Report: Ex-Knicks coach Thomas banned from contacting players

Updated: April 22, 2008, 8:25 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas has been banned from having any contact with members of the team as part of his reassignment agreement with team president Donnie Walsh, the New York Daily News reported, citing a team source.

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Knicks president Donnie Walsh talked about former coach Isiah Thomas and his team on the Kellerman and Kenny Show on 1050 ESPN Radio New York. Listen

Walsh, who replaced Thomas as the Knicks' president, fired him as coach last week after Thomas went 56-108 leading the team, including this season's 23-59 disaster, the franchise's seventh straight losing season. He has been reassigned as an advisor to the team.

According to the report, there is concern that Thomas, if allowed to have any contact with the team, could either willingly or unwillingly undermine its new coach. Thomas acquired all the players on the current Knicks roster as team president.

But the agreement does not prohibit Thomas from speaking to Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, according to the report.

Thomas does not have an official title. He reports directly to Walsh, who said no player brought up Thomas' name during last Thursday's exit meetings.

"I don't want there to be some kind of double-voice here, so he's answering to me and nobody's reporting to him," Walsh said on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York on Tuesday. "… He's not going to be here on a full-time basis anymore. I'll be calling the shots, I'm in charge of the franchise. It's my responsibility where it was his."

Walsh said he wants a new coach in place by the draft in June, when the Knicks will finally have their lottery pick again after handing over their last two to Chicago in the Eddy Curry trade.

ESPN NBA analyst and former Knicks guard Mark Jackson has been portrayed as the front-runner to succeed Thomas.

Walsh said that he plans to bounce ideas off Thomas.

"I think he can scout, I think he has good eye for talent. I think he's a good guy to bounce things off, have a good viewpoint on the basketball part. So there are good things that he can bring to the table."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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