June 26, 2006

Knicks boss gives Thomas one year to improve team

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Knicks owner James Dolan has
given team president and new coach Isiah Thomas one season to
turn around the NBA club.

Speaking publicly for the first time since firing Larry
Brown last week, Dolan told reporters that Thomas has one
season to show "significant progress," The New York Times
reported on Monday.

"This is his team, he made this bed," Dolan said.

Thomas, who assembled the NBA-high $125 million roster that
struggled to a 23-59 record last season under coach Brown, sat
next to Dolan as the team owner spoke.

"At this time next year, Isiah will be with us if we can
all sit here and say that this team has made significant
progress toward its goal of eventually becoming an NBA
championship team," Dolan said. "If we can't say that, then
Isiah will not be here. I say that with him right here."

Thomas said he still believed in the Knicks players.

"I've been in pressure situations before," said Thomas, a
member of the basketball Hall of Fame as a star guard for NBA
championship Detroit Pistons teams.

"All my life has basically been about pressure, about
having to get it done. And just because you say it publicly
does not make me afraid of it or shy away from it. You got a
job to do, go get it done."

Brown was fired on Thursday after one season in the job and
with four years and $40 million remaining on his contract.

The Knicks are refusing to pay the rest of Brown's deal,
saying he breached his contract.

A clause in Brown's contract calls for NBA commissioner
David Stern to mediate in any such dispute.

Dolan told reporters that Brown attempted to negotiate
trades without Thomas's knowledge, violated company policies on
dealing with media and repeatedly defied orders to cease such

"We couldn't get Larry to focus on his job," Dolan said.
"Larry wanted to focus on Isiah's job."