Stein: Saturday night was, uh, interesting. I probably received 50 tweets from Knicks fans along these same lines as their team’s winning streak hit four games with a victory against Detroit. I came away admiring the loyalty and coordinated effort of the fans — but also wondering how many in this angry lot, still aggrieved by a tweet I fired off in early December, actually read the whole tweet.
Nowhere, on any platform, did I say I disagreed with the firing of David Fizdale. The Knicks were 4-18 at the time and had just lost games to Milwaukee and Denver by a combined 81 points. The very tweet you cite A) was sent out the night before his firing and essentially predicted it and B) acknowledged that “a team has to do something” in those circumstances. Firing Fizdale was a natural response. The tweet also made the point that the Knicks have “veered way too far off course for anyone to think that a coaching change is all it takes” to put the franchise back on a hopeful track. Which remains 100 percent true.
I’ll add some further context in a special section below.
Q: With the Clippers waiving Isaiah Thomas, could you feasibly see the Celtics picking him up as an offensive upgrade to the Brad Wanamaker minutes? This may be a Boston fan’s fever dream, but I had to ask. — Yowana Wamala (Charlotte, N.C.)
Stein: It doesn’t strike me as feasible.
The Celtics’ big need, as we’ve been talking about all season, is frontcourt size to combat power players like Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. Before last Thursday’s trade deadline, they also reportedly pursued swingmen who specialized in long-distance shooting, such as Washington’s Davis Bertans and Detroit’s Luke Kennard, without success. If Boston makes a post-deadline move to upgrade the roster, since it has a capable complement of ballhandlers when the team is healthy, I would expect bolstering the frontcourt to be the priority.
Thomas’s steep fall since making All-Star appearances as a Celtic in 2016 and 2017, accelerated by various injuries and ever-present concerns about his defense, has been hard to watch. I am not a “New England expat,” as you described yourself in your email, but I am the league’s self-anointed keeper of the All-Lefty Team. So I, too, hope Thomas, 31, gets another shot somewhere after averaging 12.2 points in 23.1 minutes in 40 games with Washington this season while shooting 41.3 percent on 3-pointers.
Q: Kobe Bryant was voted as an All-Star in his second season, not his third. The 1999 N.B.A. All-Star game didn’t happen because of a lockout. — David Clark