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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

Isiah Thomas on Miami Heat: Being Hated Is Not a Bad Thing

The Miami Heat is one of the best shows on television and the biggest reason why is because they’re so polarizing. Everyone has an opinion on the Heat: you either like them and want them to win or you hate them and want them to lose. Either way you’re watching their games to see what they do. For that reason and more, Isiah Thomas told our buddy Jorge Sedano on 790 the Ticket in Miami that being hated is not a bad thing:

“Hate is not a bad thing in sports. You need the good guy and the bad guy and not everyone can be the good guy. When you have the good guy matched up against the bad guy, that’s what we all want to see. We don’t want to see two good guys go at it. We want to see the adversaries and the rivalries. Right now I think it’s great for the NBA and it will be great for all these guys in their careers as time moves on that having a little hate and being a little despised that’s not bad all the time. That means that you’re pretty good, you’re touching people’s emotions, a little controversial, and you’re being talked about. That’s what sports is all about. It’s not about the good guy all the time. If they’re chosen as the bad guys that means they’re going to be on television a lot, they’re going to be written about a lot, and they’re going to win a lot of games.”

Between his days on the Bad Boy Pistons and as coach and GM for the Knicks, Isiah knows exactly what it’s liked to be hated. See, the thing is it’s only good to be hated for the right reasons. Being hated because you’re good and the team that always wins is the right reason to be hated. Being hated because of this, this, and this are the wrong reasons to be hated. Good thing Isiah was clear he was talking about being hated for the right reasons considering he knows how bad it is to be on the other end. And after the Heat wins a title this season, they’ll be even more hated.

(thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for the transcription)

Why NBA Is Allowing Isiah Thomas to Consult for Knicks

One of the most bizarre stories in sports the past few days has been the news that the Knicks are hiring Isiah Thomas as a consultant for the organization. This is mind-boggling on several levels. First, Thomas serves as the coach at Florida International University which seems like an inherent conflict of interest because the NBA forbids its employees to have contact with college basketball players. Second, Isiah’s time in New York was miserable and the losing was like he was on “death row.” Lastly, Isiah running the Knicks was like a “three-ring circus” and he cost the organization $11.6 million in a sexual harassment suit.

It’s hard to determine what’s worse: that the Knicks would actually want Isiah back despite him running the franchise into the ground, or that the NBA would allow such an apparent conflict of interest. While there’s no real answer for the former (except that Isiah must have been James Dolan’s favorite player), we do have an answer for the second item. None of the other owners are opposed to Isiah consulting for the Knicks. In fact, they’re all supportive of the move. Their mentality is that whatever team with which Thomas is associated will never be a contender. It’s simple logic, but just compare two scenarios: what would the NBA do if John Calipari said he was going to consult for the Chicago Bulls? And what are they doing with Isiah? The obvious answer is no harm no foul. That’s why Isiah’s case is different.