Isiah Thomas February 19, 2022; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA great Isiah Thomas during the Skills Challenge during the 2022 NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Rocket Mortgage Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

New Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia officially closed his deal to buy the team on Tuesday.

Before the day was over he already had his first controversy.

Chris Haynes of TNT reported on Tuesday night that Ishbia “intends to bring on Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas to have a prominent role in the front office.”

NBA observers pounced on the news, pointing out Thomas‘ past history. While serving as president of basketball operations for the New York Knicks, a former female executive for the team claimed in a 2006 lawsuit that Thomas had sexually harassed her. The Knicks parent company settled the case for $11.5 million.

Former Suns owner Robert Sarver, of course, had been suspended for one year and fined $10 million by the NBA after an investigation found him involved in instances of “racially insensitive language” and “sex-related comments towards women.”

“This is like hiring Deshaun Watson to be your head of HR, what are the Suns doing?” tweeted Steven Cann.

As the NBA world flooded Twitter with puzzled and angry tweets about the Suns reportedly bringing Thomas aboard, the Arizona Republic reported that “Isiah Thomas won’t have a position in the team’s front office and isn’t part of the team transition. Ishbia and Thomas are friends.”

NBA observers questioned whether the Suns’ attempt to immediately refute the report had been influenced by the negative feedback on social media.

[Chris Haynes; Duane Rankin]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.