Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  61 responses

Isiah Thomas Working to Help Knicks Acquire Chris Paul?

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

To the endless chagrin of New York Knicks fans (and some of the team’s employees), Isiah Thomas’ influence within MSG doesn’t appear to be shrinking.

If anything — even though he’s not allowed to officially work for the Knicks while he coaches college kids — Isiah appears to have more power within the organization than before.

Amar’e Stoudemire is one of several NBA players currently working out at FIU, and according to the NY Daily News, Isiah Thomas (and Knicks owner James Dolan) are hoping to use this opportunity and others to help lure Chris Paul to New York:

ESPN reported that Stoudemire was working out at FIU which happens to be the school Isiah coaches when he isn’t serving as a de facto GM of the Knicks. There were several NBA players working out at FIU, including Atlanta’s Joe Johnson. None of this is surprising since FIU is located in a favored city among NBA players: Miami. Plus, Isiah continues to share a close relationship with some of the league’s top players. That would including Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e and more importantly, Chris Paul.

This is the reason James Dolan continues to lean on Isiah for advice, even though Isiah doesn’t have an official position with the Knicks. (If he did, Isiah would be in violation of NBA bylaws for having contact with players during the lockout). Isiah played a role in the Knicks signing Amar’e two summer’s ago and he played a role in the Melo trade. He’s now working behind the scenes to help the Knicks land Chris Paul.

Knicks fans may rightfully hate that Zeke continues to be involved with their team in any capacity, but if his endless behind-the-scenes machinations help land Chris Paul, one gets the feeling that they’ll quickly forgive and forget his past sins.

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  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    How is this possible again with Melo and Amare commanding such huge contracts?

  • misso

    If the Knicks get cp3 there most def gonna be in the ecf

  • misso

    Heat style, take paycuts

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I don’t see Melo and most definitely Amare taking pay-cuts. The knicks don’t need a PG, what they need is a big man that plays D and rebounds (two things that Amare refuses to do)

  • John

    JT- Brute big men are a dime a dozen, how many MVP-caliber PG’s are there out there?

    also, why wouldn’t Melo and Amare take paycuts to win a championship? They’d definitely gain mor ein endorsements as a big 3. With the diversity of revenue streams and NBA player has these days, their contract isn’t as important as it used to be. Shaq has even said that he hasn’t spent a dime of what he made from his NBA contracts yet. Shaq is a different animal, obvioucly, having made his money when teams were just handing out $200 million contracts, but still.

  • Overtime

    Cosign JTaylor, dont see either of them taking any kind of major pay cut, and even if they did that wont be happening immdiately. Its always fun to wonder what kind of beast Amare could be if he did try to defend and rebound

  • RetrOhh

    Well if the league actually had some decent big men this would be a different story entirely

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I doubt CP/Melo/Amare gain more endorsements than Wade/Bron. I don’t even have to include Bosh, because those two cats already had more endorsements than NY’s fantasy trio even before teaming up.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Honestly, the Knicks should hold out for Dwight Howard. They need need a center more than they need a point guard. Hey, Chauncey Billups can still play, and run an offence. Go for Dwight.. but if they did get Chris Paul, then .. dayyumm.

  • robb


  • RunNGun

    If the Knicks get CP3, they’ll get D-Will and an all-star team led by Zeke.

  • Ali

    I call Bullshi*!!!!

  • MikeC.

    I’d rather have Deron Williams than Chris Paul. Williams seems less injury-prone.

  • MikeC.

    Also, Isiah, please eff off and stay effed off.

  • T-Money

    New York fans and media are in big denial. Zeke runs this and he NEVER left. He personally courted STAT. Dolan flew him out to freaking Akron in a desperation move to convice Bron to sign with the Knicks just before the Decision. Dolan tried to make him a consultant THIS year. Now he’s working the back channels with CP3 and STAT is practicing at FIU. You think Donnie Walsh just woke up one morning and realized he was old? Zeke is NY’s GM, I don’t care what his title says.

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    They shouldn’t have traded all those assets for Melo because he was coming to NYK anyways.

  • Showtime

    First of all like so many have stated that Ny doesnt really need a pg. they need a certified big men. Plus Melo is very ball dominate so it would really work. & lets not for get STAt and Melo both was greedy & took Max contracts something the heats didn’t do. Plus with the new CBA focus on stoping this way of stacking the teams, it doesn’t seem to get really get no better for NY..lol

  • T-Money

    LA: not so sure. Melo likes money, I think he would signed if NJ had traded for him although his preference was to be with NYK.

