Thomas ducks questions on Marbury, who's nowhere to be seen

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- It took Isiah Thomas only 2 minutes and 9 seconds to run away from the media Tuesday as he faced another round of questioning centered on his feud with Stephon Marbury.

"Any questions about LeBron James? Going once, going twice ..." were Thomas' parting words to reporters Tuesday after the New York Knicks practiced for roughly 30 minutes, one night after dropping 24 games below .500 with a 100-88 loss to the New Orleans Hornets.

The Knicks play again at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night against Cleveland, and Thomas said Marbury was expected to attend the game.

Of course, Thomas said the same thing about Marbury on Monday, but Marbury was a no-show, despite Thomas' assurances that Marbury would be in the building and would take questions. Marbury has not spoken publicly since Jan. 16, shortly before he underwent elective surgery to have bone spurs removed from his ankle.

Asked Tuesday if he was disappointed that Marbury did not show up Monday night, Thomas responded: "We have our hands full with Chris Paul and LeBron James. When you have the opportunity to speak with Steph, you can ask him all the questions that you need to ask him."

A Knicks spokesman said Marbury was at the facility Tuesday undergoing rehabilitation in an area off-limits to the media. The spokesman could not say with certainty whether Marbury had violated a team rule by missing Monday's game, and when the spokesman was asked to relay a formal interview request to Marbury, he returned moments later and said Marbury had left the building.

A source has confirmed to ESPN.com that Marbury was told by Thomas to stay away from the Garden, news that was first reported late last week by the New York tabloids. The ban was lifted early Monday, and a Knicks spokesman spoke to Marbury on Monday afternoon to inform him that Thomas had told reporters he expected Marbury at the arena that night.

The New York Post, citing a confidant of Marbury's, reported the guard was miffed that Thomas hadn't passed along the update personally.

Asked about that report Tuesday, Thomas huffed: "I have no reaction."

Thomas then asked if anyone had any LeBron James questions, but he didn't wait to hear any -- Bruce Beck of WNBC-TV tried his best by asking a retreating Thomas whether Marbury would defend James -- before spinning to his left and walking out of the practice gym.

It was the fifth time in his past nine media availability sessions that Thomas exited prematurely while being questioned about his own job or his rift with Marbury.

Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com.