Isiah Thomas and James Dolan are officially back together. Dolan named Thomas president and part owner of the New York Liberty last week in a move that appears to use the Liberty as a pawn in getting Thomas back into the fold at MSG.
The hiring has sparked plenty of controversy, and Phil Jackson isn’t the least bit happy about it.
From the New York Post:
James Dolan’s decision to bring Isiah Thomas back to Madison Square Garden does not sit well with Dolan’s highest-paid basketball executive, Phil Jackson.
According to a team source, Jackson has expressed concern over Thomas’ presence at the Garden, further fueling speculation over Jackson’s future with the Knicks and whether Thomas could be in line to eventually replace Jackson as Knicks president.
“He’s not happy about it but what can he do about it?” said one Garden official, who requested anonymity. “This is just the start of it.”
Dolan has made it clear that he values Thomas as a friend and basketball mind, and the timing of Thomas’ hiring happens to coincide with the Knicks facing the most important offseason of the last 25 years. Jackson has little experience when it comes to running the draft and free agency, and the feeling is that Dolan will again use Thomas as a consultant.
Thomas has insisted that he will not have a role with the Knicks, yet league executives who have a history with the Hall of Fame point guard are convinced that Thomas accepted the job with the Liberty as an entry-level position to eventually return to the Knicks.