  • Sherlock

    I like STAT, but personally I would do a sign & trade with him & Howard in a heartbeat then add Paul or Dwill at point.

    Having STAT with Melo is a little redundant.

    And don’t sleep on Iman Shumpert. I have a feeling he is going to be something special (Poor Man’s Dwayne Wade?)…

  • Paul

    This article is nonsense. Amare working out at FIU doesn’t mean that Isaiah is “defacto GM” of the Knicks. In fact, the article contradicts itself by saying that other players from teams other than the Knicks are working out at FIU. Also, Amare denies that Isaiah had anything to do with the Knicks signing him. He;s said this publicly–and there is still no evidence that Isaiah had anything to to with the Melo trade. Lastly, there is nothing to suggest that Isaiah has anything to do with Chris Paul. Haha–these Isiaih stories are ridiculous. They are nothing but unsubstantiated speculation. Let it go

  • T-Money

    Paul: did Dolan offer him a consultant job THIS year? Did he fly out to Akron on NY’s behalf last summer? Thanks.

  • Paul

    T-Money–yes, he was offered a consultant job, and yes he went to Akron–so what? He helps out Dolan and gives him advice sometimes, but that doesn’t mean he’s the secret GM of the team. That’s way to simplistic to take as true. All owners get advice from people who aren’t officially employed by an organization, I would guess. This Isaiah stuff is overblown by the NY tabloid media at the Post and Daily News. It’s garbage journalism that is based almost exclusively on speculation.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t think he’s de-facto GM. But, I think he has a lot of influence. Which is why Walsh was pissed.
    And nobody is trading Dwight Howard for Amare.

  • rich

    they can get him by organizing some trade involving billups who will have a similar contract along with picks and prolly landry fields

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Cosign Allenp, — Also, if Isiah’s influence isn’t important & he wasn’t heavily involved then why is Donnie Walsh leaving the Knicks after he did so much work to build them back up? Why has Isiah been involved in every attempt at signing a marquee free agent?

  • crooklyn sazer

    Isiah said it before, he is determined to bring a title to this franchise (that I have been supporting for the last 20+ years). The worst he did was really the deals for jerome james and eddy curry (even though he did show one year that eddy could be somebody if he just worked) Hell, if bad deals are reason to fire a gm then danny ainge should be in china. Zeke is the truth as far as b ball and winning go, the brown sanders thing was a joke. Let the man work, because you know damn well antoni aint gonna do it. Matter of fact didnt zeke just put his ol’ college teammate on the bench. Gonna be an interesting year if the season is a go and they all stay healthy. WE dont need howard, trust me

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    NY is never winning anything with Amar’e and Carmelo as their best and second best player. Ever

  • http://gmail.com z

    Lol @ nbk’s harsh dose of reality. “NY is never winning anything. Ever” lmao, just like phx never won anything with steve nash as their best player? I think you need to widen your gaze, my man, because there’s a common denominator btwn the two situations: mike (no d)antoni. He’s probly gonna have to go, and they’ll need someone who can make the stars understand that they need Dfense if they wanna win it all. And i genuinely believe that they want to win, bc if you win in nyc, you’ll be an icon, guaranteed. Nyc’s good like that.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Z, I can see NY winning, with Mike D’Antoni, but they also would need Chris Paul or Deron Williams. — (Or Dwight Howard, but that would mean getting rid of D’Antoni and contradicting what I just said) — I feel like it’s not even debatable about whether or not NY can win with Melo and Stat as their best players. Infact, NY got worse after adding Melo, even defensively (how that’s possible, idk)

  • Paul

    @ nbk–that’s a dumb thing to say. There’s nothing about Melo and Amare that says they can’t win. That’s just shallow thinking. NBA fans love saying extreme and impossible to substantiate things–like a team can’t win “ever” with so and so on teh team, etc. The truth is that melo and AMare are both players who can at times dominate games. So, add in the right mix of role players and playmakers, and they can certainly win.

    @ Z–It’s also unsupported to criticize DAntoni. He went to two conference finals in the West, and could have won it all if not for injuries and suspensions one of those seasons. If he can make two West Conf finals, there is nothing to say he can’t win in NY with the right players. Judging him on the past 3 seasons is unfair because he’s had a lack of continuity and talent, with multiple mid-season trades and uncertainty. Defensively, he’s lacked an interior presence all of his seasons in NY, and in general, the “lack of defense” thing is wildly overblown. Sure he emphasizes offense, but his teams in Phoenix were usually about average defensive teams, not awful ones. When you factor in pace, DAntoni defenses aren’t nearly as bad as some suggest. Give him a true defensive big man, and a lot of the defensive troubles could be fixed. Hiring Mike Woodson will go al long way to helping as well

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Yeah, this new salary cap is going to dead things in New York unless they allow them to rework existing contracts completely.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Hey paul, IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF. D’Antoni would have won, if there were no injuries. Amar’e and Carmelo can win IF they get the exact right role players around them.

    All I care about are facts.
    Fact: Between Amare Stoudemire & Carmelo Anthony over the next 4 years, assuming the Salary cap stays the same (it won’t its gonna get DRASTICALLY smaller) the Knicks will have ($60M – $37M) $23M dollars to fill out 10 Roster Spots in 2011-12, $20M in 2012-13, $17M in 2013-14, and a wopping $13M dollars for 10 players in 2014-15. To put that in perspective, Chauncee Billups is slated to make $13M dollars next season. Do you understand? The Knicks got worse after adding Carmelo, then they signed him to a max extension, further preventing them from adding players in the future. Things for the Knicks look terrible, the Carmelo trade made them really really bad. Why do you think your own President/GM was completely against the trade, to the point where he resigned after the season?

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    If you’re not a top-10 defensive team, you have a pretty slim chance or being the last one standing at the end of the season. NYK could win with Melo and STAT as their best players but not with _’Antoni as their coach.

  • http://BleacherReport Antoine Shuler

    People are all mad at Zeke for trying to put a winner together for Knicks, He bought in some good players, but it didn’t work,not because of him, but because of the players not Zeke, What about all the other GM’s that teams didn’t work. Kevin Mchale messed up Minnisota for year’s and don’t get half the flack that Zeke does. Stop being racist man. Look at all the great players he drafted!!

  • Paul

    @ nbk–your whole idea is flawed. If the salary cap is “drastically smaller” as you say, salaries will also be rolled back in some drastic fashion as well. Also, you’re not accounting for increases in the cap in each of those seasons, and any trades that may occur. Billups for example, will be a big expiring contract that someone will probably want. Lastly, we have no idea what the new CBA will look like at all, so this is pure speculation, but no matter how it turns out, the Knicks will most likely have room for a max player–AND–be able to fill out the roster in 2012. If not a max player, then they should be able to fill a nice roster of sub-max players.

  • chingy

    I love CP3 (imo best PG in the league). But unless they play some D, they’re not going to any ecf. CP3 is good on D, but with D’Antoni’s system, no one’s playing D. D’Antoni needs to go. They should have tried to get Adelman (sp).

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Paul, the current contracts will stay the same. There is no flaw in my logic, the league will not take away a contract that is already agreed upon. Its the whole reason Carmelo pushed to get dealt and sign an extension before the season ended. – Even if the Salary Cap increases every season until 2014-15 it won’t be at the current $60M that I used for every season I just showed. I basically gave you the best case scenario, and it still looks like sh*t for the Knicks. And Chauncee has to get traded, or else NY will lose him for NOTHING. Because they have no money to sign anyone

  • Yesse

    I also remember Isiah saying that he would make Knicks go to the playoffs.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    maybe you still don’t understand, Carmelo + Amar’e will always take up more then 60% of your available cap space (and a higher % every year after that), no matter what they do with the CBA. All of this, and I haven’t even touched on the fact that Amar’e is physically (according to the Phoenix medical staff) not going to last very much longer as an elite offensive player.

  • MLK4Life

    I definitely don’t see them taking a paycut. Plus, what are they going to do with Chauncey? Cut him? Waive him? He’s not damaged goods by any means. If he was healthy along with Amar’e, the Knicks probably would have gotten past Boston. Keep the team in tact. If they need anything, it’s a solid center. And if any team needs CP3 besides New Orleans, it’s Orlando. We all know Dwight has one foot out of the door.

  • EtheKnickfan

    Knicks need a coach who………can coach.

