Thomas may go to Knicks

January 03, 1994|By Knight-Ridder News Service

DETROIT -- All-Star guard Isiah Thomas, undisputed leader of the Detroit Pistons since 1981, is said to be on the verge of accepting a trade to the New York Knicks for small forward Tony Campbell and the Knicks' 1994 first-round draft pick.

"Until I get all the facts," Thomas said yesterday, "I don't want to comment on anything."

A Pistons source said: "He'll be gone by Wednesday."

"There have been talks," a New York Daily News Knicks source said. "There's interest [in Thomas]."

Thomas indicated that he would have more to say after a meeting, probably today, with Pistons owner William Davidson. If Thomas doesn't get what he wants -- a lucrative contract for one or more seasons -- sources say he'll OK a trade to the Knicks, whose starting point guard, Doc Rivers, suffered a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago and who are also playing without backup guard Hubert Davis.

Davidson confirmed that he would be meeting with Thomas, but he would not comment further.

"We've had no discussion with the Knicks," said Pistons president Tom Wilson, although a source indicated that the Pistons gave Thomas permission to negotiate his own deal with New York.

Thomas, 33, a Piston since 1981, has said he doesn't want to play for the Knicks "because that would be like hitching a ride."

This season, Thomas suffered a broken finger when he sucker-punched Bill Laimbeer during practice Nov. 16. Team doctors said he would be sidelined for at least a month, but Thomas removed the cast himself and returned after missing just two weeks.

That strained Thomas' relationship with team doctor Ben Paolucci. Thomas also was upset with Billy McKinney, director of player personnel, for placing him on the injured list, a move that required Thomas to miss a minimum of five games.

Thomas hasn't played since Dec. 21 because of a toe injury. He is averaging 14.3 points and 9.0 assists in 15 games.

Campbell is averaging 7.1 points.

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