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The Isiah Thomas-Jeff Hornacek-Knicks conspiracy theory

Isaih Thomas Introduced as New Knicks GM

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 22: (L-R) Cablevision chairman James Dolan, newly hired New York Knicks General Manager and Team Presedient Isiah Thomas and President of Madison Sqaure Garden Sports Steve Mills pose for a photo op following a press conference that announced the firing of Scott Layden as Knicks Team President and GM and the hiring of Thomas as his replacement on December 22, 2003 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. (Photo by Ray Amati/NBAE via Getty Images)

Ray Amati

Why did Phil Jackson – after all indications to the contrary – reach outside his coaching tree to hire Jeff Hornacek? The early spin is that the Knicks president likes the way Hornacek thinks the game.

But was Jackson fully behind the Hornacek hire?

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Of course, there’s also the suggestion that the Hornacek hire came at the behest of Isiah Thomas, whose high school coach in Chicago, Gene Pingatore, has employed Hornacek’s father, John, as his lead assistant for 25 years.

This might not be fair. Jeff Hornacek has been involved in basketball for decades and has established many connections. Add degrees of separation, and you can connect him to thousands of people. One of them being Isiah Thomas isn’t necessarily relevant here.

But as long as Knicks owner James Dolan continues to give Thomas jobs – Knicks president, Knicks coach, Knicks consultant, something, Liberty president – and express his personal affinity for Thomas, people will speculate. Dolan invites it.

The Knicks are the only team in the NBA where you can’t be sure the guy being paid $12 million per year to run basketball operations is truly running basketball operations.