“I looked around to see who could give me a winner," Dolan said. "And No. 1 on my list, as someone who would do that job, was Isiah Thomas.”
Dolan's Knicks didn't win a playoff game during Thomas' five-year stint as team president. Thomas also went 56-108 in two seasons as head coach before being fired in 2008.
The decision to bring Thomas back is a controversial one.
ESPN's Johnette Howard wrote a column on why Liberty players deserve better than to have Thomas running the team. Jane McManus, for espnW, also wonders whether WNBA owners will approve Thomas as a part-owner of the Liberty because of Thomas' involvement in a 2007 sexual harassment case against Madison Square Garden and the Knicks.
“I went for it," Dolan told CNBC on the potential for controversy. "I did not pay attention to, yes, all of the controversy that I knew would be there. I’m used to living in controversy so it didn't bother me.”
Dolan also made it sound as if he welcomed all of the attention, even if most of it was negative.
“I am so pleased by everyone’s interest in the New York Liberty,” he told CNBC. “I can’t wait to see them all at the game. I know that Isiah is looking forward to putting a great team on the floor. I hope everybody comes to see that.”
Isiah leaves door open for move to Knicks: In each of the interviews he's done the past two days, Thomas has clearly stated that he will have no role with the Knicks in his new position with the Liberty.
But Thomas also hasn't denied the idea that he'd like to work for the Knicks in the future.
Each time he's been asked about this, Thomas has left the door open for a possible return.
“There’s a lot of things that have been written that I haven’t said so I can’t comment on any of that,” Thomas said on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN 98.7 FM. “I live in the present. I live my life everyday. I’m not trying to move into any other aspect other than where I am today.”
When asked about his interest in returning to the NBA on ESPN Radio’s “The Mike and Mike Show,” Thomas said: “I am interested in basketball period. ... You never know where life takes you. I make no plans; I didn’t plan to end up here. None of us know where we’re going to be 5-10 years from now.”