Suns Owner Robert Sarver: I'm '100 Percent Committed' to Keeping Team in Phoenix

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2018

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 23: Robert G. Sarver Managing Partner for the Phoenix Suns speaks at the press conference where Goran Dragic is awarded the KIA NBA Most Improved Player Award on April 23, 2014 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Barry Gossage/Getty Images

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver reaffirmed his desire to keep the team in its present location, announcing Thursday he's "100 percent committed" to housing the Suns in downtown Phoenix.

In a video posted to the Suns' official Twitter account, Sarver said he wants to renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena and "build a first-class practice facility" for both the Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.

On Wednesday, the Arizona Republic's Laurie Roberts reported Sarver had floated the idea of relocating the Suns as he struggles to secure public funding for his arena projects. An unnamed member of the Phoenix city council confirmed to Roberts that Sarver had specifically cited Seattle and Las Vegas as two locations for a proposed move.

Roberts reported earlier in the month the city of Phoenix was working toward a deal with the Suns in which the team would receive $150 million in public funds for renovations to Talking Stick Resort Arena.

However, the Phoenix City Council on Wednesday delayed a proposed vote during which it would've formally approved the investment.

According to Roberts, the Suns and those in favor of the deal were attempting to gain approval before Phoenix's runoff election for mayor in March. Kate Gallego, who was the leading vote-getter in November and expected to win the runoff, said publicly spending public money on the Suns' arena "is not a priority for me."

Sarver took control of the Suns in 2004. Sarver's purchase came just as the franchise was embarking on the wildly successful "Seven Seconds or Less" era under head coach Mike D'Antoni.

The Suns' fortunes have gone down rapidly since D'Antoni left to coach the New York Knicks in 2008. They haven't reached the playoffs since 2010, and they've won fewer than 30 games in each of the past three seasons.

As a result, Sarver has become less and less popular in the state of Arizona. In ESPN The Magazine's most recent ranking of the United States' major sports franchises, the Suns sat 120th out of 122 teams and were the lowest-ranked NBA team.

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