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Isiah Thomas: Michael Jordan couldn’t have played through LeBron’s cramps

LeBron James cramps

Critics who have obviously never dealt with serious cramping will tell you that LeBron James showed a lack of heart on Thursday night when he left Game 1 of the NBA Finals with four minutes remaining. LeBron was suffering from severe cramps as a result of an AT&T Center air conditioning system malfunction, and Isiah Thomas believes there is absolutely nothing he could have done to play through it.

Thomas was in attendance for Game 1, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports noticed that he wasn’t even breaking a sweat in the 90-plus degree heat. Despite that, Thomas understood where LeBron was coming from.

“There is no athlete on the planet who could’ve played through those cramps,” he told Wojnarowski. “Michael Jordan absolutely couldn’t have played through those cramps. I absolutely couldn’t have played through those cramps. As an athlete, there’s nothing you could do.”

This is the same Isiah Thomas who, on a bum ankle, scored 25 points in a single quarter during Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. The Detroit Pistons ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, but a severely hobbled Thomas singlehandedly kept his team in championship contention.

That’s why Thomas’ words are more than just meaningless blabber from someone who has never been there.

“There’s no way you could play that way,” he added. “People have to understand that – just no way.”

We have already heard comparisons between LeBron’s cramping and Michael Jordan’s legendary flu game. While those will undoubtedly continue, they aren’t fair to James. Jordan obviously felt awful, but LeBron was physically unable to move. He tried to reenter the game, but Erik Spoelstra told him “don’t even think about it.”

Fortunately for LeBron, his cramping came in Game 1. He has several more games to make people forget it ever happened, and we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that’s just what he did.

Isiah Thomas will reportedly become part owner of Pistons

Isaiah-ThomasIsiah Thomas may no longer be on the radar as a potential general manager of the Detroit Pistons, but he could still be in the team’s future plans. According to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, Thomas is close to becoming an investor in the Pistons’ ownership group.

Pistons majority owner Tom Gores is reportedly interested in partnering with Thomas in some fashion, and he began brainstorming with him after Joe Dumars stepped down as team president at the end of the regular season. The exact percentage of the team that Thomas would purchase has not been agreed upon.

“Not a ceremonial piece, but a respectable piece,” a source reportedly told Goodwill.

Thomas is said to have “jumped at” the opportunity to invest in the team. He won two NBA championships with the Pistons and is still beloved by the Detroit community. He was also supposed to buy a stake in the team before his retirement in 1994, but Thomas and then-owner Bill Davidson had a public falling out after news of the partnership leaked.

If you’re a Pistons fan, you should probably be rooting for Thomas to become an owner. Experience would tell you he can do much more damage as a general manager or basketball operations person.

Former Piston Adrian Dantley: Isiah Thomas is a ‘con man’

Isaiah-ThomasFormer Detroit Pistons forward Adrian Dantley was traded from the Detroit Pistons to the Dallas Mavericks in 1989 — just before the team won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. Any move the Pistons made that year will be viewed as genius in hindsight, but Dantley believes he was shipped out of town only because Isiah Thomas wanted him gone.

And yes, he holds a grudge. During a recent interview with Matt Dery on 105.1 FM in Detroit, Dantley ripped Thomas and said he refuses to watch ESPN’s new “30 for 30″ documentary on the Bad Boys, despite the fact that he was interviewed for it.

“I’m not gonna watch that; you think I’m gonna listen to Isiah talk?” Dantley said, via The Detroit News.

It’s clear that Dantley has a personal issue with Thomas, and he said it stems from his belief that the Pistons traded him midway through the 1989 season because Thomas wanted him gone.

“I’ll bet you one thing: If I was running around there kissing Isiah’s (expletive), I’d still be there,” Dantley continued.

With that in mind, we know to take anything Dantley says about Thomas with a grain of salt. Still, he had a pretty strong opinion when asked if he thinks Thomas would do well as the general manager of the Pistons.

“Con man,” Dantley said. “He has a way of tricking people, and he tricked a lot of people.”

Rumors surfaced last month that the Pistons may be interested in hiring Thomas as GM with current GM Joe Dumars’ contract set to expire. Considering Thomas made some of the worst decisions in Knicks’ franchise history when he was hired as president of basketball operations in 2003, the move would surprise a lot of people. If Thomas is as good a “con man” as Dantley says he is, I guess we shouldn’t be shocked.

Could Isiah Thomas be hired as Pistons GM?

Isaiah-ThomasThe Detroit Pistons are in need of some serious changes, as they are currently on their way to a sixth straight losing season. Isiah Thomas is returning to Auburn Hills at the end of March to help the team acknowledge the 25th anniversary of its first championship team, and one report says he may be there to stay.

Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News, who has been spot-on with a number of reports this season, cited sources on Saturday who claim Pistons owner Tom Gores may be thinking of hiring Thomas as the team’s next general manager. Current GM Joe Dumars, who has fired eight head coaches since 2000, is not expected to be re-signed when his contract expires after the season.

“Gores is definitely looking at Isiah to replace Joe,” a source reportedly told Lawrence.

The Pistons are probably the only team in the league whose fans would be excited to welcome Thomas. He led the team to two NBA championships during his 14 seasons as a player in Detroit. However, Thomas’ resume when it comes to assembling an NBA roster is hardly impressive.

In 2003, the New York Knicks hired Thomas as their president of basketball operations. He proceeded to spend a ton of money and trade away draft picks while assembling some of the worst teams in Knicks’ history.

Lawrence also speculated that Mike Woodson could become a candidate to coach the Pistons next year, as he could very well be fired before the end of the season. Thomas and Woodson were teammates at Indiana and are close friends.

Personally, I don’t understand how Thomas would ever find a front office job in the NBA again given the disaster in New York. But if any team was going to hire him, I guess the Pistons would make sense.

Isiah Thomas reportedly met with James Dolan

Isiah Thomas will not go away. The New York Post reports that the Hall of Famer player and former Knicks coach/GM met with Knicks owner James Dolan for a business meeting on Friday.

Ready to cringe, Knicks fans? It sounds like Isiah wants back in with the organization.

The Post reports that the meeting between Dolan and Thomas took place two days after MSG’s president resigned. While Thomas may not be aiming for the vacant position, the former president reportedly was against the Knicks rehiring Isiah, so that could explain the timing of the meeting.

Thomas was fired by Florida International in April after three unsuccessful seasons as the basketball team’s head coach. He coached the Knicks to back-to-back dismal seasons from 2006-2008 when they went 56-108. That poor stint as a coach was preceded by three years as a Knicks exec in which the team had the second-worst record and highest payroll in the league, a truly rare feat. On top of all that, Thomas cost his company over $11 million because of a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Yet, despite all this, Thomas has had input with the franchise even when he was not an official team employee. Knicks fans better hope Dolan doesn’t bring Thomas back in any capacity.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen supported Isiah Thomas’ snub from 1992 Dream Team

According to the much-anticipated NBA TV documentary about the 1992 Dream Team that airs Wednesday night, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen backed the idea of Isiah Thomas being left off the roster for the famous gold medal-winning team in Barcelona.

“That was one of the stipulations put to me that Isiah wasn’t part of the team,” Jordan said in an interview part of the 90-minute film.

It had long been rumored that MJ played a part in his rival’s snub from the squad. And while Jordan’s comments more or less confirm those beliefs, Pippen provides additional anti-Isiah sentiment and sheds light on how there was more to their disdain for Isiah than simply just their heated Pistons-Bulls rivalry back then.

“I despised how he played the game,” Pippen said.

“Isiah was the general,” Pippen added about the Pistons’ rough, arguably dirty, style of play at the time. “He was the guy who would yap at his teammates and say, ‘Kick them on their [rear]. Do whatever you have to do.’ No, I didn’t want him on the Dream Team.”

According to NBA TV, Thomas declined to participate in the making of the doc. But while Jordan and Pippen’s contempt is given the coverage, other prominent members of the Dream Team, such as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley, reportedly were not big fans of Thomas playing on the team, either. If that many guys did not want to be teammates with Isiah, and if Isiah actually did become a member of the squad, then we could probably be looking back at a completely different Dream Team lineup that I argue would have altered history.

Photo: Andrew B. Fielding-US PRESSWIRE

Isiah Thomas fired by FIU, says he’s ‘stunned’

Isiah Thomas was canned by Florida International University on Friday after three unsuccessful seasons leading the Golden Panthers basketball team. Thomas went 26-65 in his three seasons as FIU’s coach and did even worse than his predecessor, Sergio Rouco, whose teams went 34-57 in his final three seasons.

Worst part of all? Isiah says this is the first time he’s been fired strictly because his basketball teams did not play well. Try to contain your laughter.

“This is the most surprising thing that has happened to me in basketball,” Thomas told ESPN.com. “I never been fired before for basketball reasons. This is the first time.

“When I was in Toronto, I was trying to buy a team and I left. When I was in Indiana, Larry Bird told me that he liked what I was doing but he was closer to Rick Carlisle. The whole thing in New York was crazy. This is the first time someone told me that I was being fired for basketball reasons.”

Don’t be so stunned, bro. It doesn’t take a good coach more than three seasons to build a winner in the Sun Belt. You know what this also tells us? If Zeke hadn’t cost his owners millions of dollars in a sexual harassment suit, he probably would still be coaching the Knicks, because, you know, he wasn’t fired for basketball reasons.

Seriously, I think Thomas’ unsuccessful stint at FIU should end the question about his coaching abilities. If he were good, he would have turned it around in no time.

Photo Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-US PRESSWIRE