Suns Owner Ishbia: Durant Trade Involved “No Risk”

New Suns majority owner Mat Ishbia believes the Kevin Durant blockbuster deal wasn’t risky at all, he told Chris Mannis of Sports Illustrated.

Ishbia made a big splash and acquired of one of the league’s biggest stars right after being approved by the league’s owners to take control of the franchise.

“I don’t look at it like a risk at all. I know what the vision is,” he said. “I’m going to own this team for 50 years, so like zero [risk]. I don’t need to come in and win in the first year. But at the same time, there’s nothing in my life that I don’t want to win at. We’re going to try to win everything we do.”

The fact that Durant is in the first season of a four-year extension played into the decision to make the deal with the Nets. The Suns gave up Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and several first-rounders in the deal, which turned into a four-team swap.

“It wasn’t a tough decision. We really didn’t want to give up some of the guys, because we love those guys,” Ishbia said. “They were winners and we didn’t want to give them up. But at the end of the day the right decision was, what do we do to maximize our team for today and for the next three to four years? This is going to be what the Phoenix Suns are about.”

Ishbia touched on a number of topics with Mannix:

  • Potential luxury tax penalties didn’t factor into the decision to make the trade. Ishbia is also unfazed by any future tax issues: “The financial piece was five seconds. They know I’m ready. That doesn’t bother me.”
  • Ishbia won’t meddle with GM James Jones and head coach Monty Williams in their jobs: “James will pick the best player. And that’s his job. I’m not calling Monty Williams to ask him why we played someone. That’s not my thing. I’ll watch the game like a fan and cheer the team on. That’s what my job is to do, is to be the biggest supporter, to give Monty Williams all the support he needs, to give James Jones all the support they need, to give the players all the support they need.”
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was the only owner who abstained from approving him as Phoenix’s owner. Gilbert and Ishbia both own major mortgage companies based in Michigan, but Ishbia says there’s no bad blood between them. “If I saw Dan today, we’d shake hands and say hello. We’re normal people. But we’re not giving each other advice and being friendly in the business side. I have no negativity towards him. He’s probably not one of the first owners I’ll call for advice on ticket sales or sponsorships, but I’m friendly to everybody. But I’m fine talking with him.”
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