I haven't had much to say about the swirling possibilities of management moves that seem bound to happen as a result of this shittiness. Maybe it's just hard for me to envision a solution from my perspective as a suffering fan. For his part, Henry Abbott has had a few things to say about the prospect of firing Isiah Thomas:
I'm just trying to think a few more steps ahead. What's it going to take to make this team win? I'm certain that the answer is not on the sidelines, but in the front office, where somebody needs to shake this organization right down its core. I have no idea who it might be (Glen Grunwald? Donnie Walsh? Jerry Colangelo?) but someone needs to map out a long-term plan to fix the culture of this sick organization. It'll mean wholesale roster changes and a radically different approach to the game of basketball.
Dumping Isiah Thomas might be a small part of that process. But splitting up with your coach and your GM is not like splitting up with your high school girlfriend. The playoffs are not a dance you can attend stag. You need both, and they both need to be extremely good in this highly competitive environment.
Who comes next matters a lot more than when Isiah Thomas's run ends.
The road to a good Knicks team starts with making the correct difficult decisions about how to handle all these massive salaries. Someone needs to make the magic list of who stays (I guess David Lee, Renaldo Balkman, Nate Robinson, maybe Eddy Curry), how you get rid of everyone else, and who you replace them with. And then someone has to have the skill and owner support to make those changes.
And that process will almost certainly take a couple of years, and it will almost certainly result in a young team.
The right coach, the coach who'll be on the sidelines when the Knicks are next great, will probably arrive on the scene after most of that bloodletting has taken place.
My point being: if you could wave a magic wand and replace Isiah Thomas with any coach in the league, I doubt you would have fixed much. Larry Brown couldn't make it work. Isiah Thomas couldn't make it work. You really think [insert name here] (who -- who are you going to get? -- Jeff Van Gundy is the best big name out there, everyone gets all aflutter about Phil Jackson) is going to make Stephon Marbury, Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford and company into winners?
If the massive quoting doesn't work for you, just go read the whole article. It's good. However, I don't entirely agree.
Isiah and the previous coach who must not be named have something in common. They've made themselves bigger than the team. Isiah has a funky background, a bizarre history of media relations, and an ugly court case to distract attention from the New York Knicks. His predecessor was arrogant and surly, and made a point of separating himself from his struggling squad. Basically, the two both surrendered to the glaring media spotlight of New York and allowed their team to become a circus. Isiah's had even more opportunity to let things get out of hand, as he's filling two roles as coach and GM.
So let's say you fired Isiah. What's the solution? Abbott mentions a few big names: Jeff Van Gundy and such. I say to hell with the big names. The Knicks are stacked with talent. All they need is a guy to stand them up, punch them in the balls, and get their acts together. They need some legitimate tough love, without any drama or media nonsense. A change of culture. I contest that someone like this already exists on the roster, and that man is Herb Williams.
I don't know how many of you have seen or heard any of Herb, but he's a big, imposing man who doesn't waste words and doesn't fuck around. He was forgettable as a player, has no head coaching experience outside of the interim, and no ego to protect. Herb just isn't a guy from whom you'd expect these kinds of shenanigans that are currently crippling the team. I don't know if this means rebuilding or keeping the roster as is, but it's not a risky or costly move. Why not give it a shot?
So, there it is. I nominate Herb Williams as head coach of the New York Knicks. No more BS. No more excuses. No more drama. Just gimme Herb.