<
>

If poor play continues, Thomas may consider changes for Knicks

12/18/2007 - NBA New York Knicks

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."

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.