You can always count on the Knicks to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to controversy. Not content with a hugely overpaid roster, a $10 million a year coach who seems to share his temperament with longtime Knick fan Woody Allen, and a record that's a considerable distance from .500, it seemed like now was the right time for a sexual harassment lawsuit against Isiah Thomas.
Now, I have no idea what the truth of the matter is. I haven't talked one-on-one with Isiah since he was coaching the Pacers, and while I occasionally saw his accuser around the Garden, I never once exchanged words with her. I have no idea what—if anything—happened. What I do know is that this is a lose-lose situation. Either it's true, and Isiah is a seriously slimy dude. Or it's untrue, and Anucha Browne Sanders is a loose cannon who probably should have never been given such a high-ranking position with the Knicks in the first place. Either way, the responsibilty rests with the same man—Jim Dolan.
On the court, things aren't that much better. Eddy Curry continues to appear and disappear like some sort of Doug Henning trick, Stephon's shoulder is obviously more messed-up than he wants to let on, and halfway through the season, LB is STILL trying to settle on a rotation. About the best news they've gotten is Jerome James's sprained neck—which has put him in a comical neck brace, and more importantly, keeps him off the court. There have been some positives, including Qyntel Woods's surgence, David Lee and Channing Frye's continued progress, and Maurice Taylor's emergence as an LJ-like post presence (making up for lack of athleticism with guile and craftiness). Also, they didn't trade for Ricky Davis, Mark Blount or Michael Olowokandi. Then again, they didn't trade for Ron Artest, either.
I'd expect the Knicks to make some changes before the trade deadline. They have some excess parts—Jerome James, Trevor Ariza, Malik Rose and an increasingly disgruntled seeming Quentin Richardson. But they can't trade anymore draft picks, and God knows who would want to take on the contracts of James, Rose and Q. And if they pursued a true point guard, they'd probably need to get rid of one of their three undersized guards—Marbury, Crawford or Nate Robinson. Robinson seems the most likely to move on. While he's a fan favorite and a burst of energy off the bench, he's an incredible defensive liability on a team that isn't all that good defensively to begin with. Another team might be able to do a better job of hiding him.
They'll also need to figure out what to do with Antonio Davis, who comes off his suspension on Tuesday night against the Lakers. He seems like a good guy to have in the locker room (provided his wife's not around), but he also wants to play. And it seems silly to take away minutes from Frye and Lee (and Taylor, as well). Besides, by the time this team's ready to win anything, Antonio will be old and gray. Um, older and grayer.
On another note, Chris Andersen kicked out of the League (for a minimum of two years) for failing a drug test? And, from what it sounds, it must have been one of the worst drugs—cocaine, meth, or heroin. The stories published on it made it clear that he HADN'T ever tested positive for steroids, and you only get booted for a third (or is it fourth?) positive test.
The funny part is that I just saw Andersen when the Hornets came to town last weekend. I was working on a piece about where players go out in their home city, and he seemed really eager to discuss it, though not in the locker room. He gave me his cell number and Tmobile address, and told me to call him on Tuesday. I asked whether they had found spots in Oklahoma City, and he just looked at me with a big smile.
I caught up with him Tuesday afternoon, but he was busy, and wanted me to call him back. And by the time I did get back to him, it was 11:45 p.m. Eastern, and he was already in bed. I tried him the rest of the week to no avail, and found out about his dismissal from the L on Friday night.
I just hope that when his two years are up, the Birdman comes back better than ever.