Sorry, Suns fans – Sarver says not selling

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) /

A rumor emerged out of nowhere that Robert Sarver has been secretly attempting to sell the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately it does not appear to have any truth to it.

Right now, the greatest thing that Robert Sarver can do for the benefit of Phoenix Suns fans is to sell the team.

After nine consecutive seasons of non-playoff participation (once the expected outcome at the beginning of any regular season), this era followed the Steve Nash era in which Sarver spent more time worrying about finances than winning a championship (not renegotiating GM Brian Colangelo’s contract, not re-signing Joe Johnson, trading multiple first round picks for “cash,” all picks that would have helped put PHX over the top), all of this has led to a level of angst towards his ownership that is well beyond the breaking point.

So whenever a rumor emerges out of the ether stating that Sarver is considering or has discussed selling the team, Phoenix Suns fans’ ears perk up like a hound on the hunt.

Alas, a new rumor has appeared, although a not-so-deep dive does bring up immediate questions to the legitimacy of it, and multiple sources quickly shot it down as entirely unfounded and untrue.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported recently that Sarver had been looking to secretly find a buyer for the franchise which he purchased for a then-record $401 million dollars in 2004, and which may now be valued when sold again for as much as five times that amount.

*Before moving on, if you follow hockey, you know John Shannon. He is a very well-respected hockey journalist (think Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype), and when he says that he has sources that said something worth listening to, he should be taken as trustworthy.

However, while I am sure that in his line of work he hears information about teams and owners from all ranges of sports not just hockey, there are dozens of other journalists around the NBA (and in Phoenix) who would have a greater insight into the potential dealings of Robert Sarver, than he.

And in this case, John’s primary point, when you think about it , is pretty far-fetched.

His specific angle was that by Sarver selling the franchise there could be a strategy to get the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Coyotes to once again share an arena – which they did from 1996 until late 2003 when the arena in Glendale was opened.

It has been no secret that Sarver has little to no interest in sharing an arena with the Coyotes again, but how information about the Coyotes and a potentially new arena opened up conversation of Sarver selling the Suns, is a fairly large leap.

Shannon notes that his Coyotes source is “impeccable,” but such a source too could both have been fed poor information or have an agenda of some kind to leak such information.

All-in-all, it should have struck a primarily hockey reporter (and not a local one at that) as very odd that of all people, he might be fed a leak about an obscure NBA owner is selling his franchise – a massive story that every local sportscaster would have loved to have broken themselves, but more specifically would have had their ears closer to the ground and have the ability to refute it before such information could be made public.

From Shannon’s perspective, could a new owner potentially have a more open mind in sharing an arena with the Coyotes?

Sure, but even if that were the case and Sarver were to sell the Suns within the next couple of months, it wouldn’t be an issue that would be settled anytime soon as that new basketball owner would most certainly want to settle down with the Suns for some time before cultivating an intimate relationship with a franchise from an entirely different sport (especially a franchise with a long history of ownership dysfunction themselves).

But even that idea makes very little sense with the $230 million already allocated to the renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena by the Phoenix City Council.

After Sarver worked with them to negotiate that deal, would a new owner really want to tick off the City by essentially scrapping it (or not utilizing it) just to facilitate a new arena to share with a hockey franchise?

light. Must Read. Robert Sarver called Jerry Colangelo about Monty Williams - but is that really a sign of a changing owner?

According to AZ Central, the Phoenix Suns reacted to this entire rumor, calling it “100 percent false.”

So, sorry, Suns fans – and possibly Coyotes fans? – Robert Sarver is not selling the Suns, and where John Shannon of Sportsnet heard this rumor, who knows, but it does not seem like it has any validity whatsoever, it has been totally denied as false, and has not been corroborated anywhere else.