Chris Paul hints Isiah Thomas had hand in Suns’ decision to trade him

Jun 19, 2023, 12:50 PM | Updated: 1:00 pm

Isiah Thomas and Mat Ishbia...

Former NBA athlete Isiah Thomas and Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia attend Game Four of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals at Footprint Center on May 07, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Nuggets 129-124. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s been known that new Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia and former NBA hooper and executive Isiah Thomas run in the same circles.

They’ve been seen together at multiple Suns regular season and playoff games.

How much influence Thomas has on his friend’s team, however, has been up for debate for some time.

Recently traded point guard Chris Paul, who found out he was dealt midflight on Sunday, stoked the flames to that thinking while doing the media rounds for his new book, “Sixty-One.”

In an interview with New York Times’ Sopan Deb, the point guard insinuated Thomas had a hand in Paul being shipped off this past weekend in part of a trade package that returned three-time All-Star Bradley Beal, Jordan Goodwin and Isaiah Todd.

“It’s tough. Seriously, it is part of the business and what you realize is that no one owes you anything,” Paul said. “No matter how you are with them or what you do, you realize that in this business, nobody owes you anything, as it should be.

“But when it comes through and my son texts me, I realize that Mat and Isiah I guess just wanted to go in a different direction.”

Paul mentioned Thomas’ name more than once in the interview.

After a February report from Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes cited Thomas would have a prominent role in the Suns’ front office during Ishbia’s initial transition, a spokeperson of Ishbia’s informed Arizona Sports’ Kellan Olson that Thomas was not going to have a role. Ishbia was later asked about Thomas at his introductory press conference, saying Thomas would not have a role at this time.

Thomas has been working as an analyst for NBA TV. Before his time as an analyst, Thomas helped run the Knicks from 2003-08 in 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.

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

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