Having turned 32 Monday, power forward Kurt Thomas finds himself on the platform, waiting for his ticket out of New York. Or so the rumor mill has it. Even if he's not traded, there have been hints he could lose his starting job to second-year forward Mike Sweetney.

But Kurt Thomas won't concede anything to the next generation. "Are you kidding?" Thomas said when asked about the possibility of yielding his starting job on the first day of training camp at the College of Charleston.

What about the pressure from above for change? "It doesn't bother me at all," the nine-year veteran said.

You would think Isiah Thomas, the leader of the hard-nosed Detroit teams that won NBA titles in 1989 and '90, would value those qualities. "Without a doubt," Kurt Thomas said. Asked if he thought the boss was happy with his play last season, he said: "I think so. There weren't too many negative things you could say about my performance."

If the Knicks want an athletic forward who can score, well, Kurt Thomas never has been shy about his offensive ability. "I'm just as athletic as any big man out here," Thomas said. "I show it every day. And I think I can outshoot every one of them, too. Hands down."

So one reporter said to Thomas, he would be shocked to lose his starting job, right? Nodding confidently, Thomas replied, "You would be, too."

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