Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver announced in a statement Wednesday morning that he has started the process to sell his stake in both the Suns and the Phoenix Mercury. This move comes after and fined $10 million by the NBA following the completion of an investigation into his inappropriate workplace misconduct.
Per Sarver's statement:
"Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together – and strengthened the Phoenix area – through the unifying power of professional men's and women's basketball.
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. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury."
Among the findings of that investigation, the league found that Sarver used the N-word on several occasions when retelling comments made by Black people even after being told not to use that word, made "sex-related comments" about female employees, and created a work environment that was inequitable toward female employees.
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Shortly after Sarver announced his intentions to find a buyer for the Suns and Mercury, NBA commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement. "I fully support the decision by Robert Sarver to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. This is the right next step for the organization and community."
With Sarver's announcement that he intends on selling his around 35 percent ownership stake in the Suns, there will undoubtedly be a slew of suitors who will try and buy it from him. When Sarver purchased the Suns from Jerry Colangelo in April 2004, the price tag was a then-NBA record at $401 million. However, 17 years later the Suns are now valued at over $1.8 billion, which ranks 18th in the league, per Forbes. Given that the Minnesota Timberwolves were just sold for $1.5 billion, the sale of the Suns should easily surpass that, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that this franchise is considered "extremely desirable."
Just from a roster perspective alone, the Suns have been amongst the most successful teams in the past two seasons, with a trip to the NBA Finals in 2021, and finishing with the best regular season record last season. The Suns boast a talented roster from the top down, and Phoenix's warm climate and proximity to places like Los Angeles is an enticing sell for players. With Sarver on the way out -- and depending on who buys the team from him -- the Suns could be even higher on the list of free agency destinations in the future.