NEW YORK (AP) Isiah Thomas is back in the New York Knicks organization as a consultant, two years after he was fired as coach and team president.
The Knicks announced Thomas’ role Friday, saying he would “assist the team’s senior management in various capacities, including player recruitment.”
He assisted the team in that area during free agency, when the Knicks landed Amare Stoudemire. He also was sent to Ohio to talk to representatives from LeBron James, who eventually signed with Miami.
Team president Donnie Walsh thanked Thomas during the press conference for Stoudemire, sparking reports that Thomas would return to the organization, perhaps even as general manager.
Thomas, a Hall of Famer with the Detroit Pistons, had a dismal run as team president from December 2003-April 2008, with the Knicks missing the playoffs every year despite often having the league’s highest payroll. He was also the coach the final two seasons, getting dismissed after a 23-59 season in 2007-08.
Despite losing hundreds of games and a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former team employee that cost the organization $11.6 million, Thomas has remained close to Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan and Walsh even while coaching Florida International University, a job he will keep.
“I’m excited to once again be a part of the New York Knicks organization,” Thomas said in a statement. “I was honored to have been asked to help during the recent free agent recruiting process, and believe that this new role takes full advantage of my skill set as an evaluator of basketball talent.”
Statement from the Knicks:
Isiah Thomas has been named a consultant to the New York Knicks, it was announced today in a joint statement by Knicks President Donnie Walsh and MSG Chairman James L. Dolan. In this role, Mr. Thomas will assist the team’s senior management in various capacities, including player recruitment.
“Isiah Thomas brings unique experience as a Hall of Fame player, coach, executive and owner, and we believe having him as part of our organization will be extremely beneficial to the team’s success. Isiah was helpful to the team’s senior management during our most recent recruitment efforts, including assisting with the acquisition of Amar’e Stoudemire. He will provide valuable insight and analysis of young prospects from around the world. Isiah will remain head coach of FIU, and that will continue to be his primary responsibility.”
“I’m excited to once again be a part of the New York Knicks organization. I was honored to have been asked to help during the recent free agent recruiting process, and believe that this new role takes full advantage of my skill set as an evaluator of basketball talent. While I will of course continue in my role as FIU’s coach, I look forward to working with Donnie, Coach D’Antoni and all of the Knicks staff to help bring a championship back to New York,” said Mr. Thomas.
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