By now, the savvy Isiah Thomas must realize he works for a billionaire cable guy in James L. Dolan who has the attention span of a channel surfer and the impulsiveness of a shopping network devotee.
With that in mind last night, Thomas still explained away the Knicks' mind-boggling disparity between payroll and record ($103 million to 19-30) by saying the team's route to an N.B.A. title is going to be a "long, slow, tedious process."
By now, he surely understands that Dolan has a history of mistaking his Cablevision inheritance for business acumen by habitually throwing money at problems to make them disappear - whether it's Woody Johnson or Shandon Anderson.
And yet, Thomas countered his boss's instinct for binge spending by saying, "We can't go and buy it; we've got to work at it" when detailing the immediate future of the Knicks before they lost to the Miami Heat in overtime, 116-110.
By now, there is no doubt Thomas has discovered that Dolan hires and fires icons to create diversionary tactics and layers of intrigue at Madison Square Garden to camouflage his own ineptitude. Nevertheless, Thomas tried to defuse the Phil Jackson speculation by proclaiming his support for Coach Herb Williams who has, he noted, done "an excellent job with what we have."
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