NEW YORK (AP) -Isiah Thomas is still talking about winning championships - with many of the same players that currently comprise one of the worst teams in the NBA.
And the same coach.
``I know people will laugh even more at me, but I'm hell bent on getting this accomplished and making sure that we get it done,'' Thomas said Wednesday night before his New York Knicks played the Sacramento Kings. ``And I'm not leaving until we get it done.''
The Knicks came into the game with an 8-21 record, last in the Atlantic Division and ahead of only Miami in the Eastern Conference.
Still, Thomas, also the team president, said he doesn't expect the Knicks to be active before the Feb. 21 trade deadline - apparently because he doesn't think they need to be.
``I believe in (the team) and I believe that this is also the time that you can make serious mistakes with your roster that could set you back another three, four years,'' Thomas said. ``We have good talent, we have good players, we have young players.
``We have a good nucleus and we just (need) them to play well together. It's not about breaking them up or tearing them down, it's about getting them to play better as a team.''
Thomas arrived as team president in December 2003 and is in his second season as Knicks coach. New York has made only one playoff appearance since his arrival, getting swept by New Jersey in 2004, and speculation is rampant that Thomas' job is in jeopardy.
``I believe that one day we will win a championship here,'' Thomas said. ``And I believe a couple of these guys will be a part of that. And I believe I'll be a part of that.''
That would be up to Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, who hasn't spoken publicly since giving Thomas a multiyear extension last March. But Thomas isn't talking like a man who thinks he's on the way out.
``This is a dark time for us,'' he said. ``But I know that there's a light at the end of this tunnel and I'm going to keep digging, and I'm going to keep pushing, and I'm not going to quit. I'm going to do it here.''
Plenty of New Yorkers would disagree. Fans routinely chant for Thomas to be fired during Knicks games, and last month a group held a giant pink slip during a rally to express those wishes.
But Thomas said he wants to be remembered in New York as he is in Detroit, where he led the Pistons to two NBA championships during a Hall of Fame playing career.
``I don't necessarily just want to win a championship. I want to leave something that's going to stand for a long time. I want to leave a legacy, I want to leave tradition,'' Thomas said. ``I want to leave an imprint, a blueprint in terms of how people play, and how they coach and how they respond when they put on the Knick uniform.
``And I want to leave what I left in Detroit. Every person that walks through that door as a Piston, when they put on that uniform, there's a certain pride that they carry. And I want to put that here and I want to leave that here in New York. I want to leave a championship legacy.''
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