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The true story Brendan Malone Zeke relationship
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playa2
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1/17/2004  2:05 PM
The feuding friends
One word describes the Isiah Thomas, Brendan Malone relationship: Bizarre


MICHAEL CLARKSON

It is one of the lasting images of Toronto Raptors history: rookie head coach Brendan Malone raising his arm triumphantly to a record crowd of 36,131 in the SkyDome after the Raptors had upset Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.

That was on March 24, 1996. Few people knew, however, that as Malone took in the cheers of the crowd his future was being undermined by his general manager Isiah Thomas.

As the Raptors were warming up for their very next game, Thomas walked up to reporters and asked if they felt the team was trying to win too quickly in its first season.

A month later, Malone was out of a job, forced out by Thomas for "philosophical differences," even though Malone had squeezed every ounce of talent out of the inaugural Raptors and led them to a 21-61 record, just one win short of the modern-day expansion record.

It was the second "bloody" round of what has become a soap opera: the love-hate relationship between two NBA veterans who started together with the Detroit Pistons in 1988 and won two NBA championships with Thomas as the star point guard and Malone his assistant coach.

The latest round came on Wednesday when Thomas, the newly-appointed president of the New York Knicks, fired Malone as an assistant, along with head coach Don Chaney, and hired former Raptors head coach Lenny Wilkens.

"Sports are a bloody business," Thomas deadpanned while making the announcements.

If that is true, then Malone must feel like an abattoir resident — he has been fired twice by Thomas and once, while both were with the Pistons, was choked by a frustrated Thomas while sitting on the bench.

And yet, the two men say they have admiration for one another.

Certainly, Thomas respects Malone's talent. In 1996, just one week after firing him as head coach in Toronto, Thomas offered Malone a front-office job. Malone turned it down.

Then, when Thomas became head coach of the Indiana Pacers in 2000, he hired Malone as his lead assistant for three years. Malone left that job for the Knicks last May, reportedly because he did not like the Indiana coaching environment, although he will not comment.

"We've had a bizarre relationship," Malone told the Star yesterday. "Isiah and I have been friends and yet this is a business and you can never take anything for granted. But I was disappointed in the way he let me go (on Wednesday). When he didn't mention me in the press conference, I felt it was disrespect. I guess it was because Don Chaney and I had a good relationship; I got right in the middle of the problem."

Around the NBA, Thomas is known as generous and at the same time ruthless with those he respects. Some insiders say he hired hall of famer Wilkens only as interim coach and will take over the coaching reigns himself when the Knicks become more competitive.

Just prior to his firing, Malone told the Star he respects Thomas "and I guess he respects my knowledge and work ethic. He's the best competitor and leader I've been around. I did not like what happened in Toronto and I think he recognized that. Now, getting fired as a coach himself (after last season with the Pacers), he realized the situation I was in."

If Thomas did have such compassion after being fired by Larry Bird in Indiana, he apparently isn't showing it — although he showered Malone with praise just prior to the Knicks shakeup this week.

"I have a great relationship with Brendan," Thomas said last month when many people thought he would appoint Malone as interim head coach to replace Chaney.

"He's been a mentor, a friend and a coach to me. He's also someone that I not only hired but I had to fire. Throughout the good times, we understand the business of basketball. This is a tough business. He'll always be a friend to me. His family and my family are extremely close. He's someone I can depend and rely on."

Malone, who is now seeking another assistant's job, carefully chose his words yesterday as he talked about Thomas, perhaps because his son Michael was kept on as an assistant with the Knicks.

"I would like to work again right away, but it would have to be the right environment."

Probably the unkindest cut of all was in Toronto, where Thomas forced Malone out because the GM wanted to develop young players slowly and get high draft picks, while Malone wanted to win right away for the fans. "I remember a man taking his son into the arena. I knew he had to spend a lot of money and I felt we were cheating them if we didn't try to win."

The differences between coach and GM were played out in the media before Malone's 1996 sacking and that may be one reason why Malone has had only one head coaching interview (with Milwaukee in 1996) over the past eight years.

It's possible, he says, that general managers have shut him out, fearing that he might clash with the front office.

Malone is regarded as one of the best assistants in the NBA with a passion for fundamentals and details, but he misses his one year of head coaching.

"As a head coach, you're like an artist with a blank canvas and you create what you want to create," he said. "As an assistant, you make suggestions, but they have to be within the framework of how the head coach wants to play the game. I loved making the decisions, and the rush, the excitement."

But on Wednesday night, Malone realized that work was not the top priority in his life.

That night, his sister-in-law died after suffering a stroke in Colorado. And, as his wife Maureen drove him home, just 30 minutes after his firing at Madison Square Garden, their car was rear-ended. Damage was serious and three people in the Malone vehicle suffered minor injuries, but not their 18-month-old grandson, Thomas.

"After we got out to check on the other driver, my grandson waved to me and I waved back," Malone said. "You realize in those moments that family is the most important thing. You can always lose a job."
JAMES DOLAN on Isiah : He's a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views. He will always have strong ties to me and the team.
AUTOADVERT
playa2
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1/17/2004  2:47 PM
I think I know why Bird gave Zeke the heave ho at Indiana with no phone call, the articles tells it all explain why.
JAMES DOLAN on Isiah : He's a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views. He will always have strong ties to me and the team.
CanadianKnicksFan
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1/17/2004  2:53 PM
Then Zeke hiried a joke of a coach in 96 called Daryll Walker!

