Thomas fired as Knicks' coach
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Isiah Thomas couldn't win as coach with the players he assembled as president.
Now, he's lost both jobs.
Thomas was fired as the New York Knicks coach yesterday after a season of listless and dreadful basketball, a tawdry lawsuit and unending chants from fans demanding his dismissal.
Thomas lost a franchise record-tying 59 games this season, and along the way seemed to lose the support of his players, who didn't always play hard for him the way they did last season.
"I can't really tell you where he failed with the club. I think that we reached a point this season when our team didn't compete for a long time," new team president Donnie Walsh said. "The bottom line is that we haven't won and the team didn't look like it was motivated to try to win and be competitive."
Thomas, the coach for two seasons, will remain with the organization in an unnamed role, reporting directly to Walsh, who said he informed Thomas of the decision yesterday.
"It's very difficult to be the coach and general manager," Walsh said. "Maybe it was too much."
Walsh took over Thomas' role as team president April 2, and his first big decision was to change coaches as he begins the process of turning around a team that never won a playoff game in Thomas' tenure.
"I just believe a new voice, a new coach, is necessary to change the direction of the team," Walsh said. "This is a coveted job."
A message was left for Thomas at his New York office.
The Knicks finished 23-59 in their seventh straight losing season.
Two of those 59-loss debacles came in the last three years, when the Knicks solidified themselves as the NBA's most dysfunctional franchise with poor play on the court and embarrassing behavior off it.
This season alone, Thomas was found to have sexually harassed a former team employee, feuded with point guard Stephon Marbury and benched center Eddy Curry — the players Thomas acquired in the two biggest of a number of moves that never panned out.
Walsh wants a new coach in place by the draft in June, when the Knicks will finally have their lottery pick again after handing over their last two to Chicago in the Curry trade.
Walsh said he hasn't talked to any candidates, but mentioned former Knick and current TV analyst Mark Jackson, and assistant coach Herb Williams as people who likely would be interviewed. He said he has no timetable to make his decision.
OWNERS OK SONICS' MOVE TO OKLAHOMA
The messy split between Seattle and the SuperSonics lurched forward yesterday when NBA owners approved relocating the team to Oklahoma City — a move legal wrangling might delay another two years.
Owners voted 28-2 in favor of the move, with Dallas and Portland against it. The relocation carries a $30 million fee, and the Sonics could begin playing in owner Clay Bennett's hometown as early as next season.
All that is contingent on resolving the lawsuit filed by Seattle, which has rejected a $26 million settlement offer from owner Clay Bennett.