The ownership purchase of the Phoenix Suns sounds like it’s going to be closed in record time. According to an ESPN report, the Ishbias will complete their purchase of the Suns, including all league-level background checks and approvals, before the February 9 trade deadline.
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski were the first to report that the Suns purchase is in the final stages.
NEWS: Mat Ishbia's purchase of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury at a $4 billion valuation is expected to become official in the next two weeks, with Ishbia assuming control prior to the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, sources told @wojespn and me. https://t.co/JIVYoVKkCW— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) January 25, 2023
Within the story are some really important nuggets:
- Ishbia will own more than 50% stake in the Suns, taking all of Robert Sarver’s stake and some of the minority owners’ stake
The deal will give Ishbia more than 50 percent ownership of the teams, which includes Sarver’s stake, plus a portion of that of minority partners.
- Mat Ishbia will become the new team governor, and is excited to be heavily involved with personnel and operations
Ishbia becoming the team’s official owner by the Feb. 9 trade deadline will clear the way for Ishbia to oversee the team’s deals with the front office. Ishbia is eager to start his involvement with basketball operations, and expected to be a hands-on owner in matters of team building, sources said.
- brother Justin is still a minority partner, and was perviously tagged as Alternate Governor
Ishbia’s group includes his brother Justin, a founding partner of Shore Capital private equity.
- But it’s unclear whether the 50+% stake is Mat’s alone, or includes Justin
During a sale process, the NBA performs criminal, financial and background checks on proposed owners. Prospective buyers also must meet with the league’s advisory and finance committee — a group of nearly 10 owners — and also be approved by a three-fourths vote of the 29 other NBA owners.
Mat Ishbia attended at least two home games over the past weekend in Phoenix — both much-needed wins! — sitting in Sarver’s saved corner seats. One game was with interim Governor Sam Garvin next to him and one was with his children beside him.
He met with members of the Suns front office and coaching staff briefly, but obviously will dedicate a large portion of time in his opening days of ownership helping the team navigate the trade deadline.
Last week, Shams Charania reported that Ishbia has already given the front office the green light to use future first round picks and to acquire extra long term salary in trades to upgrade the team.
Now, with his ownership being finalized prior to February 9, there will be no ambiguity at the ownership level between his wishes and those of his predecessor.
This closing would be among the fastest in history, giving heavy indication that Mat Ishbia is aggressive in his moves and will be aggressive in managing the Suns as well. The fact that he wanted the sale closed before February 9 means he will be wanting some action on or before that day. Otherwise, why else push so hard to get the sale done early? If he wanted the team to be quiet on the trade deadline, he’d have allowed the process to take its time and finish in late February or early March, washing his hands of this season entirely.
Now it appears that Ishbia will want to make an early stamp on the team, starting with the trade deadline.
He’s already made an early stamp on the community, donating an incredible $100,000 to our annual Bright Side Night fundraiser to send underprivileged kids to a Suns game. Thanks in part to the Ishbia brothers, we are going to send a record 8,000 kids to Suns games this spring!
The seventh annual Bright Side Night will take place next Monday, January 30, and there are still some $15 tickets reserved for Bright Siders to donate. We reserved a huge block of tickets for the game, and our ticket rep with the Suns has saved some for this final week of donations.
You can donate as little as $15 and the Suns will match it to send TWO kids to Monday’s game.
All donors this week are entered into a drawing for a signed Deandre Ayton jersey, and those who donate at larger levels get other perks too!
Details/donations here: Suns.com/brightside