Zeke & MJ worst gm's ever
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MaseInYourFace
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1/17/2004  2:58 PM
Posted by CanadianKnicksFan:

Then Zeke hiried a joke of a coach in 96 called Daryll Walker!

Zeke & MJ worst gm's ever


thats flat out stupid. the knicks were stuck in the **** and not going anywhere, now within a month, they are a rising squad-and the garden is once again buzzing. GOODBYE WEATHERSPOOOOOOON!!!!!!!!
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CanadianKnicksFan
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1/17/2004  3:00 PM
Explain Marcus Camby @ #2 in 96 Explain 3 first round exits as a head coach

& MJ was a joke as a GM

LOL to Jordon
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MaseInYourFace
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1/17/2004  3:09 PM
if you think layden was better- you need to pick a new team to root for. i could've done better in a coma than what he did. weatherspoon eisley shannon anderson -- disgraceful.

who with a working brain couldve picked up weatherspoon. not to mention after he was on the heat and displayed vs the knicks in the playoffs how be he is. i'd blame that heat loss on him if i was a MIA fan. camby blocked 70 percent of the shots that guy took. when spoon took the final buzzer beater shot that last game, i sighed relief as i knew there was no chance in hell of it dropping.

and you said worst gm ever,not coach, regarding zekes early playoff exits. on other hand, the fact that he was getting in the playoffs deserves some props.
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CanadianKnicksFan
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1/17/2004  3:12 PM
Shandon Anderson is a good Knick!

He plays D & plays hard

unlike some other NYK players!
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CanadianKnicksFan
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1/17/2004  3:13 PM
Getting Spoon wasn't the problem the contract was crazy should have been 3 years 12 million not 5 years 28 mill
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CanadianKnicksFan
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1/17/2004  3:14 PM
Spoon averaged 11 & 11 on the Cavs in 00-01
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MaseInYourFace
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1/17/2004  3:14 PM
anderson BLOWS. he can't make an f'in lay up. i like how he takes it to the whole,but he has no game, cant finish whatsoever. and his d?whatever nothing special AT ALL.
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MaseInYourFace
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1/17/2004  3:15 PM
dude don't even try to argue for spoon, that fat **** doesn't have one good skill.
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CanadianKnicksFan
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1/17/2004  3:17 PM
Your on crack Anderson was really good on the Jazz & is having his best season as a Knick.

As for Fat Spoon he is a good rebounder on a vetran playoff club.

Not a bum,just wrong for NYK in 2004
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MaseInYourFace
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1/17/2004  3:19 PM
spoon is NOT a good rebounder. he can't even get off the ground.

anderson was DECENT on the jazz, and has not produced on the knicks. he needs to be shipped asap. the guy can't finish for his life.
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martin
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1/17/2004  3:20 PM
Posted by CanadianKnicksFan:

Your on crack Anderson was really good on the Jazz & is having his best season as a Knick.

As for Fat Spoon he is a good rebounder on a vetran playoff club.

Not a bum,just wrong for NYK in 2004

I'll agree with you that Anderson hustles on both ends of the court but I wonder how much of his 'good play' was from having Stocken and Malone on the team.
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CanadianKnicksFan
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1/17/2004  3:20 PM
Posted by MaseInYourFace:

spoon is NOT a good rebounder. he can't even get off the ground.

anderson was DECENT on the jazz, and has not produced on the knicks. he needs to be shipped asap. the guy can't finish for his life.

Fortson can't jump either & for the matter Brand can't jump too
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CanadianKnicksFan
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1/17/2004  3:23 PM
Anderson not a skilled player,but hard work pays off

99% of what Patrick Ewing did was Hard work,determanation & heart,Not the most skilled either.

Hard Work wins!
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MaseInYourFace
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1/17/2004  3:24 PM
Posted by CanadianKnicksFan:
Posted by MaseInYourFace:

spoon is NOT a good rebounder. he can't even get off the ground.

anderson was DECENT on the jazz, and has not produced on the knicks. he needs to be shipped asap. the guy can't finish for his life.

Fortson can't jump either & for the matter Brand can't jump too


brand gets up more than spoon.

doesn't matter though, just because they can rebound doesn't mean that spoon can. how many boards a game did he average on ny? he won't play at all on houston-van gundy mustve really hated moochie.
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MaseInYourFace
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1/17/2004  3:25 PM
Posted by martin:
Posted by CanadianKnicksFan:

Your on crack Anderson was really good on the Jazz & is having his best season as a Knick.

As for Fat Spoon he is a good rebounder on a vetran playoff club.

Not a bum,just wrong for NYK in 2004

I'll agree with you that Anderson hustles on both ends of the court but I wonder how much of his 'good play' was from having Stocken and Malone on the team.

exactly right. it's easy to make a layup when nobody is paying any attention to you.
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MaseInYourFace
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1/17/2004  4:41 PM
spoon is averaging a monster 3.3 boards a game this year. and a huge 7.9 over his career.
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Caseloads
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1/17/2004  4:52 PM
Posted by CanadianKnicksFan:

Your on crack Anderson was really good on the Jazz & is having his best season as a Knick.

As for Fat Spoon he is a good rebounder on a vetran playoff club.

Not a bum,just wrong for NYK in 2004
yeah, you are right canadianknicks... plus spoon was brought in to replace LJ, which was a decent choice at the time. The cavs were Pissed to lose spoon. PLUS - the game changed almost overnight, when 6'7" PF's became SEVERELY undersized, almost overnight (the trend had started the year or two before, but spoon just got passed by).
The true story Brendan Malone Zeke relationship

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