Pistons' Thomas rejects move to N.Y., report says

January 04, 1994|By Knight-Ridder News Service

CHICAGO -- After meeting with owner Bill Davidson last night, Detroit Pistons captain Isiah Thomas has decided against joining the New York Knicks for a run at another NBA championship.

Thomas on Sunday was said to be on his way to the Knicks for forward Tony Campbell, the rights to former Michigan forward Tim McCormick and a 1994 first-round draft pick.

"He isn't going anywhere," a Pistons source said last night. "He got what he wanted."

Director of player personnel Billy McKinney said, "I haven't heard a thing, but I didn't ever think he was going anywhere."

Details of the meeting weren't available, but Thomas was believed to be seeking a new contract. He is in the last year of a $2.4 million pact, and Thomas was said to be seeking a Magic Johnson-type deal that would pay him anywhere from $7 million to $12 million. He also wanted to talk to Davidson about his career after basketball.

It might not have been what everybody in the organization wanted, however. The trade might have hastened the Pistons' rebuilding. The Pistons are tied with the Washington Bullets and Milwaukee Bucks (8-20) for the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Only the 2-26 Dallas Mavericks have a worse overall record, which means the Pistons are in the running for the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Campbell probably wouldn't have improved the Pistons. And the contracts of Campbell and McCormick expire after this season. That would have given the Pistons two sizable salary slots ($1.8 million, $895,000) to go along with the $1.2 million slot created by TTC Bill Laimbeer's retirement. The Pistons could create more slots by renouncing the rights to free agents Olden Polynice ($850,000), Cadillac Anderson ($650,000), Marcus Liberty ($650,000) and David Wood ($475,000).

A team can rebuild with $6.5 million, but the Pistons won't have that much money to work with now.

The Knicks, trying to replace injured guards Doc Rivers and Hubert Davis, are said to be considering a deal that would send guard Greg Anthony and two first-round picks for Dallas Mavericks guard Derek Harper.

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