Archive for January 3, 2008

Isiah Thomas is On Fire These Days

January 3, 2008 Comments off

Not only does he not see himself trading anyone from his flawed team of two non-defending big men and and over-dribbling guards,

Not only did his team get crushed by an iffy Sacramento team without their three stars Bibby/ Artest/ Kevin Martin,

Not only has Isiah told the media that he would (as GM) evaluate the job he has done as head coach only to come out of the two-week evaluation with the response “we’ll keep moving in this direction [with] me as head coach,”

Not only all of that:

Isiah Thomas predicts a title

Although Isiah Thomas has not won a single playoff game since coming to New York, the Knicks’ embattled president and coach predicted on Wednesday night that the franchise will win an NBA championship.

With Thomas in charge.


Sounding delusional, Thomas appeared to be talking to Garden chairman James Dolan through the media by saying he believes the Knicks will win a title and by reiterating that he has no plans to resign.

“My belief and what I see and where I believe we can go as a team and an organization, I believe one day that we will win a championship here and I believe a couple of these guys will be a part of that,” Thomas said before the Knicks were walloped at the Garden by the depleted Sacramento Kings, 107-97. “I believe I’ll be a part of that.”

Thomas admitted that his comments, which border on the absurd, leave him open for ridicule.

“As I sit here and I say it today, I know people will laugh even more at me, but I’m hell-bent on getting this accomplished and making sure that we get it done. And I’m not leaving until we get it done.”

With Walt Frazier sitting 10 feet away, Thomas even went a step further by stating that his goal is to leave a “legacy” that future Knicks team will live by.

“I don’t necessarily want to win a championship,” Thomas added. “I want to leave something that’s going to stand for a long time. I want to leave a legacy. I want to leave a tradition. I want to leave an imprint, a blueprint in terms of how people play and how they coach and how they respond when they put on a Knick uniform.

“I want to leave what I left in Detroit. Every person who walks through that door as a Piston, when they put on that uniform, there’s a certain pride that they carry. I want to put that here and I want to leave that here in New York. I want to leave a championship legacy.”

Of course, Thomas’ legacy after four years is a losing record, bad trades, poor free agent signings, a bloated payroll and a sexual harassment lawsuit won by a former female employee.

“This is a dark time for us, but I know there’s a light at the end of this tunnel and I’m going to keep digging and I’m going to keep pushing and I’m not going to quit. I’m going to do it here,” he said.

And from Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News:

Before the Knicks’ latest stinker, a 107-97 defeat to the depleted Kings, Thomas talked about doing more than just winning a championship in New York. Now he’s all about “leaving a legacy, a tradition, an imprint and a blueprint.”

Of all the nonsense Thomas has put forth during his four-plus years on the job, this might have been his strangest, saddest moment.

Thomas didn’t violate the Garden’s media policy.

He violated common sense, objective reality and something commonly referred to as the God’s honest truth.

When Thomas spoke of leaving the kind of legacy here that he left in Detroit, he, in effect, took full credit for the Pistons’ back-to-back titles, never mentioning owner Bill Davidson, GM Jack McCloskey, Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly or any of his teammates. Either out of respect or utter disbelief, no one so much as giggled.

This is proof that we fans just shouldn’t take sports so seriously. This kind of lunacy doesn’t really fly in our personal lives, does it? Probably not. Maybe it’s time, for Knick fans especially, to just go and pick up a new hobby. Like knitting. Or reading great works. Or building miniature furniture.

Speaking of which, I think I’ll be watching the Wire instead of the Knicks, maybe even reading this Wire blog. You should watch the Wire too.

Categories: Knicks

Meanwhile, Cities and Stadiums Come Together in a Marriage of Bad Priorities

January 3, 2008 Comments off

AIA picture of historic Wrigley FieldFrom here in Chicago, Mayor Daley II the Benevolent has softened his former stance on having a state agency purchase venerable Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. The whole idea of using tax-exempt bonds through an “independent” state agency means that the public has little say on how we, the taxpayers, incur debt– these bonds do not come up to a vote. And the seller of the field can make his own price, make off with more upfront taxpayer loot, when surely a private firm would buy the aging ball field.

