Suns Spokesperson Denies Team Hiring Isiah Thomas

7:50pm: A spokesperson for Ishbia tells Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link) that while Ishbia and Thomas are friends, Thomas will not be part of the Suns’ front office.

7:02pm: New Suns owner Mat Ishbia is planning to hire NBA TV analyst Isiah Thomas for a “prominent role” in the team’s front office, sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT (Twitter link).

According to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link), Thomas is on the board of directors of United Wholesale Mortgage, Ishbia’s company, so the two are obviously familiar with one another.

Thomas, who is in the Hall of Fame, is widely considered one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. He spent his entire 13-year career with the Pistons, which included two championships and 12 All-Star appearances.

The 61-year-old became a front office executive with the Raptors from 1994-97 after his playing days ended. Thomas also coached the Pacers from 2000-03 and was the Knicks’ president of basketball operations from 2003-08 (and their coach from 2006-08), so he certainly has a lot of experience.

However, his time in New York was controversial. As Vorkunov notes (via Twitter), in 2007 a Manhattan jury found that Thomas sexually harassed a former Knicks executive, who was improperly fired for reporting the unwanted behavior. The victim was awarded $11.6MM as part of the lawsuit.

Thomas’ tenure with the Knicks was also lousy from an on-court perspective. The team went just 151-259 during his five seasons as the lead basketball executive, a .368 winning percentage.

Hiring someone accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile working environment is a pretty terrible look for Ishbia’s first move as an owner, considering the reason he was able to buy the Suns is because former owner Robert Sarver was suspended for one year and fined $10MM for engaging in behavior that “clearly violated common workplace standards.”

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