Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Hall of Fame guard and former Knicks president Isiah Thomas believes New York has a chance to turn things around quickly this summer.
"They're positioned well for free agency because they have cap space and they can go out and pitch themselves," Thomas said at an event to announce a partnership between his Cheurlin champagne company and the NBPA. "...They're positioned to have a great summer. But it depends on luck. If they're lucky enough, it can become a great summer."
Thomas offered his thoughts on presumptive Knicks pick R.J. Barrett as well.
"If you fall into the right system with the right coach that understands how to exploit and display your talents, then you can be quite special. RJ is one of those players," he said. "Not only did he show it at Duke, but he showed it at high school. He's been one of the top-rated players in the country over the last four or five years."
Thomas, who also ran the WNBA's Liberty when they were owned by Knicks owner James Dolan, believes Kevin Durant is the top free agent on the market this summer. Durant will give the Knicks strong consideration if he decides to leave Golden State.
"To me, the best player in the game right now is Kevin Durant. Whatever team he joins, he can change that franchise. Everyone else is a tier or two below him and I'm not sure if those are franchise-changing players if they don't have a combination of the two," Thomas said. "With so many teams having so much money, I don't know if any team will be the position where they'll be able to attract three players like we've seen Miami do. But there's a chance two of them can team up. I'll just say this, whoever teams up with Kevin Durant, they're going to be good."
ISIAH PARTERSHIP WITH NBPA
Thomas announced a partnership with the NBPA, Think450, and his businesses, ISIAH Imports and the Cheurlin Champagne label, in Chicago on Tuesday. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and Think450 president Payne Brown were on hand.
Think450 is a for-profit enterprise for NBA players that focuses, in part, on group liscensing for players. Roberts said the group was seeking business partners and Thomas was her top choice. Thomas said the deal was two years in the making and involves equity in his company. He hopes that Cheurlin champagne can one day be the champagne used for celebrations in NBA locker rooms.
"From a former player and a current players' perspective, any time that they are celebrating or drinking champagne now they can invest and drink their own product and share in their own revenues from their own product so it's a great business partnership for all of us," said Thomas, currently an analyst for NBA TV and Turner.