6:44pm: Ishbia will be introduced as the Suns’ new owner at a February 8 press conference, tweets Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
11:44am: Mat Ishbia‘s purchase of the Suns from longtime owner Robert Sarver is expected to become official at some point in the next two weeks, ahead of the February 9 trade deadline, according to Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The expectation is that the NBA’s Board of Governors will hold a vote to ratify the sale in early February, per ESPN’s duo.
Ishbia reached an agreement in December to buy the Suns from Sarver at a valuation of $4 billion. Typically, it takes at least a couple months for the NBA to officially approve and complete the sale of a franchise because the process involves extensive criminal, financial, and background checks on prospective buyers, who also have to meet with the NBA’s advisory and finance committees, according to Holmes and Wojnarowski.
It’s unclear if the process this time around was expedited with the trade deadline around the corner, but if Ishbia does indeed assume control of the team before February 9, it could have major implications for the Suns’ approach to the trade deadline.
For the time being, Sarver still has the final say on certain roster decisions, despite being suspended for a year, but that would no longer be the case once the NBA approves Ishbia’s purchase. There have been rumblings that – under new ownership – the Suns would be willing to take on long-term salary and give up a first-round pick at the trade deadline to make roster upgrades.
Ishbia’s agreement to buy the Suns will give him control of more than 50% of the franchise, according to Holmes and Wojnarowski. Sarver’s stake in the team wasn’t that substantial, but Ishbia and his group are also buying out some of the minority shareholders.