Source on Suns Under Mat Ishbia: ‘It’s Like Looney Tunes Around Here’

Without a doubt, the Phoenix Suns have been among the most disappointing teams in the NBA. And that’s basically the polite version.Mat Ishbia, Phoenix Suns, NBA

Now, word has it they could fire coach Frank Vogel — after just one season.

Why? Because the Suns traded for Bradley Beal last summer, pairing him with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, then quickly patting themselves on the back.

But it made no difference.

Last year, the Suns lost to the eventual champion Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs. Coach Monty Williams was immediately fired.

Then they hired Vogel, who sat out last season after being fired by the Lakers. Now Vogel may be out, too, as the Suns were swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round.

Round and round it goes, how it ends, no one really knows.

All of the changes have taken place since owner Mat Ishbia bought the Suns from Robert Sarver in December 2022. One source told Hoops Wire that he believes Sarver was “forced out” as the result of “an ESPN hit piece.”

Both Williams and head of basketball operations James Jones were outspoken supporters of Sarver. But Sarver was suspended by the NBA following allegations of workplace misconduct, all reported solely by ESPN. He decided to sell shortly after that.

Well, from the sounds of things, it’s been fairly chaotic since.

“It’s like looney tunes around here,” the Suns source told Hoops Wire. “It’s felt unstable since (Ishbia) arrived. He’s a good guy and everything, I think, but he’s just very involved. Too involved. I know he played (college basketball at Michigan State), but I’d venture to say he has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to basketball. Yet he’s making a lot of the big decisions.”

The source went on to compare Ishbia’s ownership to the ownership of Dan Gilbert with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the early 2000s. Gilbert is also a Michigan State product — though he and Ishbia own competing mortgage companies and reportedly don’t speak at league owners’ meetings, or really, any other time. They’re said not to like each other.

“Back in the day, the Cavs’ basketball staff would do their coaching search, and Dan would do his coaching search,” the source said. “He’s not like that now, from everything I know. He lets the basketball people handle that stuff. Ishbia doesn’t. He’s a pain in the (butt) to be honest.”

After buying the Suns for a reported $4 billion, Ishbia made dramatic changes to everything from the front office to the team roster. So far, none of it has worked.

“There aren’t too many examples where a young owner comes in, gets super involved, and then the team has great success,” the source said. “What you usually get is where (the Suns) are now.”

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  1. Oops! How did this sentence ever make it through the editing stage? Do you edit?!

    “Last year, the Suns lost in the second round to the eventual champion Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs.”

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