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News » New York Knicks Getting Inside 2008-04-30


New York Knicks Getting Inside 2008-04-30


New York Knicks Getting Inside 2008-04-30
When they headed north after training camp, the Knicks felt confident they were on the right track. There were no health issues to deal with. A talented cast was poised to end a losing streak that spanned six seasons.

It didn't play out that way.

There were bad feelings between head coach Isiah Thomas and controversial playmaker Stephon Marbury, who stormed off during the first road trip just two weeks into the season. Newly-acquired Zach Randolph never found a way to co-exist down low with Eddy Curry. And the losses piled up.

Thomas absorbed most of the blame and was subjected to loud boos most of the season. When it was finally over, the Knicks had matched the worst record in franchise history, 23-59, and began to count the days until the draft lottery.

Change is obviously in order.

Knicks owner James Dolan recruited Donnie Walsh and gave him complete autonomy. The new president of basketball operations first decided to relieve Thomas of his coaching duties; Thomas will remain with the organization, but not in a visible capacity.

"It's a tough situation," Eddy Curry said before the decision was announced. "I feel for Isiah, but I feel for this organization, too. This team really wants to win. This town wants to win, and I think that they are just trying to make the necessary steps and do what it takes to turn things around."

Mark Jackson, Scott Skiles and Herb Williams are all leading candidates to come in and restore credibility as head coach. And then Walsh can turn his attention to an ill-fitting roster.

"It's definitely going to be a summer of uncertainty," Jamal Crawford said. "Nobody knows what's going to happen."

Walsh is determined to get the Knicks under the salary cap by July 2010, when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh hit the free agent market. He's not likely to make any deals that would take up space.

Marbury has an expiring deal but probably isn't going anywhere. He might receive a buyout if the organization still has questions about his level of commitment. Jerome James and Malik Rose might also leave with sizeable checks.

Walsh also needs to find a taker for Randolph or Curry because they are too similar.

Getting a playmaker in place is critical. And since the Knicks ranked last in blocked shots and left the middle largely unprotected, a low-post defender would also come in handy.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: There wasn't anything happening on the court all season to get excited about, so New York didn't react until the Knicks went out and hired Donnie Walsh as the new president of basketball operations with two weeks to go in the season. It was a signal that ownership was no longer charmed by Isiah Thomas, who failed to deliver in four-plus seasons as president and two seasons as head coach and was fired.

TURNING POINT: Embattled head coach Isiah Thomas lost respect in the locker room after Stephon Marbury learned he might get benched on a flight to Phoenix where the Knicks were kicking off the first extended road trip of the season. Marbury went AWOL for a game, and when he came back, Thomas gave the controversial point guard extended minutes against the wishes of his teammates. When the Knicks got home following the winless trip out West, they had a 2-7 record and no confidence.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2008

 

 
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