LNP wishes everyone a Happy Easter. Now, the talk radio and NBA studio pundits are spinning their wheels and spewing their wrath about Isiah Thomas’ impending return to the New York Knicks. You should be talking about how Dwight Howard has high-jacked the Orlando Magic organization and will force their management team to trade him to the Brooklyn Nets. Isiah Thomas’ footprints are all over the Knicks organization and he’s now merely being included on the payroll. He NEVER LEFT!!! The pundits can joke about the “Bro-mance” or the “infatuation” that exists between Isiah and Dolan, but the writing has always been on the wall. If you have any questions about Isiah’s power with the Knicks – just ask Donnie Walsh. Yesterday, tt became official when the NY Knicks management informed Donnie Walsh (consultant) that he’s free to discuss executive opportunities with other teams. Is it really a coincidence that it happens on the same day Florida International University terminates Isiah’s contact.
Did Isiah ever leave the Knicks organization? It’s been thoroughly documented about his failures (2003-2008) as the Basketball CZAR. To further discuss the conspiracy theory: In 2008, Donnie Walsh was hired to run the operations, he supposedly banished Isiah away from day-to-day operations. There’s always been a huge disconnect with operations people and ownership – See http://go.lnp.tv/wp6r3C for additional details.
James Dolan continued to use Isiah Thomas as his chief advisor on:
- Courting LeBron James to sign with the Knicks.
- Gave credit to Isiah for the Amar’e Stoudemire max deal signing (as mentioned in his press conference)
- Trying to hire Isiah as a consultant while still an employee at FIU
- Involved in Carmelo Anthony trade (while Walsh and D’Antoni were clueless during the All-Star break)
- Installing Glen Grunwald as interim General Manager (Isiah’s former Indiana University teammate)
- Hiring Mike Woodson as defensive specialist for Mike D’Antoni (backup plan and Isiah’s former Indiana University teammate)
A better question is why did David Stern turn a blind eye and only address the Dolan / Isiah relationship on only one occasion? Sadly, if you’re not over 25, then you’ve only heard about Isiah Thomas the executive train wreck and not one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players. Isiah is on the record for saying that he’ll get LeBron James to sign with the NY Knicks in 2014 – when he opts out with the Miami Heat. (delusional) The NBA’s elite tend to gravitate toward Isiah for his basketball knowledge as a former player —-it was evident during the lockout when LeBron James and Dwayne Wade decided to put together the South Florida All Starr Classic. The event was held at FIU with Isiah Thomas serving as master of ceremony and portions of the proceeds went to the FIU First generation Scholarship Fund.
It’s only now, that Isiah can openly fulfill (back on payroll) his current role as Dolan’s chief advisor and advanced talent scout. I understand the talent scout role and wonder what happens this off-season —Does opposing general manager’s contact Isiah directly or place a customary call to interim GM Glen Grunwald to discuss trades. Does Grunwald tell opposing GMs that he’ll call them aback after speaking with Isiah Thomas?
In The Zone Takeway: Isiah Thomas has never left the organization – so you can’t say he’s returning!
The Barclays Center is one of the most anticipated arena slated to open on September 28th 2012. It’s a sports entertainment showplace that is located in the heart of downtown Brooklyn. This venue is putting Madison Square Garden on notice and don’t think Jim Dolan isn’t aware of it’s immediate competition. Did you know Brooklyn hasn’t held a major venue since the Brooklyn Dodgers left in 1957? In October 2012 – the re-branded Brooklyn Nets will call the Barclays Center it’s home. It will be the first National Basketball Association venue opened since 2008.
The project is being developed by developer Bruce Ratner (Nets Minority Owner), who acquired the Nets in 2004, with the purpose of moving them from New Jersey. This site is located near the Atlantic Avenue – Pacific Street subway station (which will have 9 subway lines) and the Long Island Rail Road”s Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. It’s one of the most transit-accessible locations in the country. The Barclays Center will have 104 suites and be a state-of-the-art arena built for basketball and sight lines.
The Barclays Center will celebrate it’s opening with the following events:
- Rapper / Nets minority owner Jay-Z plans to open the Barclays Center by performing in a series of concerts. Sept 2012
- Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions will bring boxing to the Barclays Center on October 20. Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi is expected to be on the card.
