If poor play continues, Thomas may consider changes for Knicks

Updated: December 18, 2007, 5:34 PM ET
Associated Press

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- No changes yet for the New York Knicks, but check back in a couple of weeks.

Maybe even in the coach's seat.

With his team coming off its latest embarrassing performance, Isiah Thomas said Tuesday he may have to shake up his roster if the Knicks don't show signs of recovery from their 7-17 start.

"It's safe to say that we're not happy about where we are and I'm not happy about where we are," Thomas said at practice a day after the latest loss. "And if we don't turn it around soon, then yeah, we'll have to make some changes."

And he didn't rule out having to consider the team's coach. Thomas was asked how he would evaluate the coach if he were the general manager, and if he thought a change could be necessary there.

"That's a better question in a couple of weeks and not today, but in a couple of weeks," Thomas said. "We'll see if we can come out of this. If we can't come out of this, then those are fair questions."

It's safe to say that we're not happy about where we are and I'm not happy about where we are. And if we don't turn it around soon, then yeah, we'll have to make some changes.

--Isiah Thomas

Technically, Thomas should be the one making the decisions on the coach, because he is also the team president. Pat Riley, who holds the same dual roles in Miami, has placed himself on and taken himself off the Heat bench.

But it was Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan who ordered Thomas to take the coaching reins when he fired Larry Brown in June 2006, and it's probably still his call now.

Thomas offered perhaps his strongest criticisms yet of his team following Monday's 119-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Indiana outscored New York 55-28 after the game was tied at 64 midway through the third quarter. With the defeat, the Knicks and Heat have the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Thomas said he hardly slept Monday night and didn't back off his remarks about the Knicks' lack of spirit. New York also lost at home to Golden State and Philadelphia by more than 25 points, not to mention a 32-point loss in Denver and a 45-point defeat in Boston.

"For me, losing like we've lost is very humiliating," Thomas said, comparing it to being laughed at growing up in Chicago. "This is kind of the equivalent of that, that type of humiliation, and I don't like it and I only know how to fight and work my tail off to get out of it."

Thomas said his postgame comments, which he said he shared with his players, were "truth and honesty." He doesn't usually share those with the media, saying recently he preferred to remain positive with his players because they already hear too much negative.

"He doesn't normally call us out, so I think we definitely took heed to what he said," center Eddy Curry said. "It's almost like you want to go out there and just prove to him that we do got heart. Maybe that was a coaching tactic, I don't know. Maybe that's how he genuinely felt last night after we lost like that."

Thomas said he won't change the starting lineup, feeling there wasn't enough preparation time before facing Cleveland on Wednesday. He doesn't expect Stephon Marbury to start -- if Marbury is even there.

Marbury didn't practice Tuesday on what would have been his father's birthday. Donald Marbury died on Dec. 2 after becoming ill while attending a game at Madison Square Garden.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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