The Phoenix Suns appeared to be doubling down on welcoming in some Motown flavor, but the team has allegedly denied a Tuesday night report that Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas will be joining the team’s front office.
One day after it was announced that Mat Isbia, former Michigan State basketball walk-on and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, was approved to purchase the Suns, NBA insider Chris Haynes reported Ishbia “intends” to bring on Detroit Pistons Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas for a “prominent role in the front office.”
Less than an hour later, the report was publicly denied.
Duane Rankin, who covers the Suns for The Arizona Republic, reported that Thomas “won’t have a position in the team’s front office and isn’t part of the team’s transition,” according to a spokesperson for Ishbia.
Thomas, 61, most recently worked in basketball from 2015-19 as team president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.
Prior to that, Thomas worked as head coach at Florida International University. He went 26-65 at FIU over three seasons following a disastrous stint with the New York Knicks, for whom he served in a variety of roles. Thomas was hired as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations in Dec. 2003, fired Larry Brown and made himself head coach following the 2005-06 season, and was reassigned to a consulting role in the spring of 2008. His .341 winning percentage as head coach with the Knicks is the eighth-lowest in team history.
Thomas’ Hall-of-Fame playing career saw him be one of the most decorated players in basketball history. A second-overall pick by Detroit in 1981, he led the Pistons to two NBA titles and was named Finals MVP in 1990. In 2021, he was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. He was named All-NBA First Team three times and an All-Star 11 times, the only omission coming in the final season of his career.
After his playing career, Thomas also served as coach of the Indiana Pacers (2000-2003) and executive vice president for the Toronto Raptors (1994-98).