- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan called reports that ex-Knicks coach and general manager Isiah Thomas aided him and the organization during their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony "fiction."
Recent reports stated that Thomas consulted with Dolan and suggested that Thomas had more influence with the owner than team president Donnie Walsh did during the courting of Anthony.
A seemingly aggravated Dolan strongly denied those reports on Wednesday during an evening news conference to introduce Anthony, the Knicks' newest superstar.
Dolan reiterated that he, Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni were on the same page during the drawn-out trade negotiations with the Denver Nuggets to land Anthony.
He then added, "I'd also say this, very directly: While Isiah Thomas is a friend of mine, a very good friend of mine, he was not at all involved in this process."
Amid reports detailing an alleged disconnect between Dolan and Walsh, the Knicks released a statement Sunday saying that Dolan, D'Antoni and Walsh were in constant communication during the pursuit of Anthony and that no one outside the organization played a role in the process.
Dolan restated that on Wednesday.
"I'd like to make it clear: What we said in the statement the other day, Donnie, Mike and I were completely coordinated throughout this process from start to finish," Dolan said. "The idea that we were not in agreement is simply not true. We've had multiple meetings and discussions, some good debate. But in the end we were all in complete agreement."
In the 2009-10 offseason, Dolan tried to re-hire Thomas as a consultant, but NBA commissioner David Stern eventually ruled that it would be a conflict for Thomas to coach a college team and be a paid NBA consultant.
Dolan said he would "continue to solicit" Thomas' views in a statement responding to Stern's decision.
But on Wednesday, Dolan said that Thomas had no role in the Knicks' acquisition of Anthony. New York landed the superstar in the three-team, 13-player deal that was completed on Tuesday evening.
"He wasn't advising me or telling me what to do in any way," Dolan said of Thomas, who is the head coach at Florida International University. "And any reports that imply that he was doing that are simply untrue and a fiction in somebody's mind."
Walsh said on Tuesday that he "could care less" if Thomas held an influential role with Dolan.
"I can care less. There are a lot of people talking to [Dolan]. I could care less," Walsh said of Thomas on Tuesday. "I'm assuming Isiah is getting ready for the NCAA tournament, that's what I'm assuming."
Dolan also said Wednesday that he would discuss Walsh's future with the organization after Thursday's NBA trade deadline.
Walsh signed a three-year contract with a team option for the fourth year prior to the 2008-09 season. Dolan has until April 30 -- or two weeks after the regular season ends -- to trigger an option for the fourth year of the contract. If not, Walsh's contract expires on June 30.
"Donnie has done a great job on this trade. He has done a great job since he's been here. Especially putting us into the position to even think about adding players of this caliber," Dolan said. "Donnie is as respected inside our organization as he is inside the NBA. He and I have agreed to get through the trade deadline then we will sit down and discuss his contract which expires in June and we will comment on that at the appropriate time."
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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