released a statement saying he had rescinded his contract after talking with NBA commissioner David Stern and Knicks executives.
"It has become apparent that my new agreement violates certain NBA bylaws,'' Thomas said. "Because of this, I have decided to rescind my contract with the team.''
Thomas had planned to consult for the Knicks while continuing to coach at Florida International. Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse said Tuesday they had a problem with the idea of a college coach also working for a pro team.
"We have reminded the Knicks of NBA rules that prohibit team personnel, including consultants, from having contact with players not eligible for the draft,'' Stern said in his statement Wednesday.
That opinion, however, was a reversal of the one Stern gave to Dolan earlier, according to two sources. Dolan had talked to Stern about the hiring and they "both missed the issue,'' a source said. Shortly after Thomas e-mailed his statement to reporters Wednesday, the Knicks released a statement from Dolan.
"Although I'm disappointed that Isiah will not be working with the Knicks as a consultant, I continue to believe in his basketball knowledge, including his ability to judge talent. He's a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views,'' Dolan said. "He will always have strong ties to me and the team.''
After the Knicks announced Thomas' hiring, there was much conjecture that Dolan was losing confidence in team president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni. Dolan refuted that in his statement yesterday.
"I also believe Donnie Walsh has done a terrific job since joining the Knicks . . . '' he said. "I'm confident the work Donnie, Mike D'Antoni and their staffs have done this summer has the team poised for long-term success.''
The Knicks fired Thomas in April 2008. In 41/2 years as team president and then coach, the Knicks never won more than 39 games. In 2006, he and the Garden were accused in a sexual harassment case filed by former Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders. In 2007 she was awarded $11.6 million.
In his statement yesterday, Thomas talked about his past failings with the team.
"One of the biggest regrets of my life is that the Knicks didn't perform up to the standards the fans had every right to expect while I was in charge,'' he said. "I take full responsibility for that. I was very much looking forward to this unique opportunity to help the organization do what I do best: find basketball talent. I wish the team nothing but success in the future.''