The New York Post’s Marc Berman claims that recently acquired Knicks G Steve Francis almost missed the start of Monday night’s blowout defeat in San Antonio. Since the Super Bowl was over 3 weeks ago, the excuses are slightly less inspired.

Francis nearly missed last night’s Spurs-Knicks game and was held out of the starting lineup after arriving before 55 minutes tip-off only after a private plane was chartered to bring the Knicks new guard from Orlando to Alamo City.

Incredibly, the Knicks – who lost 121-93 – permitted Francis to go home to Orlando after the Washington game Saturday night to collect some belongings.

But Francis was a no-show at yesterday’s morning shootaround and called a club official during that practice to inform the club he won’t make it for the game.

Francis told the Knicks his 6-month-old daughter was ill.

When Francis’ camp realized a public-relations nightmare was ensuing if Francis missed the game, a plane was chartered to get him to San Antonio after he missed his commercial flight. A Knicks official said he was unsure who paid for the charter.

The Knicks’ strictest dress code in the league, which forces players to wear suits and ties on the road, took precedence over Francis preparing for last night’s game apparently.

Francis makes $13.9 million this season and has $49.7 million more left on his pact. Francis could have purchased a suit and tie in San Antonio or had his laundry dry-cleaned at the hotel.

According to an employee at the team hotel in San Antonio, slacks can be dry-cleaned for $7.50, dress shirts for $6.50. A laundry service also exists where undergarments go for $2.50 and t-shirts $3.75.

Newsday’s Greg Logan reports that not only has MSG boss James Dolan pledged his full support to Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas, but he’s given the latter carte blanche to add as many uncoachable veteran players with huge, long-term deals as the ex-Hoosier sees fit.

OK, Logan didn’t report the last half of the sentence. That part already happened, apparently.