It's All In The Game: The End For Isiah?

You know what they say, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. Except in Isiah Thomas’ case.

While he has technically not “made it,” he still has a job. And with everything he has done (and not done) as president and coach of the New York Knicks, it is hard to think of one professional sports franchise in the world where he would have still been employed at after what he’s pulled.

Three straight losing seasons couldn’t get him fired. Trading for Steve Francis and giving Jerome James $30 million couldn’t get him fired. Not even being found guilty of sexually harassing a co-worker could get him fired. But the wacky and dramatic events of the last week might have been the beginning of the end of Isiah’s invincibility and yes, even his J-O-B.

For those of you out of the loop, let’s rewind to last Tuesday.

After Stephon Marbury and Thomas had a falling out on the team plane, Starbury decided he would hop the next flight to JFK – abandoning his team before they took a beating from the Suns. When Marbury rejoined the Knicks the next night in L.A., the team had reportedly voted to bench him the entire game.

Isaiah all but ignored his team’s wishes. Although he didn’t start Marbury, he did play him for 34 minutes in a loss to the Clippers. This action may have broken the one thing that gave the Knicks hope coming into the season – the strong bond between the players and Isiah.

Despite all the criticism of Thomas’ roster – overpaid, selfish players whose games can’t mesh with each other – Isaiah had earned their trust and they played their hearts out for him. All last season they had that “us against the world” mentality. When they played together and unselfishly, they could beat just about anyone in the league. Even when Thomas was in the middle of the sexual harassment trial, all the Knicks players had Isaiah’s back as well as Stephon’s. But when Stephon went AWOL and Isaiah failed as a leader to punish him, it fueled speculation that Isaiah succumbed to Marbury’s alleged blackmail threat.

It shouldn’t come as much surprise that this didn’t sit well with the rest of the team. Although most have been quiet publicly, several of the team’s best writers (who have resembled more of TMZ writers lately) have reported that the team is furious at Steph and Isiah. So…well…adios team trust. And even owner James Dolan, who has no room to judge anybody, has reached the end of the rope with Isaiah.

The Knicks’ performance in this two-week-old season has proven that an immediate change is needed. There are no more excuses. People gave Thomas the benefit of the doubt the last few years because he was trying to fix the mess that he inherited from the Scott Layden era. Last year, he had injuries to key players like Jamal Crawford, David Lee and Quentin Richardson down the stretch to blame for their playoff shortcomings.

But this year, nobody is injured. Every player 1 through 15 are Isaiah’s pickings, not Layden’s leftovers. Sure, he found great talent in the draft like Lee, Renaldo Balkman, Mardy Collins and Nate Robinson - but where do the Knicks sit now? They are a pathetic (even by Knicks standards) 2-7 as of Sunday.

It is time for the Knicks to close this ugly chapter. So James Dolan has to finally do what the Garden faithful have been chanting nearly every game since the 2004-05 season… “Fire Isiah!”