It brings me great pleasure to type the following words: Robert Sarver is on his way out. Shortly after the NBA announced a very mild punishment — $10 million and a one-year suspension — for Sarver’s repeated racism, misogyny, and workplace abuse, the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner announced his plans to sell both teams.
Sarver announced the news in, frankly, an utterly pathetic press release. He made no apology, and showed very little remorse, and went on the passive aggressive attack with phrases like, “overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations,” and “in our current unforgiving climate.”
But the important thing is that he’s selling the teams, which came with a little pressure from minority Suns owners who had spoken up, urging him to do so.
That said, Sarver is the Suns managing partner, which means he not only has the power to sell his stake in the organization, but everyone else’s, too.
Even though Robert Sarver does not own the Phoenix Suns in full, sources told ESPN that Sarver has the authority, as the team's managing partner, to sell the team in full. Currently, Sarver owns about one-third of the team.— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) September 21, 2022
It’s not yet clear if Sarver will sell the entire team or just his shares, and it’s not known if he’ll package the Suns and Mercury together. As with all NBA sales, Sarver will get to choose a buyer, though it is subject to approval from the rest of the league’s owners.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the Suns — who had the best record in the NBA a year ago — have become one of the most enticing teams to own and, as such, the process and bidding war will likely drag on for a while.
The early expectation is a new ownership group will come from a process that could take several months, sources told ESPN. But as my colleague notes below, no shortage of interested candidates. https://t.co/gbLR6wpmKQ— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 21, 2022
When the league’s investigation was first concluded, multiple NBA players spoke out against Sarver, including Suns All-Star and former Players Association President Chris Paul, and global superstar LeBron James.
As far as I’m aware, the only Golden State Warriors player to comment on the situation is Draymond Green, who last week called it “baffling” that the Dubs would have to play in Phoenix with Sarver on the sideline, and called for the league to hold a vote regarding his ousting. Warriors media day is on Sunday, and Steve Kerr will meet with reporters on Thursday, so I’m guessing more quotes will come out soon.
The NBA season is less than a month away, and soon it will be without Robert Sarver. Life is good.
Update: Kerr spoke on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with Alex Simon of the Mercury News. Kerr’s comments stopped short of fully calling out Sarver, and are slightly at odds with his initial comments in November. Among the quotes, Kerr said, “What I witnessed was a guy who was, at times, inappropriate and whose sense of humor was sometimes over the top, but never anything that suggested racism,” and “People want to rush to judgment and say this or that, but life is complex. There’s a lot of gray area to everything that happens. Everybody wants to jump on board and say, ‘This person is this, that person is that.’ It’s not the way life works. We’re all very complex people and we live in a very complex world.”