D'Antoni explains Isiah involvement

Updated: July 16, 2010, 9:45 PM ET
ESPNNewYork.com

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni told the New York Daily News that Isiah Thomas' involvement in the team's recruitment of LeBron James was a last-gasp effort.

Calling the move a "Hail Mary," D'Antoni explained to the paper the organization's reasoning for soliciting the former president's services.

"We were sitting around and thinking what can we do to try and get it back and Isiah had an in with someone in [LeBron's] entourage," D'Antoni said in the report. "It was a Hail Mary pass and everybody knew it. Everybody was on board, and how it was reported wasn't accurate. It was trying to be a good thing for the Knicks."

Some reports speculated that Knicks team president Donnie Walsh chose Thomas over D'Antoni to represent the Knicks, fueling speculation that Thomas would return to the team in some decision-making capacity. D'Antoni refuted that their was a power play.

"We were coming up with 40 different things to try and get it back on track and that was one of them," D'Antoni added. "Everybody was in agreement. But when we read the reports it was unbelievable. It was like aliens are reporting it."

After the Knicks signed former Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudemire earlier in the month, Walsh thanked Thomas publicly for his help during free agency and said he would consider the former Pistons star if ever given the go-ahead to hire a general manager.

"Isiah helped us a lot in getting Amare," Walsh said Saturday. "And he tried to help us get Joe Johnson and LeBron. He knew some of the people that were connected with some of the players, and he has a good reputation with the players and with the people that represent them. He was great."

James, who was No. 1 on the Knicks' free-agent wish list this Summer, opted to join the Miami Heat in a made-for-TV event July 8.

ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard contributed to this report.

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