New Liberty Boss Defends Record At MSG, Says He Hasn't Spoken With Phil Jackson

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Isiah Thomas insists his return to Madison Square Garden has nothing to do with the New York Knicks.

Thomas, the new president and part-owner of the WNBA’s Liberty franchise, says there have been no talks about advising his former team in any capacity.

“There’s been no discussion about that. Zero,” he said Wednesday on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show.

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Thomas’ controversial tenure as president and head coach of the Knicks, which included a highly publicized sexual harassment lawsuit, ended in 2008. But the 54-year-old Hall of Famer remained linked to James Dolan, who oversees the Knicks, Liberty and Rangers as chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company.

“Let’s just say, I think all of us, looking back over 10, 15 years of our lives, we probably would have done some things differently,” said Thomas, whose move to the women’s game was announced on Tuesday. “None of us are perfect.”

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Thomas acknowledged he hasn’t spoken with Phil Jackson and couldn’t say whether the current Knicks president was made aware of his return to the building.

New York went a franchise-worst 17-65 in 2014-15, its first full season under Jackson, leaving many to wonder whether Dolan’s next savior will be his old pal Thomas, now under the same roof.

“My relationship with Phil has always been great and respectful,” Thomas said. “I have great respect for Phil Jackson as well as everyone else here. He’s accomplished, he knows what he’s doing and he’s a great basketball mind. … I think everyone should be happy that he’s there.”

Isiah Thomas with the Knicks in 2008 (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Isiah Thomas with the Knicks in 2008 (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Thomas defended his record with the Knicks — which included a complicated rundown of the panned Eddy Curry trade — and repeatedly attempted to veer the conversation toward his new club, the Liberty, in an interview that had its share of tough questions and awkward silences.

“I have no ego about the game,” Thomas said. “My job as a basketball Hall of Famer, coach, whatever is to spread the game globally, to introduce this game of basketball to everyone.”

“New Yorkers should care about the Liberty also,” he added.

The Liberty will open the season June 5 against Atlanta at MSG.

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