With Brown out, Knicks are Thomas' problem now

Memo to Isiah Thomas: You're next. The next one to get fired, that is, if you can't turn around the New York Knicks next season.

Team owner Jim Dolan got rid of one problem and set himself up to dispose of another Thursday when he finally dropped the ax on Larry Brown, firing the coach following a meeting between himself, Brown, Thomas and Madison Square Garden president Steve Mills.

The Knicks fired Brown while he still had a reported four years and $40 million left on his contract, and no financial settlement was reached. ESPN.com has learned that a clause in Brown's contract designates NBA commissioner David Stern as the arbitrator of any financial dispute between the sides, meaning the final act of this drama has yet to play out.

Going into this morning's meeting, Dolan was prepared to retain Brown as coach despite the organization's silence over the past month after it was first reported that Brown was on his way out and Thomas would replace him. But the owner did not receive the assurances he wanted from Brown that he would change his ways in the upcoming season.