The Knicks might be the embarrassment of the NBA, but they're an embarrassment just about every executive in the NBA would love to get their hands on. According to several team executives from around the league, it would be in James Dolan's best interest not to rush to hire a replacement for Isiah Thomas.
And to make sure to not be seduced by famous names that already have been tossed around in the media frenzy.
"It's unfortunate, but I doubt that New York would consider someone without name recognition," said a top executive from an NBA team. "They would be missing out on a great candidate."
The fact that Thomas remains employed -- though it seems a tenuous situation to all observers -- is why all of the team executives (team presidents, general managers, etc.) who spoke with Newsday are hesitant to discuss the situation publicly. But there's little doubt that if Dolan vacates Thomas' position and opens a search, his office would be flooded with applicants of the highest regard.
"Everyone who is in the NBA who is not going for an NBA championship is interested; they're going to get the pick of the crop," another GM said, citing the New York market, the cache of the Garden and, of course, a famously loyal owner who is never shy about spending money to win as reasons why the 19-48 Knicks are such an attractive opportunity.
That crop could include respected front office types such as Dennis Lindsay, who is RC Buford's assistant in San Antonio, or Steve Kerr's right hand man in Phoenix, David Griffin.
As for candidates currently holding lead positions with an NBA team, who has proved to have the ability to quickly turn around a franchise more than Portland Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard?
Bryan Colangelo is another highly-respected name among current young GMs in the NBA and his track record in turning the Toronto Raptors
into a playoff contender is well documented.