  • Paul

    @ nbk–you’re wrong–salary rollbacks are part of what is being negotiated. It just depends on what form it takes–rollbacks with a hard cap, rollbacks with a soft cap, etc. If there ends up being a hard cap, there is no way it can even be done if there are not rollbacks, for the very reasons you pointed out about teams not being able to fill out rosters with the present salaries. As for Melo and AMare taking up 60% of teh salary–so what. Other teams have multiple high paid stars and make it work. It’s not impossible. Also, the Amare will break down thing is another overblown concept. The guy has been healthy the majority of teh past 5 years, and he is famously health conscious and works hard at it. He’s played 82, 79, 53, 82, and 78 games over the past 5 years. The back injury during the playoffs is completely unrelated to the knee and eye injuries everyone is so worried about. Bottom line–Amare seems to be showing no downward trends in his health. Until there is some evidence that he’s deteriorating, I’m not worried about it

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    The fact that Phoenix refused to insure anything longer then 4 years after his 2 knee surgeries is proof. And they are discussing salary concessions, so teams can go over the new hard or soft cap without penalty to keep current deals. The penalties would be things like the luxury tax. Cap space has nothing to do with it. The fact that you think players current deals will be affected says enough about how much you understand the situation.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think it’s important to remember that while other teams have multiple high paid stars, those stars are not Amare and Melo.
    Unless New York gets really good at drafting, they are in trouble.

  • O

    Co-sign Sherlock. Ever since the rumor started that the Knicks were willing to trade Stat for Dwight, I was on board with the move. We’d have an elite Center in Dwight; elite forward in Melo; and top it off by having an elite Point in CP3 or D-Will. But the only way that’s possible is if Dwight tells Orlando that he’s signing with NY no matter what, so get what they can from them. Melo messed up by threatening to sign with the Nets if the Knicks ain’t step up. Had he said he would ONLY sign with NY, we could’ve got him for Chandler (or Gallo), Mozgov and Curry’s contract. Instead we gave up a whole team for Melo. If Dwight demands a trade to NY, we’ll give up Stat, Billups and maybe Fields. Id do that in a heartbeat.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah agreed Allen. I think if they had Melo & Dwight, or DW/CP & Amar’e or Melo they’d be ok. But Amar’e and Melo? you would have to get a PG who can run a team, shoot the lights out, and LOCKDOWN his position. Your SG would need to do the latter 2 as well. And your Center would need to be Tyson Chandler. Plus a bigger 3/4 Defender off the bench, all w/ less money then it would take to pay Rashard Lewis.

  • http://gmail.com z

    dam you nbk! everybody’s always gotta rain on the nyk’s parade! why? is it bc we new yorkers already got the yankees, and you don’t want us to develop a powerhouse basketball team as well? Im kiddin, but not entirely, i do think that people from around the US harbor some deep resentment/dislike for new yorkers, and i don’t understand why.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Z, All my resentment is for the Lakers. All of it, even though I’ll be just as honest about them. lol – I am just being realistic about how I feel about the Knicks. Ask me how it looks for Phoenix, I won’t have a very glowing review of their future either. I am just so set in my belief that you can’t win in the NBA without being at least above average defensively that there is no way anyone can convince me the Knicks can win built around their current (2) best players. (If you add Chris Paul or one of the truly elite guys, then you have reverse built around that player, IMO)

  • Allenp

    They need a passer at point who van hit open shots a two who locks up and hitbopen shots and a center who locks up and rebounds. Then they need Douglas to become Jamal Crawford off the bench. All on the cheap.

  • julie

    I am a TRUE Hornets fan and if CP3 wants to leave then more power to him. If I was the Hornets I would set out a biding war for CP3 and take the best offer, he’s going to leave anyway so that may as well get something while they can. But I hope he learned something from his friend LBJ talent doesn’t guarantee a championship!!

  • Paul

    @ nbk–Wrong again. The owners are seeking a hard cap and a rollback of current contracts. Now that may not come to be, but if there is a hard cap, the players will probably concede to some rollbacks for the good of the union. Also, a luxury tax would defeat the purpose of a hard cap because wealthy teams could just spend what they can afford. Do your homework before telling people they are wrong. Look it up

