We called it, folks! When Isiah Thomas wasn't completely eliminated from the Knicks' front office, we all speculated that he might be headed overseas to do some scouting. Sure enough, Europe's got its most notorious visitor since the Bubonic Plague. From Fox Sports:
According to a source close to Thomas, president Donnie Walsh dispatched Thomas last week to France and Italy. Not a bad absentee job. Thomas is not just there for the cuisine and wine. Walsh wanted him to scout two lottery possibilities in Danilo Gallinari and Nicolas Batum.
It was Thomas' first assignment since being fired as head coach April 18, two days after the season, and reassigned to a role with no title. Walsh said he would seek his advice, and The Post reported the former Knicks president/coach likely would have no office.
There's a chance Thomas also will show up for the pre-draft camp in Orlando, May 27-30.
Thomas watched Gallinari, who plays for Milan, and Batum, of Lemans, in their club-league games. This week the Italian League and French League hold their playoffs. D'Antoni once played for Milan.
Walsh said the Knicks, who don't have a foreign player, will be more involved internationally with D'Antoni.
"I think Mike has a great feel for international players," Walsh said.
If you don't know, Gallinari and Batum are Italian and French respectively, and are long, sweet-shooting swingmen who might very faithfully fit D'Antoni's system. They're both projected to in the middle or late part of the lottery. While neither is the point guard we'd probably be looking for if we were to trade or fall into the lower lottery, both are certainly worth a look.
Meanwhile, it's good to know that Isiah is staying occupied and useful, and any hint at the Knicks finally exploring overseas is a welcome one.