Robert Sarver tells his side


Throughout the lockout, Robert Sarver was portrayed as one of the leaders of the hardliners, an owner who wanted to line his pockets more than play basketball.

He was forced to bite his tongue amid anonymous reports of his wife requesting the midlevel in a designer bag and Sarver being one of more difficult owners to deal with toward the goal of reaching an agreement.

Sarver finally got to tell his side of the story to The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro in an article posted Tuesday night and didn’t hold back.

“I was consistently at the forefront of trying to get a deal done, knowing it was important for our fans to see NBA basketball again this season,” Sarver told Coro.

David Stern corroborated that point by saying Sarver was “opposite” of the public’s perception of him, as we saw in reports near the end of the lockout by CBSSports’ Ken Berger and ESPN’s Marc Stein.

Coro went on to ask him whether he was concerned this reputation would damage the Suns’ attempts to reload with cap space next summer.

“I was concerned, and that was probably the toughest part about not being able to get the record straight,” Sarver said. “It’s important that Phoenix is viewed as a place players want to come to.”

This is ultimately the most important part of this story. Regardless of what went on in those boardrooms — and I see no reason not to trust Sarver that some of those reports were overblown — the most important part is for the Suns to remain a franchise free agents want to sign with.

Jerry Colangelo always leveraged the Suns’ player-friendly reputation along with the desirable nature of living in Phoenix to reel in his share of free agents. Next year it will be Sarver’s turn to do just that to put to rest any worries about his reputation in the aftermath of the lockout.

Tags: Robert Sarver

  • Scott

    Good luck, Mr. Sarver. Too many people would rather see you as an incompetent, tightwad, and villain.

    The truth won’t make any difference to these people. And, frankly, the media would rather stoke these fires than put them out.

  • SunsfanAlex

    I’m not really concerned with his disposition during the lockout, I just wish that we would have signed better players than these wash-ups that are coming through now.

  • steve

    I trust the reports much more than stern. Sarver pays stern. Glad to see not everyone thinks Sarver has destroyed basketball forever.

  • Grover

    Sarver has no credibility. He earned his reputation all on his own. In I think it was ’05-06, he was the envy of the league by having a solid core of young players (Stoudemire, Johnson, Marion in particular), a hall of famer still in his prime in Nash, plus draft picks… All that combined with a revolutionary style that players loved and that was perfect for TV. All he had to do was build depth, which he had the draft picks to do, and be willing to spend money. Instead, he was cheap – sold draft picks and let talent leave rather than spend money. I’m not even talking about bad choices or players (everyone makes a few of those, though Sarver may have made more) – just the ones where he made pure financial choices. Now what does he have? A major rebuilding project.

    There was an interesting interview with Kerr recently. His main topic was blasting Stern for the Paul fiasco, but in it he talks about the Kurt Thomas salary dump as being the worst trade in NBA history. He doesn’t mention Sarver by name – actually points the finger at himself as he was the GM who pulled the trigger – but the implication is GMs are forced by owners to do things for money. If you remember, we traded Thomas plus two first round picks to Seattle for a second round pick so we didn’t have to pay the last year of the contract. What did Seattle do? Traded Thomas to San Antonio for yet another first round pick (so… Seattle netted three first round draft picks in exchange for one second draft pick. Sarver may be more responsible for Seattle/OKC’s rise to power and youth movement than any person on earth).

    No sympathy here. Buying a sports team is the move of an immature egomaniac. If you want to rub elbows with celebrities and athletes and get invited to all the swankiest parties, you can’t bitch and moan when people talk bad about you or unfairly characterize your actions. Grow up.

  • Mel.

    “No sympathy here. Buying a sports team is the move of an immature egomaniac. If you want to rub elbows with celebrities and athletes and get invited to all the swankiest parties, you can’t bitch and moan when people talk bad about you or unfairly characterize your actions. Grow up.”

    I actually agree with that. I’m not really sold on Sarver being any better or worse than the standard for winning GMs/Team Owners–watching the Buss family be put on blast with the same invectives that used to be spat at Sterling thanks to the unexpected do-see-do of the Clippers/Lakers’ fortunes demonstrates just how arbitrary public opinion is–but that’s a fundamental truth. It’s akin to pop stars who panty-flash the cameras and then editorialize about how they’ve become tabloid fixtures, thanks to the evils of the world in which they live… don’t want nothin’, don’t start nothin’.

  • steve

    “watching the Buss family be put on blast with the same invectives that used to be spat at Sterling thanks to the unexpected do-see-do of the Clippers/Lakers’ fortunes demonstrates just how arbitrary public opinion is…”

    Exactly. I don’t feel sympathy for Sarver or anything, and I won’t even come close to pretending he’s a great owner, but the way he gets ripped seems to me to be a concoction of the media mixed with a little bit of groupthink. It’s easy to blame Sarver for every woe. Call me crazy, but I don’t see the devil when I look at Robert Sarver. I see something more similar to “an immature egomaniac” who wants to get his name in headlines and get invited to all the biggest parties.

  • Tony

    What a complete idiot Sarver is. So Amare misses playing for the Suns, huh Sarver? So I suppose he misses being on the trade bloc every season not knowing if he is going to finish the season as a Sun. I also suppose he misses not making the playoffs right Sarv? Sarver is just such an ego-manical duche. He has no self-awareness of how he has single-handily ruined this great franchise.
    Sarver claims he’s learned from his mistakes, but how can that be when he continues to repeat the same mistakes over and over again? Letting JJ go, he should have learned at that point star players are vital to wining, but what does he do instead, he lets Amare go. So I guess Sarver didn’t learn.
    I am so sick of Coro giving a pass to Sarver. He should have jumped all over him for reducing payroll every year so Sarver cannot fairly make the argument that the Suns were over the luxury tax while he was owner, because those were the consequences of moves made by JC not Sarver.
    I have watched and followed a ton of sports teams throughout my life, but I have never disliked an owner so much as Sarver. The guy takes no responsibility whatsoever.
    No one should take him seriously about making a big spash next off-season on free agents. It’s not going to happen. He signs a couple of D-Leaguers in Price and Telfair, guys who were third-string pgs on their respective teams, and now Sarver thinks this team will be competitive? Guaranteed, neither Paul, Howard, or WIlliams is going to sign with the Suns. If they wanted to play for a medicore team, they would at the least stay with their respective teams where they could earn more because of the CBA rules. So what will happen when Sarver strikes out with top-tiered players next off season? Sarver will overpay a couple of pretty good players at best and the team will be even further from rebuilding.

    Let’s all remember Sarver’s arrogance has no reasonable basis. This is a guy who inherited his fortune from his father and subsequently screwed up his banking business, requiring a bailout by the Feds. The guy has no reason to be so arrogant.

  • steve

    All I hear is the snoopy noise…