    AS for Amare–Phoenix not wanting to take on the risk of Amare’s knee going in a few years doesn’t negate what I said. The indisputable fact is that Amare has been relatively durable and is showing no signs of a downward trend in his health. He was a beast last season and looked like he couldn’t have been in better shape. I’ll believe he’s doomed to deteriorate when I see some signs and evidence. There is none yet.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Actually Amar’e has been hurt all summer, with a “back strain” and would be questionable for the start of the season (i believe there is even a Slam article from last week about it) Also, the owners original proposal was contingent on a cut of player % of the BRI to 42% from the current 58%. This included a $43M Hard Cap. Which was basically laughed at, denied and restructured. No “financial expert” or salary cap expert or nba analyst has ever entertained current salary cutbacks as a real possibility. Taking every single little thing you read as an inevitable truth is a great way to look ignorant. If you want good NBA salary information check out Sheridanhoops, Larry Coon, insidehoops, truehoop, any of those should give you better information then the original proposal. I’m being realistic, I’m sorry your a fan of NY and your owner forced your team into such a bleak situation (Unless CP3/DH/DW can force a trade-which will prolly happen). I’m done with my homework

  • http://slamonline.com Neitel

    Iman Shumpert, Iman Shumpert, Iman Shumpert, Iman Shumpert, Iman Shumpert, Iman Shumpert, Iman Shumpert, Iman Shumpert, Iman Shumpert

  • Paul

    I’m being realistic as well, and I was working on the scenario you originally used to demonstrate that the knicks are screwed. If there is a drastically lower salary cap, as you say, the union itself would also probably concede to some sort of rollback on current contracts–perhaps limited to only certain contracts–because otherwise many players would be left out in the cold because of high and max contract players salaries. I’m not making anything up–as I said, the league is seeking rollbacks and a hard cap. Of course they might not get that, but to say that there is no possibility of it is ignorant at this point. The owners are apparently taking a hard line right now. And again about Amare–his back has nothing to do with what you were referring to–his knee and eye, and the Suns not giving him guaranteed money.

  • Paul

    … and its naive of you to think the league will back off of their desire for a hard cap and rollbacks just because the players “laughed at” it. This is a highly fluid situation with these negotiations, and no one can tell exactly what will come out at the end.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Oh, a hard cap is gonna happen, unless they create some new kind of cap rule it will be a hard cap, no doubt about it. The hard cap will more then likely have a clause to “grandfather in” current deals which will still count against the cap, but players will still be eligable for trades and will receive all of their contracted salary (unless their is a required % payback at the end of the season to make up for a difference in the BRI split). Eventually the average “max0 salary in the new deal will be somewhere around $11-13M a year. Eventually

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Oh and Amar’e was not medically insured for “structural” reasons. More or less he is prone to injury. His knees were just evidence. His eye is not really something thats a concern with the goggles.

  • GoBulls

    CP3 & D WILL….. ummmm NO!? GTFOH and wheres Melo n Stat fittn in that??? Idiot Knick fans!? smh

  • 8off

    opinion of Roy Hibbert on the Knicks as true center 7’3 10 pts 6 rbds a game ?

  • sdsmith

    I am outraged! Before I throw a Thrashing Dolan party, I’ll preface my statements of rage and disappointed by saying, I am living proof that people can change for the better, but what has Dolan heard or seen to make him think that Zeek won’t zeek the Knicks again. Isiah’s had his chance to bring in the big names and was successful in doing so. We had Coach Larry Brown, Starbury, Crawford, Z-bo, Q-Rich, Big Eddie Curry, Wilson chandler, Trevor Ariza, D. Lee, Nate The Great, Channing Frye, and others that I’m too angry to care to remember right now, and it equalled a totally drama-filled, litigated-filled, poor-attitudinal, nasty-spirited finger-pointing losing mess. Ok,Dolan hired Walsh which said that he needed to change the culture of the franchise, which he did, along with miraculously getting us under the salary cap. How does Dolan reward Walsh? “Thanks for everything, but no thanks; I’m going to go take advise from the person that’s played a huge part of putting the franchise in the mess that you just got us out of.”

  • jason kimbrough

    First of all, once an NBA contract is signed, its locked in for the duration of the contract unless a team cuts a player or the said player takes a buy-out to leave. Point is, Amare and Melo cannot take pay cuts. Chris Paul however could be willing to take less money from the Knicks in order to join them and have a chance at challenging for a title. Now its not totally crazy to think he would do that because he is already one of the more marketable players in the NBA. He has endoresments with Right Guard as well as Brand Jordan and Madison Avenue would mean huge attention and publicity for him especially with the Knicks so what he gives up in Salary he could more than make up for in endorsement dollars. Also keep in mind that there are plenty of big guys that would flock to NY to play with a guard like CP.