According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, former Detroit Piston Isiah Thomas has been named as the President of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.
Thomas was a great player in his day, winning two NBA Championships as part of the “Bad Boy” Pistons. He averaged 19.2 points and 9.3 assists over a 13-year career. However, he was likely hired because of his experience as an NBA executive with the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors.
He became a part owner and Executive VP for the Raptors, who were an expansion team at the time, but left in 1998 over disputes about his role and future with the team. He was responsible for drafting Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady, and Marcus Camby from 1994 to 1998.
Thomas took on a few different jobs before settling in New York as President of Basketball Operations in 2003. He was not popular with the fanbase because he dealt away draft picks in talent-rich years and the team had the highest payroll in the league coupled with the second-worst record. Thomas promised success and progress, but the Knicks did not have any of that up to the time he was replaced by Donnie Walsh in 2008.
This move comes as a bit of a surprise considering some of the trouble he got into when he was with the Knicks. He was sued by Anucha Browne Sanders for sexual harassment; she claimed she was improperly fired for complaining about his unwanted advances. Sanders won the case and was awarded $11.6 million in punitive damage from Madison Square Garden and Knicks owner James Dolan. It should also be noted that Dolan owns the New York Liberty and is the guy deciding to give Thomas this job as well.