Isiah Thomas seems more focused on the Knicks than FIU

It's as if Isiah Thomas is trying to get fired before the start of the college basketball season, yet Florida International just won't oblige.

In August, Thomas sought permission from his bosses at FIU to take a part-time consulting gig with the New York Knicks only to have the NBA shoot down that idea because of the obvious conflict of interest. And now Thomas has told ESPN New York that he still thinks about one day running the Knicks again "every single day of the week."

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The only people that should be more furious about that statement than Knicks fans are FIU supporters, who deserve a coach whose full focus is on rebuilding their woeful basketball program. Entering just his second season at FIU, Thomas is doing little to combat the notion that he already has one foot out the door, a perception that can't be helping his recruiting efforts.

Granted most of the questions were probably Knicks-themed during Thomas' two-hour interview with ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor, but the FIU coach should have either turned down the interview or considered his current employer while responding. Instead, he defends his record as a general manager, suggests that he could have lured LeBron James to New York, and talks openly about his desire to someday help the Knicks win their first championship since 1973.

"I want to be on the float and I want to get my ring," Thomas said.

"Knowing what I know about the game and the relationships that I have, I'm confident that if no crazy [stuff] happens, I think I can win in New York, and I think I was really close to winning in New York."

At the moment, Thomas doesn't appear much closer to winning at FIU than he was at this time a year ago. He went 7-25 in his debut season, his best freshman, Dominique Ferguson, is academically ineligible for the first semester this season and the top-100 Class of 2011 recruit he received a commitment from in September decommitted less than 24 hours later and chose Auburn instead.

When Thomas tried to take the part-time consulting job with the Knicks in August while still coaching at FIU, athletic director Pete Garcia told Yahoo! Sports that he was unconcerned because his coach was such a "workaholic."

It will be interesting to see if FIU's patience with its high-profile coach's wandering eye begins to wear thin if the hiring of Thomas doesn't translate into victories in the near future.

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