Monday, April 28, 2008

Donnie Walsh Politely Rejects Isiah Thomas's Request To Act As A Reference

New York, NY. (Apr. 28) - Just days after being asked not to talk to New York Knicks players for fear of having a bad influence on their feelings about the next coach, former coach and current employee Isiah Thomas was dealt another blow over the weekend.

Thomas was denied the use of current boss and front office veteran Donnie Walsh as a reference for any future job searches, sources say.

"I'd really rather you didn't," witnesses say Walsh politely told Thomas when asked if Isiah could use the new Knicks executive as a professional reference. "OK?"

To solidify his position on the matter, Walsh then changed his mobile phone number and didn't give Thomas the new number.

"I still think Isiah can be a productive contributor to the Knicks," Walsh said in a statement to answer the reference rumors. "What that may be, I have no idea at this time. I'm sure there's something around here he can do." Then, addressing the reference issue head on, Walsh's statement said, "Isiah is free to use whomever he wants as a reference, of course. But some references might not be too happy about it. I might be one of them, but I'm not confirming that."

Thomas, who lost his job as team president when the Knicks hired Walsh, then lost his coaching job after the season ended, has been hanging around Madison Square Garden, waiting for Walsh to give him something to do, according to the sources.

"They pass each other in the hall, and it's so uncomfortable," one Knicks employee said. "Isiah kind of nods his head, and Walsh pretends he dropped something and looks toward the floor. The other day they both ended up in the men's room, and Walsh left before washing his hands. At least I hope he usually washes his hands."

Thomas, according to friends, will abide by Walsh's wishes, and will instead use Knicks Chairman James Dolan as a reference. At press time, it was unclear if Dolan has been informed of Thomas's intentions, or if Thomas plans on disclosing the move to Dolan.

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