Though this is hardly new territory, Newsday’s Shaun Powell interviews former Fort Wayne Fury owner Paul Coffey in Sunday’s paper, the subject being onetime CBA chieftan Isiah Thomas.
“He has not been successful as an NBA coach or a businessman,” Coffey said, his voice rising. “He has done nothing well except play the game. He has no business sense. There’s a reason he failed in the CBA and a reason he made the Knicks the worst franchise in basketball. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.
“I feel sorry for the fans. They’re getting screwed. It’s painful to watch the Knicks. They were bad last year, they’ll be bad next year. It won’t change.”
Thomas has constantly refused to comment about the CBA, referring all questions to David Stern.
Speaking of questions, Coffey raised a few: Did the Knicks weigh Thomas’ work in the CBA before they hired him? Did the Knicks bother to check with Pistons owner Bill Davidson, who chose Joe Dumars to run his team instead of Thomas?
“If Isiah was so smart, he would’ve gotten that job instead of Dumars,” Coffey said. “Somebody in New York didn’t do their due diligence. That owner in New York was star-struck, and if you meet Isiah, you are star-struck. We were, too, until we found out he’s not a very nice person, and until people started hesitating because of what they’d heard.”
By all indications, Knicks owner James Dolan will not hesitate. He will keep Thomas and let Thomas make more moves. This means more drafts, more trades, more signings for a team with too many odd parts and too little salary-cap wiggle room.
Dolan has two things in abundance: money in his pocket and faith in Isiah. And he shows no sign of losing either.
If he finally gets tired of one of them – Isiah, not the money – a former CBA owner has a replacement lined up.
“There are five people in my office,” Coffey said, “who can manage the cap, hire talent, realize chemistry and do a better job in their sleep than Isiah.”