Editor’s Note: NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that he “fully” supports Sarver’s decision to sell the Sun and Mercury. According to multiple reports, Sarver ended up selling due to mounting pressure from corporate sponsors if there wasn’t a change in leadership.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/ykBrsEoxc0— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) September 21, 2022
Robert Sarver has announced that he’s “beginning the process” to sell his majority stakes in the Suns and Mercury. Sarver is currently serving a one-year suspension after the NBA concluded its investigation into Sarver’s “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.” during his 18-year tenure as owner of the Phoenix franchises.
“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,” Sarver said in a public statement. “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.
BREAKING: In a statement, Robert Sarver writes, in part:— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) September 21, 2022
“I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”https://t.co/fMhWdDIM5M
Sarver’s stunning announcement comes after the NBA players union, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Draymond Green expressed disappointment in varying degrees about his punishment. Green specifically called for the owners to vote Sarver out; James believed the League “definitely got this wrong,” while CP3 tweeted that “the sanctions fell short.”
“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,” Sarver said.
“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.”
There were always concerns that Sarver’s stubbornness and desire to paint himself as the victim would make him willing to continue as a pariah in the NBA community, but his decision to sell the Suns and Mercury bails out the league and his ownership peers. https://t.co/LD7o1OYhQ0— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2022
Suns vice chairman Jahm Nafaji also came out and called for Sarver to resign as the owner of the Suns and Mercury. Commissioner Adam Silver let it be known that despite the precedent he set in 2015 when the NBA banned Donald Sterling due to his racist remarks, he didn’t “have the right to take away” Sarver’s ownership stakes.
Ownership in Phoenix should be more attractive after back-to-back brilliant seasons where the Suns recorded the best record in the League. According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, League execs believe Phoenix could be a monster free agent destination with the proper ownership due to its warm weather climate