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In 2004, Suns owner Robert Sarver bought the franchise for $401 million. In his time spent with the team, he hasn’t been familiar with the concept of losing.
He was around for the famous run-and-gun Suns team that won a league-best 62 games during the 2004-2005 season, as well as the three playoff-bound seasons afterward.
In the 2008-2009 season, the Suns failed to make the playoffs for the first time since Sarver bought the team.
They bounced back valiantly the following year after dealing away Shaquille O’Neal. The Suns made a deep playoff run, but eventually lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, four games to two.
After the Western Conference finals appearance, Amar’e Stoudemire left for New York and the Suns haven’t been back to the playoffs in two seasons since.
Sarver will be in for some hard times should Nash choose to leave, but part of being an NBA owner is weathering the storm.
There is a lot of animosity in Phoenix toward Sarver, who was booed by the crowd during former Suns head coach John MacLeod’s Ring of Honor ceremony.
Sarver has said that he has a plan in place to make the team competitive again “quickly."
Unfortunately for Sarver, that’s not usually how the NBA works. Rebuilding is just what it sounds like—a process. Usually it’s impossible to go from being a non-playoff team to a contender in a short period of time. Suffering through the bad times is a part of rebuilding more often than not.
Sarver is a businessman first and foremost. Will he be able to handle the scrutiny and the inevitable lack of ticket sales with a lousy team on the floor? That remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, he needs to experience both ends of the ownership spectrum. He has a chance to win over Suns fans by the decisions he makes moving forward. Only time will tell if he's up to the challenge.