When James Dolan and Isiah Thomas claimed Larry Brown was fully in favor of the Jalen Rose and Stevie Franchise deals, were they just hearing what they wanted to? From Newsday’s Greg Logan.
Dolan and Thomas issued statements but were not available for comment yesterday, and Brown did not make himself available. But a person familiar with Brown’s position recently suggested this is the ending Thomas wanted all along.
“The bottom line is Isiah wants to coach the team,” the person said. “That’s it. If you’re going to tell everybody, ‘These are great players and we should have won a lot of games,’ what are you left with?”
Brown upset the Knicks during the season when he feuded with point guard Stephon Marbury, was highly critical of a variety of players and used a league-record 42 different starting lineups in an effort to find a combination he liked. Dolan was particularly upset that Brown approved trades for high-priced Jalen Rose and Steve Francis and then quickly soured on both.
That subject came up at yesterday’s meeting, which also included Garden sports operations president Steve Mills. When Brown said he simply went along with Thomas on those deals, Dolan challenged Brown’s version and essentially called him a liar.
According to a person familiar with details of the firing, Brown “begged for [Rose and Francis]. Two weeks later, he said, ‘You’ve got to get rid of them.’”
The person familiar with Brown’s thinking said the coach agreed to the Rose trade only after other deals he wanted were turned down. According to his version, .Thomas wanted Rose’s expiring contract as an asset to trade and told the coach that Rose wouldn’t be on the team next season.
The Francis deal at the February trade deadline raised eyebrows around the league because he has three years and $48 million remaining on his deal and plays the same position as Marbury. Brown wanted Denver point guard Earl Watson to run the offense and allow Marbury to shift to a shooting-guard role.
“At the last minute, Isiah said, ‘This guy is a huge asset, and I can do something with him,’” the person familiar with Brown’s thinking said.
Possibly taking a tip from an old Al Franken bit on “Weekend Update”, the New York Post’s Peter Vescey survey’s Larry Brown’s departure from MSG and wonders how this will affect…Peter Vescey.
My initial selfish reaction regarding the fit of temporary sanity by the boss of Cablevision, or, for that matter, anything that’s particularly newsworthy, never wavers: Is it good or bad for the column?
Not having Next Town around anymore to rubdown on a regular basis can only be viewed as detrimental. How many other sports collectibles can be counted on to leave themselves incessantly wide open for censure while building a gaudy 23-59 resume?
I’m certainly not about to fault Brown for failing to capture the hearts and minds of New York’s citizenry like the 2012 Olympics. I can’t remember my go-to guy, long after his team had qualified for a lottery it was no longer eligible to compete in, lasting four rounds into the playoffs. I’m already fretting about the bin of blank space in the coming weeks and months I’ll have to figure out how to fill on my own.
On the other hand, tapering the targets does have its benefits. Sans Next Town, there’s one less person liable, ahem, should the lunacy continue under the exclusive auspices of Dolan, Steve Mills, Isiah Thomas and Stephon Poisonbury. As a career special prosecutor, I’ve found having one fewer Knick to blame is a blessing.
Say this much for the one-year wonder: Brown now has my dream job – getting paid fill-in-the-blank millions to sit on his repaired bladder.
Wizznutzz’ Rex Chapman provides some inside info on several of Washington’s potential draft targets, including :
PG Junichiro Sugiyama, 6’1″, 180 (Japan): You already knew that China was big into b-ball (or at least that China was full of big b-ballers – Yao-za!), but “Shugi Shugi” proves that hardcourt talent can emerge from the Land of the Rising Sun as well. His secret? He has mastered the “hadoken” move from Street Fighter (above), turning his passes into blue fireballs that no opposing defender can intercept, no matter how well he plays the passing lane. Of course, none of Shugi’s teammates can catch the hadoken passes either, but the good people at Wizzarddz Labbz are working on fortified asbestos gloves for Gil and co.