This offseason, an investigation found Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver guilty of workplace misconduct. His behavior included using the n-word multiple times, making "inequitable conduct" toward female employees, sharing inappropriate comments, and yelling and cursing at employees. The NBA responded by suspending Sarver for the entire season and fining him $10 million.
As part of the suspension, Sarver can't be involved with any activities surrounding the Suns or Mercury. Now, less than a month after his suspension, Sarver has looked to sell both teams.
One potential buyer? Former Disney CEO Bob Iger.
Sam Amico of Hoops Wire shared that Iger expressed an interest in purchasing the team about a year ago. At the time, Sarver almost immediately shot that idea down, saying he had "zero interest" in selling the team. Of course, that was before an investigation was launched into Sarver's behavior.
Iger, who's good friends with Suns point guard Chris Paul (and NBA commissioner Adam Silver), would likely need some financial help to purchase the Suns and Mercury. Iger's net worth is only about $350 million; recent NBA sales have valued the franchises at more than $2 billion.
Here's part of Sarver's statement announcing selling the team:
"As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness. 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.
"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."
The Suns are only two years removed from an NBA Finals appearance, though they've had a bumpy road since. The team fell in the Western Conference semis last year, losing by 33 points at home to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7. This offseason included a contract dispute with Deandre Ayton, who told reporters he hasn't spoken to head coach Monty Williams since that Game 7. Suns forward Jae Crowder has also requested a trade. The Mercury are also two years removed from a WBNA Finals appearance, and while the internal turmoil isn't as bad, they had a disappointing 2021-22 season.
As Amico notes, Disney owns ESPN, which unearthed the Sarver situation. Should Iger end up purchasing the teams, this would be a wild full circle type of moment.