Starting over is Thomas' last resort

Isiah Thomas claims he doesn't want to blow up the Knicks just yet. Could trading Antonio McDyess be enough to fix the Knicks?

Updated: December 30, 2003, 9:51 AM ET
By Chad Ford | NBA Insider
Last week, upon word that Isiah Thomas had taken over as president of the Knicks, Insider's advice was simple -- burn the entire team down.

Apparently, we weren't the only ones telling Thomas the obvious. Thomas told reporters this weekend that he talked to four NBA people whom he respects, and all gave him the same advice. "They are all in agreement that the best way to do it is to blow it up," Thomas told the N.Y. Times. "Everyone I've talked to about this situation has given me the advice to start all over and get under the salary cap."

Why such a dour prediction? Because the Knicks aren't close to making the Finals with the group they have. The guys who aren't contributing anything but take up an enormous amount of cap space -- Shandon Anderson, Howard Eisley and Clarence Weatherspoon -- can't be moved. Other players, like Allan Houston and Keith Van Horn, are contributing, but they, too, take up a lot of cap space. Combined, Houston and Van Horn make a little over $29 million this year.

Thomas' only tradeable pieces at the moment are good players with short-term contracts. If he could move guys like Antonio McDyess, Kurt Thomas or Charlie Ward, he might be able to acquire young players and draft picks in return. Thomas then could start rebuilding with a couple of veterans (Houston, Van Horn) and several promising young players (Frank Williams, Michael Sweetney and Maciej Lampe) already in place.

Despite the advice, Thomas claims he won't go in that direction.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer