LongIsland.com

More of ‘The Question’ than ‘The Answer’

Written by sports  |  16. December 2006

Allen Iverson would just make a bad Knicks team worse Isiah Thomas alert. A high-paid guard with a long term contract and a bad attitude is available. And his team has already made it perfectly clear that he is not returning, with him staying home and his locker cleaned out. With the specter of James Dolan hovering above him, could the Knicks' head coach/General Manager make a panic move to try and save his job(s)? One thing that Dolan has been consistent with is him giving Thomas the full season to show that the team has made significant progress, further undefined. He made that statement when Larry Brown was fired and Thomas appointed, and again recently after the Knicks have looked almost as anemic as they did last season. As things stand now, the Knicks will not finish with a much better record than the 23-59 disaster under Brown. They may even equal or be below that win total. Even a casual watcher of the team can see the difference in the spark and energy that many of the players bring under Thomas. But what has transcended from that is the Knicks fall behind by double digits in the first half; make a great run in the second only to fall short at the final buzzer. And this has taken place at home more than on the road. Currently, the Knicks are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, 3 1/2 games ahead of the last place Philadelphia 76ers. The entire division is playing awful, with the New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics tied for the top spot with a 9-13 record. The Sixers are just as desperate as the Knicks, having to send their franchise player home, small home crowds, and dealing with a 10-game losing streak. Philadelphia is going to get low-balled when they finally do trade Iverson. General Manager Billy King didn't help himself by telling Iverson to go home and publicly stating that he was going to be traded. Their bargaining power went out the window with that. They are also hoping to package Chris Webber in any deal, which will be difficult to do with his expensive contract and deteriorating skills. The rumors that began as soon as Iverson was put on the block have been everything from to the Nets for Vince Carter to complicated three-team deals including the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers. One minute you hear the Miami Heat are close to getting him, and the next thing it's a completely different team. The Knicks haven't been mentioned too much in the Iverson banter. But you have to figure that Thomas at least inquired about what contracts he can unload in a deal. The first to go would have to be Stephon Marbury. Whatever welcome he had when he arrived is long worn out. His game is getting as bad as his attitude. In Friday night's 112-96 loss at Indiana, the self-proclaimed 'Starbury' scored a whopping six points on two for six shooting from the field. He only played a total of 23 minutes, partially because he hit his knee in the second quarter and also because he was ineffective in the third. This has just been a bad match that appeared to be a great one when Thomas acquired him from Phoenix. Depending on who leaves, taking on another high-priced 'me-first' guard like Iverson is the last thing the Knicks need. Picture Marbury, Steve Francis, Iverson and Nate Robinson all trying to find minutes and shots. Pretty ugly. Philadelphia is not looking for any contracts that do not expire after this season, so there really isn't a match with the Knicks. But Thomas may see Iverson as a player that can bring some more life into Madison Square Garden and give them a push where they can sneak into the playoffs. That isn't much of an accomplishment in the Eastern Conference, but would it be enough to satisfy Dolan's ultimatum? The future of the Knicks lies with Lee, Robinson, Balkman, Eddy Curry and Jared Jefferies. Not with another pouting guard looking to make highlight reels instead of passes.

Copyright © 1996-2020 LongIsland.com & Long Island Media, Inc. All rights reserved.