Owner Robert Sarver announced the sale of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday.
The move came just eight days after he was suspended for a year and fined $10 million by the NBA. Sarver is said to have made racist and sexist comments and acted unprofessionally toward basketball team personnel over the years. This punishment was considered too lenient by many players around the league. NBA superstar LeBron James also publicly complained.
Sarver hoped to keep teams
A sale is “the best solution,” although he originally hoped to be able to retain control of the franchises. “But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that this is no longer possible, that what I have done well or can do outweighs what I have said in the past,” Sarver wrote in a statement. “For these reasons I am beginning to look for buyers for the Sun and Mercury.”
The owner paid 400 million euros for the teams
Sarver bought the NBA (Suns) and women’s professional league WNBA (Mercury) teams in July 2004 for about $400 million. Forbes recently valued the Suns at $1.8 billion.
NBA executive Adam Silver described Sarver’s punishment as harsh but appropriate last Tuesday and noted that he knew more about the results of the investigation than the general public. He also emphasized that there are high constitutional barriers to seizing someone’s property in the United States, and Sarver is not an employee or director.