New Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia made it clear that his first priority is winning a championship and doing whatever it takes in order to make that happen. Ishbia has previously said, in part, “we’re focused on winning and not money. Money follows success.”
Sure, it is easy to think of the saying, “actions speak louder than words” when Suns fans first heard Ishbia make these comments. But if you look at every move he has made since taking charge, that is exactly what he has done.
Ishbia took no time after being approved as owner to acquire superstar Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets to pair with Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton.
As soon as last season ended for the Suns, the front office team, led by Ishbia and team President and General Manager James Jones, got to work continuing to build upon what they had started just before the end of the regular season.
One of the first moves was the firing of head coach Monty Williams on May 13th, 2022. The hiring of a new head coach would be the next major piece in building another championship contender.
Jones and Ishbia took their time and landed Frank Vogel, quickly surrounding him with key pieces including head coach candidate Kevin Young (who was on Williams’ staff previously), David Fizdale, Quinton Crawford, Miles Simon, Greg St. Jean, John Lucas III, Dru Anthrop, and Jon Pastorek.
Many across the NBA were impressed with the talent and amount of money the Suns committed to their coaching staff changes, and how active they were in doing so. The actions of the front office, that Ishbia signs off on, have most definitely aligned with those words, and the franchise signed off on these moves before free agency even began.
Not only was it a costly move acquiring Durant, but the coaching staff changes also came with significant cost implications. It was reported that Vogel will receive $31 million over five years, Young will receive $2 million as the franchise’s associate head coach, and Fizdale will receive over $1 million per year.
If that was not enough to show that Isbhia is serious about doing whatever it takes to bring a championship to the valley and showing that money will not stand in his way, some of the organization’s offseason acquisitions should definitely make that clear.
Officially announced on June 24th, the Suns acquired Bradley Beal, Jordan Goodwin, and Isaiah Todd and traded superstar Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, four future first-round picks swaps, and six future second-round picks. The Suns also picked up free agent Eric Gordon on July 6th.
Many Suns fans may be perplexed by an owner who is literally putting his money where his mouth is, so to speak. Coming off of the previous 18 years the organization was led by then majority owner Robert Sarver.
Fans were used to watching the franchise spend money on attracting and retaining athletes to be underwhelming when push came to shove. Sarver was often times subject to criticism around the league for not being willing to spend what was needed to truly elevate the franchise.
Saying it is time to win this upcoming season is now not only a thought and expectation for those within the Suns’ organization, but an expectation of many around the NBA based on all of the moves executed since Ishbia has taken over the franchise.
Is Mat Ishbia the real deal? Or is this just part of the “honeymoon phase” of him taking over one of the most exciting franchises in the NBA? Time for Suns fans to buckle up, because it is going to continue to be an exciting offseason and even more exciting regular season heading into the playoffs in 2023-24!