Embattled Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has landed a lucrative payout amid his suspension from the NBA. On Dec. 20, Sarver announced that he settled a hefty negotiation deal with billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia and his brother Justin Ishbia to buy The Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Now, Mat and Justin will both serve as Governors of the teams.
According to a press release shared by NBA insider Shams Charania, Sarver is set to receive a whopping $4 billion from the deal. The NBA businessman sold 50% ownership of the team, including all of his interest and a portion of the interest given to “minority partners, who were also granted additional sale rights.”
The deal will take several months to complete, according to reports
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the trio will finalize the deal sometime “in the near future.” Ishbia, who is the president and chief executive of United Wholesale Mortgage, will undergo a vetting process by the NBA, according to NPR. Once complete, the league’s board of governors will have to approve the sale.
“Mat is the right leader to build on franchise legacies of winning and community support and shepherd the Suns and Mercury into the next era,” Sarver said in a statement on Tuesday. “As a former collegiate basketball player and national champion, Mat has exactly the right spirit, commitment and resources to pursue championships.”
In September, Sarver revealed his plan to sell the Suns and Mercury after an NBA investigation discovered that he used racial slurs and created a hostile work environment during his ownership tenure.
As previously reported, officials from the association discovered that Sarver used the N-word on multiple different occasions. He also made sexual comments toward female staffers and mistreated several employees. As a result, the NBA slammed the 60-year-old sports mogul with a year-long suspension and a $10 million fine. After news of his suspension broke, some prominent basketball stars criticized the NBA for Sarver’s light punishment including LeBron James, Chris Paul and Draymond Green.
“I am extremely excited to be the next Governor of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. Both teams have an incredibly dynamic fan base and I have loved experiencing the energy of the Valley over the last few months.”
The former Michigan State athlete added:
“Basketball is at the core of my life, from my high school days as a player to the honor of playing for Coach Izzo and winning a national title at Michigan State University. I’ve spent the last two decades building my mortgage business, United Wholesale Mortgage, into the number one mortgage lender in America and I’m confident that we can bring that same level of success to these great organizations on and off the floor.”
According to reports, Ishbia is a former Michigan State player under coach Tom Izzo. He was a member of the Spartans’ NCAA championship team in 2000.
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