- The first college basketball game played in the new arena – Maryland Terrapins and Kentucky Wildcats. Nov 2012
- After nearly a decade of performing annual concerts in Madison Square Garden, Italian tenorAndrea Bocelli will make his Brooklyn debut at the venue, December 5, 2012, making it his only New York City performance in 2012.
- Barclays Center will be the new New York City home of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice and Champions on Ice. The Barclays Center’s first Disney on Ice show is expected to be “100 Years of Magic”.
- The Atlantic 10 Conference has announced that the Barclays Center will host the conference’s mens basketball tournament beginning in 2013.
It’s been suggested that the New York Islanders could play games at the Barclays Center after their lease is up at at the Nassau Coliseum in 2015. Since the arena is primarily configured for basketball – the seating could be re-arranged for hockey, but would only be able to seat 14,500 in it’s current hockey configuration – which would make it the lowest seating capacity in the National Hockey League.
There are currently 2.5 MIL people living in Brooklyn and an additional 2MIL people living in Queens. So, the notion of their not being enough people to span between MSG and the Barclays isn’t an issue. The Barclays Center is it’s own brand and primary venue with it’s combination of ease of mass-transportation / residential and office buildings. Historically, downtown Brooklyn was always an entertainment district.
The only notion that hasn’t been addressed are the plight of New Jersey / Brooklyn Nets. Will the venue and majority owner Mikhail Prokorov be able to draw big-market talent to play at the arena. Those questions can only be answered by General Manager Billy King, Head Coach Avery Johnson, All-Star Point Guard, Derron Williams and their coveted Free Agent Center – Dwight Howard. There are alot of questions marks swirling around the NJ/BKYLN Nets. You can definitely look for Jay-Z to take the lead on re-branding the team logos / uniforms / etc.
It’s all about Brooklyn with the Barclays Center.
Did I get your attention? Are you aware of how the NY Knicks front office is structured? Yes – sounds like Matrix management 101. Correct? If not, let’s talk about it – after “CEO” James Dolan forced the “GREAT” Donnie Walsh out the door – the organizational chart morphed to GM by committee. Please note that James Dolan has ALL the say and listens to his own advisor.
- Glen Grunwald – Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations
- Allan Houston – Assistant General Manager / GM, Erie BayHawks *HEIR APPARENT GM*
- John Gabriel – Director, Pro Scouting, Free Agency
- Mark Warkentien – Director, Player and Pro Player Personnel
- Isiah Thomas – FIU Coach, Un-Official Advisor to James Dolan *HONORABLE MENTION*
OK, so in my opinion, the un-official – NY Knicks GM is none other than Small Forward – Carmelo Anthony. Last season, Carmelo Anthony held the Denver Nuggets hostage – the 24 hour news cycle replayed audio of Melo refusing to be a rental player and solely focusing on getting to New York and executing his max contract prior to the lockout. The hell with that fact the NY Knicks had to gut the team for their superstar small forward. It’s still a mystery – who was working with James Dolan and why Amare’ Stoudemire was more informed than former-GM-Donnie Walsh and Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. Now, you possess the best front court in basketball – but, you’re missing the key piece – an awesome point guard to quarterback the offense.
Now, there’s talk of Carmelo requesting the Knicks to pick up Kenyon Martin with the remainder of their mid-level player exception – a player that won’t be available until March 2012, due to his contract. Not discounting Martin, but he’s never been healthy for an extended period of time. Not a fan of this idea – but where would you play him? Who loses out on minutes? Carmelo must have a master plan!
Shouldn’t we focus on playing DEFENSE and SACK the Point Forward experiment. You have to find out a way for Amare’ and Carmelo to co-exist (not sure if this can happen) until wildcard – Baron Davis is healthy enough to play point guard. Mike D’Antoni (the offensive guru) isn’t the answer and is on borrowed time and Melo taking 31 shots to get 35 points is a recipe for destruction. Mike Woodson & Tyson Chandler – please enforce your will. If not, then I’m sure Phil Jackson is sitting in Montana somewhere awaiting Melo’s phone call. I’m un-sure of the chatter of Amare’ being dangled as trade bait for Dwight Howard – because you still need someone to distribute the ball.
My thoughts are Glen Grunwald continues as the person on the books handling the bulk of the duties. Behind the scenes – Melo is by proxy the De-facto GM through Mark Warkentien for the immediate future. Warkentien is a former Denver Nuggets senior executive that was hired by the NY Knicks prior to the Melo acquisition. Warkentien has the chops and experience to deal with Isiah whispering in Dolan’s ear and ability to be a puppet for pupper master – Carmelo Anthony.
