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Robert Sarver Starting Process of Selling Suns, Mercury After NBA Investigation

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 21, 2022

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Phoenix Suns governor Robert Sarver said he will begin the process of selling the team in a statement released Wednesday:

"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."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement Wednesday that he "fully" supports Sarver's decision:

NBA Communications @NBAPR

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement: <a href="https://t.co/ykBrsEoxc0">pic.twitter.com/ykBrsEoxc0</a>

Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum—who is president of the NBPA—also issued a statement:

NBPA @TheNBPA

Statement from NBPA President <a href="https://twitter.com/CJMcCollum?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CJMcCollum</a><br><br>🔗: <a href="https://t.co/7uy7K1cjgd">https://t.co/7uy7K1cjgd</a> <a href="https://t.co/rFUcOGZsWM">pic.twitter.com/rFUcOGZsWM</a>

The NBA announced Sarver would be suspended for one year and fined $10 million after an investigation found he "engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards," including using a racial slur multiple times, bullying and inequitable treatment of female employees.

In November 2021, ESPN's Baxter Holmes reported on allegations of racism and misogyny throughout Sarver's 17 years with the Suns.

Silver said the punishments from the league were justified, but many have wanted harsher punishments against Sarver.

Suns minority owner Jahm Najafi called for Sarver's resignation, and NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio wants the NBA to ban Sarver for life.

PayPal also announced it will not renew its sponsorship agreement with the Suns if there isn't a change in leadership.

The pressure has seemingly been enough for Sarver, 60, to sell both the Suns and Mercury.

The Suns are considered the 18th-most-valuable team in the NBA at $1.8 billion, per Forbes.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski commented on the franchise's value:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The Suns are considered an extremely desirable franchise in the marketplace and will have no shortage of high-level ownership candidates. As a warm weather destination in West, league executives always believed this could be a monster free agent destination with right ownership.

Phoenix should also be considered a top contender for an NBA title in 2022-23 after finishing with an NBA-best 64-18 record last season.

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