Knicks Fire Brown, Name Thomas New Coach

The use of Francis was particularly questionable, because it was expected that he would start alongside Marbury in the backcourt. Instead, he frequently came off the bench while Brown tried to decide if he was better suited to being the point guard or shooting guard.

Still, Thomas said after the season ended that Brown would return. However, Brown had acknowledged that he didn't know what Dolan thought of his performance -- and it turns out the owner wasn't happy.

Neither Brown nor Glass returned phone messages left Thursday. Marbury also did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone.

Thomas joined the Knicks as president and GM in December 2003. He was coach of the Indiana Pacers for three seasons through 2002-03, compiling a 131-115 record and leading them to the playoffs in each season before he was fired when Larry Bird took control of the basketball decisions.

Thomas has been criticized for his performance since joining the Knicks, who haven't made the postseason since 2004 and haven't won a playoff game since 2001 -- even as the payroll increased. The Knicks don't even have what would have been the No. 2 pick in the draft because Thomas included it in the trade with Chicago for center Eddy Curry.

Thomas becomes the Knicks' fifth coach in the last five years. Jeff Van Gundy left early in the 2001-02 season and has been followed by Don Chaney, Lenny Wilkens and Herb Williams before Brown.

Brown coached the Pistons to the NBA title in the 2003-04 season. He missed 17 games the following year with the Pistons because of hip replacement surgery. That led to a bladder problem that required surgery.

"Larry has had a long and storied career. We hired him last summer with the expectation that he would be with the Knicks for a long time," Dolan said. "Sometimes decisions work and sometimes they don't."

Brown is 1,010-800 in 23 seasons as an NBA head coach, making previous stops in Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana, Philadelphia and Detroit. He also coached four seasons in the ABA and won a national championship with Kansas in 1988.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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