Official: Billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia new majority owner of Phoenix Suns
BROOKLYN – Billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia has received final transaction approval from the NBA to become Phoenix Suns new team owner, the league announced Tuesday.
“This is the culmination of a lifelong dream. I love the game of basketball deeply but it’s somuch more than that for me.” Ishbia said in a Suns news release. “Throughout my life, basketball has given me asecond family, an education, and so much joy. I am honored to be the next steward of this community’s franchises in the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury and am totally committed tobuilding an incredible organization on and off the floor.”
The NBA announced Monday night its Board of Governors approved the sale of the Suns to Ishbia and his ownership group. Ishbia also will become the majority owner of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.
The board, comprised of NBA owners, voted 29-0 for approval, with Cleveland abstaining, sources inform The Republic.
More:How Mat Ishbia parlayed a passion for basketball and a fortune from mortgages to buy key stake in Phoenix Suns
The Suns will have a press conference in Phoenix at 11:30 a.m. MT on Wednesday introducing Ishbia as the new majority owner of the Suns and Mercury. Ishbia is chairman, president and CEO of Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage, the leading mortgage lender in America.
Mat Ishbia's brother, Justin Ishbia, CEO and Founder of Shore Capital Partners, becomes the second largest shareholder and alternate governor.
"We are thrilled about the opportunity to make a positive impact on the Phoenix sports ecosystem and community through a people-first, family approach," Just Ishbia said in the Suns news release. "My brother and I look forward to bringing our passion for basketball and competitive spirit to The Valley.”
On Dec. 20, 2022, Ishbia agreed with majority owner Robert Sarver to acquire the Suns and Mercury for a record $4 billion.
Jahm Najafi will remain team vice chairman and a minority owner.
“In recognition of our enthusiasm for Mat, as the new steward of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, Cheryl and I have decided to maintain all of our family’s investment in the team and to support fully Mat’s commitment to a positive workplace environment, social justice and dignity for all employees and players," said Najafi in a news release. "I personally look forward to working with him and am honored to continue as Vice Chairman and Alternate on the NBA Board of Governors. We are excited for this new chapter of our invaluable community treasure.”
Sam Garvin, who served as interim owner, will remain the team's vice chairman and a minority owner as well.
This process began when Sarver decided to sell the Suns and Mercury a week after the NBA announced on Sept. 14, 2022, the results of the 10-month investigation. The NBA suspended Sarver for one year from any activities involving both teams and fined $10 million, the maximum amount, for ''workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies'' found during the investigation.
"As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness," Sarver said in a statement on Sept, 21. "I expected that the commissioner's one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love.
More:Jason Rowley resigning as Phoenix Suns team president, CEO, sources say
"But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury."
Sarver acquired the team in 2004 from Jerry Colangelo for what was then a record $401 million.
Garvin still needed Sarver's approval for major financial decisions.
Having Ishbia approved as team owner is major for the Suns with the trade deadline being Thursday. The Suns have been trying to trade Jae Crowder as the two sides "mutually agreed" he wouldn't attend training camp.
Sources confirmed to The Republic reports the Suns looked to trade Chris Paul, Crowder and a first-round pick to Brooklyn for All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.
The Nets ended up trading Markieff Morris and Irving to Dallas for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and two future second-round picks, the Mavericks announced Monday.
Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.
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