Robert Sarver Seeking Owner Who Will Keep Team in Phoenix

Suspended Suns owner Robert Sarver is seeking a buyer who fully intends to keep the team in Phoenix, vice chairman Sam Garvin said, via Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.Robert Sarver

“I think he really wants to find someone who loves Arizona, wants to keep (the Suns) in Arizona and is committed to the fans and is committed to the community,” Garvin said of Sarver, via Rankin. “I think he’ll do a good job on the sale.”

Garvin, by the way, has no say in the sale of the team. 

Disney CEO Bob Iger was once mentioned as potential buyer, but has since returned to a prominent role at Disney. So it now appears unlikely that Iger would buy the Suns anytime soon.

Sarver was suspended by the NBA for one year in September after an investigation revealed workplace misconduct. He began the process of selling the team shortly after the suspension was announced.

“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,” he said in a statement at the time.

“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.

“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. 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.

“In the meantime, I will continue to work on becoming a better person, and continuing to support the community in meaningful ways. Thank you for continuing to root for the Suns and the Mercury, embracing the power that sports has to bring us together.”

The NBA alleged Sarver’s infractions in a press release. Per the league:

“Mr. Sarver on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others. Mr. Sarver engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees. Mr. Sarver engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees including by yelling and cursing at them.”

Sarver was also fined $10 million as part of the investigation. Per the league, Sarver also cannot do any of the following in 2022-23:

“Be present at any NBA or WNBA team facility, including any office arena or practice facility.

“Attend or participate in any NBA or WNBA event or activity including games practices, or business partner activity.

“Represent the Suns or Mercury in any public or private capacity.

“Have any involvement with the business or basketball operations of the Suns or Mercury.

“Have any involvement in the business governance or activities of either the NBA or WNBA, including attending or participating in meetings of either league’s Board (and their associated Board committees).”

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