Report: Billionaire Mat Ishbia Finalizing Purchase of Phoenix Suns for $4 Billion

NBA: Playoffs-New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns
Apr 19, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver against the New Orleans Pelicans during game two of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Following a year suspension and a $10 million fine from the NBA, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver put the Suns up for sale and it seems the team may have found its new owner: Mat Ishbia.

Ishbia, the President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, is reportedly finalizing the purchase of the franchise for $4 billion and the actual announcement could come as soon as this week, according to reports.

Ishbia still needs to have a background check and a vote of approval from the board of governors to officially be the new owner of the Suns, according to ESPN.

Reports in the last few years have indicated Ishbia has long been pursuing an NBA or NFL franchise. He was a walk-on as a basketball player at Michigan State, and was on the 2000 National Championship team. He even made a $32 million dollar donation to the school’s basketball program. 

Reports have also surfaced that the other two members of the Suns ownership group are surprised with how quickly the new ownership process has unfolded.

The managing director of Thiel Capital, Jack Selby, and Jason Pressman, who is the managing director of Shasta Ventures, reportedly submitted a $3 billion bid to buy the franchise but were outbid.

The franchise went up for sale, not long after the NBA announced its findings from a 10-month investigation into Sarver’s behavior. The NBA commissioned the investigation, which ended up detailing allegations of racism and misogyny throughout Sarver’s 17-year term as the owner of the Suns. The league fined him $10 million and suspended Sarver for an entire year. Sarver also put the WNBA team the Phoenix Mercury up for sale as well. Sarver made this statement following the announcement of his suspension:

“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness. I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love. But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible—that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past.”

In his 17-years as the Owner, the Suns made one finals appearance and lost in 2010. The Suns also went to five conference finals. In that time, Steve Nash won back-to-back MVPs in the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons.

So far this season, the Suns are 19-12 and the third seed in the western conference.  In the entire NBA, they have the sixth-best record. They are led by Devin Booker, who is averaging 28 points per game for Phoenix and expected to be one of the contenders to win a championship this season. The Suns are still one of 11 teams that still have never won an NBA Championship. 

ESPN has more HERE.

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