Is the NBA Okay with Isiah Thomas’ Return to the Knicks?

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REUTERS/Richard Clement/Files

Just when you’d think “Zeke’s” pro prospects look bleak, the Knicks are quick to dispel those doubts.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the team announced the hiring of Thomas as a consultant. Thomas served as the Knicks’ president from December 2003 to April 2008, helping the team to one playoff appearance over that span. He spent the final year-plus of that stint as the head coach, compiling a 56-108 record.

The NBA Hall-of-Famer’s new role will be filled in conjunction with his head-coaching responsibilities at Florida International University — a job that he assumed last year.

“Isiah Thomas brings unique experience as a Hall of Fame player, coach, executive and owner, and we believe having him as part of our organization will be extremely beneficial to the team’s success,” said the club in a statement. “Isiah was helpful to the team’s senior management during our most recent recruitment efforts, including assisting with the acquisition of Amar’e Stoudemire. He will provide valuable insight and analysis of young prospects from around the world.”

But does Thomas’ insight fit within the NBA’s rules? On Friday afternoon,’s Art Garcia gave word that the league was investigating the parameters of the agreement. The NCAA-NBA job pairing raises some conflict-of-interest questions, namely a collegiate coach evaluating talent on other NCAA rosters for one pro team.

As for the college side of the coin, it appears Thomas has done his research.

“I couldn’t be the GM,” Thomas told ESPN’s Andy Katz. “But we checked with the NCAA and you can do it. I’m excited about what we’re building here at FIU and that will continue to be my main focus.”