03.27.08

Ken Berger’s Fascinating Chat With Someone Who Might Not Be A Lame Duck

Posted in Basketball at 1:16 am by

While the Knicks managed to beat the hapless Heat, 103-96 in OT last night at the Garden, Newsday’s Ken Berger was in the midst of a bigger story earlier Wednesday. “Donnie (Walsh) gave him life,” said a Berger source of the incoming Knicks president’s history with Isiah Thomas.   “There’s no way he’s going to cut off his legs.”  And there’s also no way Zeke’s gonna provide a straight answer, either.

Given his relationship with Walsh, and Walsh’s reputation as a man of character and honesty, it is inconceivable that Walsh would enter into any talks with the Knicks without speaking with Thomas. So I asked Thomas Wednesday if they’d talked

Thomas has an answer for everything, but this time he paused for 13 seconds, his eyes darting all over the practice gym in Greenburgh.

“To answer that type of question would leave, you know … I can’t,” he said, pausing five more seconds before turning to the P.R. man.

“How do you answer something that hasn’t happened?” Thomas asked him.

Well, usually people say they either had Fruit Loops for breakfast or they didn’t.

“Let’s deal with today,” Thomas said. “My direct report is Steve Mills and Jim Dolan. So any questions you have about that type of stuff, you should talk to those two.”

It’s always risky to interpret body language, but Thomas’ reaction to that question seemed important. And it only supported a notion that three NBA executives proposed Wednesday: Thomas is not a bystander in the transfer of power under way at the Garden. He’s involved in it.

Which is as good an explanation as any for why nothing has happened since Walsh reportedly agreed to take over the Knicks’ basketball operations on Monday night.

“What possibly could be the holdup?” a person involved in the coaching business said. “Parking spaces?”

It was meant as a joke, but parking spaces translate to power; the top guy gets the best one. Power is what this is about — who gets it and how much, who gives it up and how much.

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