There is no other rational explanation.
Their relationship will assuredly be struck down by the NBA's team of legal experts and lawyers. I can't imagine such an incestuous relationship between an NCAA Coach and an NBA team to be allowed.
But what motivates James Dolan, billionaire and cable TV mogul, to keep giving and giving to a man so vilified by media and basketball experts? There has to be something behind the scenes.
Consider the list of people who have had illicit affairs in recent memory: Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Jesse Jackson, Larry Craig, Elliot Spitzer, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, etc., etc. These men all had impeccable public records prior to their respective scandals.
It is no stretch to imagine another person has succumbed under the bright lights of fame and celebrity. I think its possible that a behind the scenes agreement between James Dolan and Isiah Thomas requires Mr. Dolan to keep giving Isiah Thomas money in perpetuity as a requirement of remaining quiet.
Isiah Thomas joined the Knicks in 2002 as President of Basketball operations. By 2006 the team had the highest payroll and the second worst record in the league. He has been implicated in the $11.6 million sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the Knicks, rumored to have instigated the brawl between the Nuggets and Knicks on December 16th, 2006, and many other actions that lead to a very poor resume.
Yet still he is being brought back in an unspecified role that looks like it is just a way for James Dolan to give Isiah Thomas more money.
I say this because there is no way Isiah Thomas is being recruited for his acumen as a general manager. As a player he was superb; as a front office worker, he has been terrible.