The 2013 NY Knicks starting five could look like:
- Carmelo Anthony – Small Forward
- Tyson Chandler – Power Forward
- Dwight Howard – Center
- Iman Shumpert – Shooting Guard
- Deron Williams – Point Guard
Now, this lineup allows Melo to hold the ball at the top of the key – drop step – and jack up 15 foot jump shots – 30 Xs a night.
Has the title of general manager become obsolete? (At season’s end – each professional sports league will award an Executive of the Year.) Not discounting the work, the qualifications or even the input. We’re just not sure at that very moment that an owner won’t swoop in and go, “No, that’s mine.”
TODAY – we examine the National Basketball Association – In the 80s and 90s, the general manager essentially stood as the final word on all things sports related. It’s true because – he was the one entrusted to see all, hear all and know all. During the NBA free-agency free-for-all of 2010, owners have as much influence in those meetings with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Amare’ Stoudemire as their leading team executives.
- In NEW ORLEANS, it’s become clear that Dell Demps hardly is the final word on basketball decisions. (Far from it) David Stern is the FINAL word on all things concerning New Orleans Hornets Basketball.
- In LOS ANGELES, Mitch Kupchak hardly could have viewed dumping Lamar Odom and the Kardashians to Dallas for a low end draft choice as a basketball move. But these days, who knows what Jim Buss is up to? Please don’t ask Kobe Bryant – because he definitely doesn’t know either.
- In DALLAS, Mark Cuban has long had final say on all matters personnel, with Donnie Nelson as much facilitator as closer.
- In NEW YORK, Jim Dolan negotiates directly with free agents and is advised by Isiah Thomas, while (then) GM Donnie Walsh and Head Coach Mike D’Antoni are waiting at home to hear updates from its owner. It’s another conversation and another article on who’s the real GM of the New York Knicks and it’s not who you think! (HINT: It’s not the FIU Basketball Head Coach)
- In NEW JERSEY, it’s Mikhail Prokhorov that will wrestle Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic and overpay Deron Williams to move to Brooklyn and not his chief executive Billy King.
- In LOS ANGELES, while Neil Olshey worked to obtain the services of Chris Paul for the Clippers, it still came down to the ultimate whims of owner Donald T. Sterling.
The NBA lockout made it abundantly clear that there largely is a new breed of owner in the NBA – an owner with more at stake than the previous generation. No longer the investors, these are hands-on types who have their hands in just about every aspect of the operation. Please keep the cameras on the people who matter during the game (that would be the athletes on the field). It doesn’t matter to me how much money these owners put forward or what antics they pull to get attention. The game is to be played on the field and not from the luxury boxes.
Polarizing owners that standout in each sport:
- NBA Basketball – Marc Cuban, Jim Dolan, the Buss family, David Stern
- NFL Football – Jerry Jones, Daniel Snyder and the late Al Davis
- MLB Baseball – The Steinbrenner family
- NHL Hockey – Jim Dolan, Charles Wang
- MLS Soccer (Don Garber and his 2012 fast-track expansion plan) *HONORABLE MENTION*
The General Manager – once considered a heralded position, now – nothing more than an employee. Would you like fries with that shake?
There’s no bigger star in sports right now than Tim Tebow. He’s all over the news, billboards, and television. With the NBA Lockout in full swing, even professional basketball players are watching and following No. 15. To the media, Tim Tebow is an angel. He will stick around to do a second interview if a camera fails, he smiles while he’s answering questions – some he’s answered 15 times before, and he’s very polite using “sir” or “ma’am” if he didn’t hear the question.
The 24HR news cycle is discussing his Christianity or whether or not HE deserves be the Denver Broncos starting quarterback (current record is 3-1). Heck, there’s even talk about whether John Elway and John Fox are setting him up for failure. (Supposedly since the new brain-trust didn’t draft him) With Tebow – It’s all about JESUS and his desire and determination to play the game of football. That’s why it’s good to see Tebow just being Tebow.
To ALL the HATER’s – His documentary from last year Tim Tebow: Everything In Between was recently released on DVD. (Nov 8th)
Below you’ll find a promo of short clip of outtakes and it’s highly entertaining.