Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK –– Knicks owner Jim Dolan hasn’t taken questions from the media in four years, and he didn’t again on Wednesday.
What Dolan did say during the press conference to introduce Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups as the newest Knicks was that Isiah Thomas had nothing to do with the deal.
“While Isiah Thomas is a good friend of mine, a very good friend of mine, he was not at all involved in this process,” Dolan told a room full of several hundred media types. “He wasn’t advising me or telling me what to do in any way and any reports that imply that he was doing that are simply untrue and a fiction in somebody’s mind.”
Dolan went out of his way to praise Donnie Walsh, the team’s 69-year-old president whose contract status remains up in the air.
“He has a done a great job since he’s been here, especially putting us in position to even think about adding players of this caliber,” Dolan said. “Donnie is as respected inside our organization as he is throughout the NBA.”
Dolan said he consulted only with Walshand head coach Mike D’Antoni on the 12-player trade that brough ‘Melo to New York late Monday night.
“Donnie, Mike and I were completely coordinated throughout this process from start to finish,” he said. “The idea that we were not in agreement was simply not true. We had multiple meetings and discussions, some good debating, but in the end we were all in complete agreement.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported in a recent column that Thomas was heavily involved in advising Dolan on the ‘Melo deal.
That and other reports portrayed Dolan and Thomas as pushing harder than Walsh wanted to get the Anthony deal done. In the end, the Knicks gave up four of their top six players, three draft picks and $6 million.
“Isiah is calling the shots for New York,” one front-office executive with knowledge of the Anthony trade talks told Yahoo. “It’s a disgrace. Donnie should walk.”
“I have no comment on any of that,” Thomas told the New York Times in Tuesday’s editions.
Asked his thoughts on the trade, Thomas told the paper: “I think with the exception of maybe three teams, every team in the league would be happy to have Carmelo. Those three teams are probably Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago. Outside of that, I think every other team would love to have him.”
On Tuesday, Walsh fired a shot across Thomas’s bow when he was asked about Isiah at the team’s Westchester campus.
“I’m assuming Isiah’s getting ready for the NCAA tournament,” Walsh said. “That’s what I’m assuming.”
FIU is 9-17, 4-10 in the Sun Belt Conference.
As for Walsh’s uncertain future, Dolan said the team would address his status down the road. Various reports have indicated Walsh’s option must be picked up by April 30, but Dolan disputed that.
“He and I agreed to get through the trade deadline and then we will sit down and discuss his contract, which expires in June,” Dolan said. “We will comment on that at the appropriate time.”
(Photo courtesy Albert Coqueran)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.