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The Phoenix Suns can finally close the chapter on the Robert Sarver saga
Matt Ishbia is finalizing a purchase of the Phoenix Suns from Robert Sarver, who owns a majority of the team today, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Sarver announced his intention to sell the team after a September bombshell investigation revealed allegations of decades of misogyny and racism from Sarver within the organization. Some advertisers and partners threatened to — and in some cases, did — end their relationship with the Suns if Sarver did not sell the team.
The deal is for a reported $4 billion dollars:
It’s a remarkably high price considering one would expect Sarver had to sell at lower than he wanted given the circumstances.
This will mark the highest selling point for an NBA team. Previously, the highest-selling team was the Brooklyn Nets, purchased by Joe Tsai, for $3.3 billion.
Just this week, Baxter Holmes — who initially reported on the misconduct found in the Sarver investigation — reported that employees within the Suns are still wondering when others responsible for complicity in Sarver’s culture will be held accountable as well. New ownership is one big step in giving clarity on those developments.
Who is Matt Ishbia, new owner of the Suns?
Matt Ishbia is the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. He has a net worth of $5.1 billion, according to Forbes.
According to Forbes, Ishbia’s father founded the company as a side gig in 1986 and it eventually grew to be the leading wholesale mortgage lender in the country in 2015. Ishbia joined the company after he graduated from Michigan State and has been CEO since 2013. After it went public in 2021, Ishbia’s 71% stake in the company was worth billions. His brother owns another 22% stake.
His brother will also be brought in on the investment and serve as an alternate governor, according to Shams Charania.
Ishbia will soon be the youngest principal owner in the league and has already sparked hope that he will bring a more progressive tone to the league than previous owners have:
What impact does this have on the Suns this season?
The Suns ownership dilemma was (and presumably still is) a factor in the team’s approach to the trade deadline this season. Previously it was thought that a team still waiting to be sold would be hesitant to take on a win-now player in a trade owed million of dollars over the next several years.
Tying up the sale now gives the Suns more clarity on what they can actually do at the deadline and what opportunities they have an ownership blessing on to take in order to win.