Louis Lanzano, Associated Press
Former New York Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders, seen here in early October, reached a settlement with the team Monday.

NEW YORK — Madison Square Garden and New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas reached an $11.5 million settlement of the sexual harassment case brought by a former team executive.

The deal came Monday as Anucha Browne Sanders was preparing to return to U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where her description of her ordeal with the Knicks exposed the club's tawdry side, from its dysfunctional clubhouse to its star player's sexual exploits with an intern.

A jury awarded her $11.6 million in punitive damages. This deal replaces that.

"I am extremely pleased that we have reached a settlement," Browne Sanders said in a statement. "The jury's verdict in this case sent a powerful and enduring message that harassment and retaliation at Madison Square Garden will not be tolerated ... It has been a long journey, but I believe that justice has been done."

The case was supposed to resume this week before U.S. District Judge Gerard E. Lynch, who was set to decide how much Browne Sanders was owed in compensatory damages, a payout that usually involves lost wages and future loss of income. The Knicks also faced the possibility they might be ordered to pay what was likely to be millions of dollars in legal fees.

By settling, the Knicks avoided paying her legal fees, while Browne Sanders gets her money faster and avoids the possibility of having her award reduced on appeal.