The worst-kept secret in the history of secrets is that the Knicks want to sign LeBron James after this season. It's hard to think of anything they wouldn't do for a chance to put the King in front of adoring Garden crowds.
If James wanted Mike D'Antoni to shave his moustache and wear sweater vests, you'd see a whole new coach on the sidelines. He wants Danilo Gallinari to stop styling his hair like a "Jersey Shore" character and sing like a Venetian gondolier? O Sole Mio for one and all. He wants them to play Eddy Curry 40 minutes a night? Well, there may actually be some limits to what they'd do.
You have to wonder, though, if they really want to have Isiah Thomas as part of their marketing campaign. The man who proved that the Knicks were not too big to fail is certainly the kind of person whose advice you listen to with a smile and a nod of the head before doing the exact opposite. So it's a mixed blessing, at best, that Thomas said in an interview that he'd recommend the Knicks to LeBron.
"If Jim Dolan owns the team, because I know he looks out for the players, looks out for the franchise," Thomas said. "Everything is first-class and above."
We'll finish that last sentence. Everything is first-class and above, except the team. Say this for Thomas and Dolan, they really seem to have been made for one another.
Dolan was looking for a famous pal to make him feel like a real playboy owner, regardless of what kind of job he did running the team. Thomas was looking for someone with boatloads of money to hand him the keys to a basketball team and not care at all if he drove it directly into a ditch, lit it on fire and sexually harrassed the paramedic who came to help him.
That's good news if James is looking to have sex with interns in the back of SUVs, but we'll assume that isn't his top priority when choosing where to sign a contract this summer. James is going to be cared for and treated to first-class life as long as he plays for anyone other than the Nets.
Isiah's words probably won't wind up having any impact on LeBron's eventual decision. All the same, we wish he'd said that James should stay in Cleveland because "playing in the Midwest turned me into the man I am today." That would have gone a long way toward forcing James toward Manhattan.