The Phoenix Suns reportedly have found a buyer to purchase the embattled franchise months after current team owner Robert Sarver was suspended for a year and fined $10 million.
Billionaire mortgage lender executive Mat Ishbia and the Suns are finalizing the purchase, which would include the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, ESPN reported Tuesday. The deal is set to be worth about $4 billion. Ishbia was said to be interested in purchasing a sports franchise in recent years.
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Ishbia is the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. He has been lauded for his role in growing the company from 12 people to about 7,000 and bringing in nearly $108 billion in mortgage originations, according to his profile on the company website. According to Forbes, his net worth is just around $5.1 billion.
Sarver was suspended for one season and found $10 million following the NBA’s investigation into claims he ran a toxic environment of racism and misogyny.
The NBA said in a statement to an independent investigation found Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and league rules and policies. This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex- related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that constituted bullying on occasion.”
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The initial allegations came to light in an ESPN report last year.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver brushed off calls to force Sarver to sell the team. Sarver would later come to his own conclusion to explore the sale.
Word of the agreement came a day after more Suns executives were accused of fostering a toxic workplace culture, including CEO and president Jason Rowley.
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Phoenix is currently No. 3 in the Western Conference with a 19-12 record. The team made it to the NBA Finals in 2021 only to lose to the Milwaukee Bucks.