Isiah Thomas' Liberty ownership on hold

By Doug Feinberg, Associated Press
Isiah Thomas

New York — The WNBA and New York Liberty have agreed to suspend Isiah Thomas' ownership application indefinitely.

"After further discussion and with the season underway, the WNBA and the New York Liberty have agreed to suspend consideration of Isiah Thomas' application for an ownership interest in the Liberty until further notice," the statement from the WNBA said Monday. "The process will resume at a future time as determined by the Liberty."

Thomas, the former Pistons great, is still the president of the team, and he said in an interview with the Associated Press at the start of the season that the two positions weren't directly connected.

WNBA president Laurel J. Richie said when Thomas was first hired as president in early May that it was "first and foremost a team decision."

A former Knicks team president, Thomas was the subject of a lawsuit by former Madison Square Garden employee Anucha Browne Sanders that he sexually harassed her. The suit cost MSG $11.5 million, but the Hall of Fame player maintained his innocence and said he was never found personally liable. Even after the settlement, Knicks and Liberty owner James Dolan kept Thomas on in an unspecified role with the NBA team.

Dolan's Knicks didn't win a single playoff game during Thomas' stint as president from December 2003 to April 2008 despite regularly owning the NBA's highest payroll. Thomas also went 56-108 in two seasons as their coach before being fired.

Monday's announcement comes three weeks after the WNBA set up a six-member committee of the league's Board of Governors to evaluate Thomas' partial ownership application.

The Liberty are off to a 4-3 start.