Robert Sarver announced in a statement that he is starting the process of selling both the Suns and Mercury.
Sarver’s statement comes a week after he was suspended for one year and fined $10 million by the NBA for “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”
The league commissioned an independent investigation into Sarver’s behavior following an in-depth report by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes early in the 2021-22 season. The investigation found that Sarver used “racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.”
LeBron James and Chris Paul were among the NBA players who voiced their displeasure with the punishment, arguing that it should have been harsher. James said the league “definitely got this wrong,” while Paul said he thought the sanctions “fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior.”
“I do not want to be a distraction to these two teams and the fine people who work so hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to fans around the world,” Sarver said in his statement. “I want what’s best for these two organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my fellow owners, the NBA and the WNBA.
“This is the best course of action for everyone.”
How much did Robert Sarver buy the Suns for?
An Arizona native, Sarver bought the Suns from Jerry Colangelo in 2004 for $401 million, a record at the time for the sale of an NBA team.
Sarver owned 30 percent of the franchise when the deal was completed. According to the Suns, he and a dozen investors put down 65 percent and planned to pay the remaining balance over three years.
The Suns’ majority holdings in the WNBA’s Mercury were also included in the deal.
How much are the Suns worth?
Forbes recently valued the Suns at $1.8 billion, ranking the franchise 18th among the NBA’s 30 teams.
If the Suns were to sell for that much, it would make for the fourth-most expensive sale in NBA history behind the Nets, Rockets and Clippers. Each of those franchises sold for $2 billion or more.
The Nets were the most recent of those teams to be sold, going for a record $3.3 billion in 2019.
Most expensive sale of an NBA team:
$3.3 billion — Nets
$2.2 billion — Rockets
$2.0 billion — Clippers
$1.6 billion — Jazz
$1.5 billion — Timberwolves
Forbes recently valued the Suns at $1.8 billion. pic.twitter.com/Ktq9BbJqCe
— StatMuse (@statmuse) September 21, 2022
Following the release of Sarver’s statement, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Suns are considered “an extremely desirable franchise in the marketplace and will have no shortage of high-level ownership candidates.” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne added that “a new ownership group will come from a process that could take several months.”
After missing the NBA Playoffs for 10 straight seasons, the Suns made it to the NBA Finals in 2020-21. They followed up that season by winning a franchise-best 64 games in 2021-22, but they fell to the Mavericks in the second round of the 2022 playoffs.