Isiah Thomas not joining Phoenix Suns under Mat Ishbia despite report

Feb 7, 2023, 6:39 PM | Updated: 7:00 pm
Former Detroit Piston Isiah Thomas talks to the crowd during a celebration of the 1989 and 1990 Wor...
Former Detroit Piston Isiah Thomas talks to the crowd during a celebration of the 1989 and 1990 World Championship Detroit Pistons at halftime during a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on March 30, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Mat Ishbia will not be giving former New York Knicks president of basketball operations Isiah Thomas a role in the Suns’ front office, a spokesperson for Ishbia confirmed to Arizona Sports’ Kellan Olson on Tuesday.

This follows a report from TNT’s Chris Haynes that stated Ishbia intended to give Thomas a prominent role in Phoenix.

Thomas, a Hall of Fame point guard in his playing days, has been working as an analyst for NBA TV. From 2003-08, Thomas helped run the Knicks, an era filled with plenty of basketball decisions that drew criticism, off-court drama and a lawsuit.

In 2007, Thomas was sued by a female executive for alleged sexual harassment. The executive also alleged she had been fired for complaining about it. A jury ruled in favor of her and that she was entitled to $11.6 million from Madison Square Garden and Knicks owner James Dolan.

Of that figure, $6 million was awarded because of the hostile work environment Mr. Thomas was found to have created, and $5.6 million because Ms. Browne Sanders was fired for complaining about it. Mr. Dolan’s share is $3 million; the Garden is liable for the rest.

Ishbia is replacing Robert Sarver, who was suspended by the NBA for a year after the league’s investigation of allegations he used racist and misogynistic language in the workplace. ESPN’s Baxter Holmes’ reporting on an alleged toxic workplace led to the investigation.

Thomas said back in 2021 he was close with Ishbia and that the new Suns owner has helped advise him in the business space.

Ishbia’s transaction of the Suns, valuing the franchise at $4 billion, was approved and finalized by the NBA on Tuesday.

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