Phil reportedly ‘not happy’ about Isiah Thomas’ return to Garden
Phil Jackson’s first season as president of the New York Knicks was far from successful, but despite the team’s dreadful record the 11-time NBA championship-winning coach hasn’t been shy to express his opinion.
Jackson has now reportedly taken aim at Isiah Thomas, who was recently hired by Knicks owner James Dolan as president given a small ownership stake in the WNBA’s New York Liberty.
Those moves are not sitting well with Jackson, according to the New York Daily News.
"He’s not happy about it but what can he do about it?" one Garden official told the Daily News. "This is just the start of it."
A jury ruled in 2007 that Thomas, then the head coach of the Knicks, sexually harassed a former executive and that Madison Square Garden improperly fired her. The woman was awarded $11.6 million in punitive damages.
The WNBA’s Board of Governors will vote on Thomas’ partial ownership of the Liberty. A source told the Daily News that his stake is expected to be rejected.
When the team announced Thomas’ hiring earlier this month, Madison Square Garden issued a statement.
"We did not believe the allegations then, and we don’t believe them now," said the statement. "We feel strongly that the jury improperly and unfairly held Isiah Thomas responsible for sordid allegations that were completely unrelated to him, and for which MSG bore responsibility.
"In fact, when given the opportunity, the jury did not find Isiah liable for punitive damages, confirming he did not act maliciously or in bad faith. We believe Isiah belongs in basketball, and are grateful that he has committed his considerable talent to help the Liberty succeed."