From the Sun-Times:

Two weeks after condemning the idea, Mayor Daley on Wednesday changed his tune about the idea of having a state agency acquire and renovate Wrigley Field.

“I have an open mind. . . . I always have an open mind on an issue. And why not? You should have it,” the mayor said….

“Well, I think they realize it’s much more complicated . . . and that’s very, very important. We have a crisis at the CTA, and we have to get that crisis over with for both the CTA and Metra for long-term funding. That is the priority we should have,” he said….

Last month, the mayor appeared to be dead-set against the idea of having the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority — which built U.S. Cellular Field — acquire and renovate Wrigley.

“We can’t even get any money for the CTA, and they’re worried about the Chicago Cubs? They’ve made money every year. It’s very profitable and some way we’re supposed to bail them out? . . . It’s hard to believe,” Daley said on that day….

Since then, sources said the mayor and his staff have been fully briefed on a deal that would guarantee Zell a huge up-front payment for Wrigley — tens of millions higher than he might otherwise receive selling the stadium privately — by having the ISFA use its power to issue tax-exempt, longer-term bonds at a reduced interest rate.

The bonds would be retired by 30 years of stadium rent from a new owner who would sign an “ironclad commitment” to remain at Wrigley during that time.

“They now understand what it is that’s been proposed. There’s a lot of positives here for the city and state,” said a source familiar with the deal.

The only issue would be the name; most purchasers would want to make some cake back on the naming rights, rebranding the stadium AT&T’s Wrigley Field… or US Cellular Field or something ridiculous like that. But the chair of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority has mentioned using naming rights with a corporate attachment… so I have no idea why the state of Illinois is so gung-ho about talking about this non-issue of a rich guy who wants more upfront loot, and the governing body extremely willing to enable him.

From another article in the Sun-Times:

Tax dollars could be used to fund neighborhood improvements tied to the renovation of Wrigley Field, but the stadium deal will not go to the Legislature until the mass transit crisis is resolved, a statewide capital plan is approved and the casino gambling issue is decided, a top official said Friday.

“If restoration includes things for the neighborhood — like parking — then using tax dollars for that would not be inappropriate,” said former Gov. James R. Thompson, chairman of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the state agency that built U.S. Cellular Field and could acquire and renovate Wrigley.

But, Thompson warned, “That can’t happen until all of these other issues are settled. They [state lawmakers] would look at me and say, ‘You’re crazy. We have to get those three other things first.'”…

New Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell said this week he hopes to sell the Cubs and the stadium by opening day, March 31. But Zell said he has delayed the sale of the team until he determines prospects for a state acquisition of Wrigley that he called “very beneficial” for the Cubs, the city, the state and the “future of Major League Baseball in this city.”…

Referring to Zell, Thompson said, “He’s the seller. I’m waiting for him to tell me what he wants for Wrigley Field. Then we can say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ . . . The less the ballpark costs, the more resources [from future rent and naming rights] we could use for restoration.”

Thompson said Wrigley “desperately needs restoration,” but he won’t know how much it would cost or how it would be financed until the Cubs’ new owners decide how far they want to go and until architects and engineers do an inspection of the stadium.

The Cubs have a long way to go before they would even think of leaving the city of Chicago; and many outlets would pony up the money to keep the team and the field on Addison. And this open pocketbook conversation is a serious disservice to the image of fiscal responsibility, especially in light of the Chicago Transit Authority’s issues– the main city in the state wants the Olympics, but can’t even keep its transit system in the black, let alone expand/ fix the system to make it appropriate for thousands upon thousands of visiting Olympic attendees, let alone the people who have to slog to work on the trains and buses.