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 NEW YORK (AP) -Isiah Thomas was fired as coach of the New York Knicks on Friday after a season of listless and dreadful basketball, a tawdry lawsuit and unending chants from fans demanding Thomas' dismissal.
Thomas, the coach for two seasons, will remain with the organization reporting directly to new president Donnie Walsh, a rapid fall for Thomas who also was team president a little more than two weeks ago.
Walsh took over that role 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.
The Knicks finished 23-59, matching the franchise record for losses, in their seventh straight losing season.
``I can't tell you really where we failed,'' Walsh said. ``The bottom line is we haven't won, and the team didn't look like it was motivated to try to win.''
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 Sunday he had not yet talked to any candidates for either a coach or general manager job.
Thomas is 187-223 as an NBA coach, leading the Indiana Pacers to the playoffs in three straight years from 2000-03. Larry Bird fired him after becoming team president, a move Walsh - who had hired Thomas as coach - was originally against but eventually went along with.
Thomas' tenure with the Knicks has been marked by a number of embarrassments.
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.
Still, Walsh said he believed Thomas could contribute to making the Knicks a better franchise.
``I feel like some of the bigger events that happened on the way with Isiah overshadowed some of the good things'' that he accomplished, Walsh said.
``I will be in touch with Isiah a lot,'' he said.
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