Robert Sarver

Pacific Notes: Davis, Winslow, Sarver, Paul

The Lakers are hopeful Anthony Davis will return to action on Wednesday, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. Davis has missed the last two game with left knee soreness. Los Angeles begins a three-game road trip at Dallas.

“We did an ultrasound on it,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “Everything is structurally intact. Just taking another day, with the two days off before the next game, and hopefully we’ll put this behind us.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Justise Winslow had a productive 15-minute stint against Orlando on Saturday, contributing nine points and five rebounds. Winslow has been waiting patiently for opportunities, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. “Just sticking with it, the ups and downs, staying steady, not too high, not too low,” he said. “Really practicing what I preach, putting the work in, staying steady, staying ready, staying ready for my time, so it felt good just to make all the winning plays that I did (Saturday), just go out there and impact the game.” Winslow is in the first year of a two-year, $8MM deal.
  • Former Suns employees who signed nondisclosure agreements have begun scheduling and participating in interviews regarding the league’s investigation of owner Robert Sarver, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN. The lawyers informed the former employees they would be released from the agreements in order to speak freely on the investigation. The league announced in early November they would investigate Sarver’s conduct and whether a toxic work environment existed within the organization.
  • It has been 10 years since then-commissioner David Stern voided a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers. Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times takes a look back at the circumstances surrounding the voided trade and the aftermath of the decision, which resulted in Paul landing with the Clippers.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Sarver, Suns, Iger, Payton

The Kings haven’t exactly turned their season around since firing head coach Luke Walton on November 21. They had nice wins over Portland and the Lakers last week, but lost at home to a Philadelphia team missing all its starters last Monday, were blown out by a Memphis team without Ja Morant on Sunday, and lost to a LeBron James-less Lakers team on Tuesday.

Up by 12 points in the second quarter on Tuesday, the Kings were outscored by 34 in the second half and ultimately fell 117-92, prompting new head coach Alvin Gentry to express his unhappiness in his post-game presser.

“The second half was a disaster and an embarrassment, and as the coach of this team, I want to apologize to every Kings fan out there because you do not deserve this,” Gentry said, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “You deserve much, much better and we’ll find guys who will give you better.”

Post-game press conferences criticizing the Kings’ performance are nothing new for this year’s team — veteran center Tristan Thompson has ripped Sacramento’s play on multiple occasions. However, it hasn’t seemed to have had much of an effect on the 8-14 squad.

Gentry’s promise to the fans that the Kings will “find guys who will give you better” may be an indication that he intends to make changes to the lineup or rotation. If the club doesn’t start winning more, it could be just a matter of time until a more drastic roster shakeup occurs.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Baxter Holmes of ESPN provides an update on the investigation into Suns owner Robert Sarver, noting that the firm conducting the probe has begun scheduling and conducting in-person interviews with current and former team employees. However, as Holmes outlines, former employees who signed non-disclosure agreements are still seeking assurances about their ability to speak freely to investigators without facing legal consequences.
  • There’s no indication yet that the investigation into Sarver will result in him having to sell the Suns. However, reports from Matthew Belloni of Puck.news and Abigail Gentrup of Front Office Sports identify former Disney CEO Bob Iger as someone who would be interested in buying the franchise if the opportunity arises.
  • Speaking to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, veteran guard Gary Payton II expressed appreciation to the Warriors for recognizing the value in his skill set and giving him a chance to play a regular role this season. “Golden State understands what I bring to the table, my defensive skills, my off-ball cutting, screening, being able to play the dunker and just take open shots when they present themselves,” Payton said. “There are a lot of guys, like Draymond (Green), that can do a lot of different things and help win games. Not every player is going to score 30, and, I obviously don’t shoot like f–king Steph Curry, but I do damn near everything else elite. It just took one organization to understand that and realize that.”

Suns Notes: Kaminsky, Ayton, Sarver, Smith

The stress reaction that Suns big man Frank Kaminsky suffered in his right knee won’t keep him out for the rest of the season, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Kaminsky didn’t join the team for its current four-game road trip as doctors are trying to determine the best way to deal with the injury.

“We’re going to miss him for sure, but we’re hopeful he can get back sooner rather than later,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s a huge part of our team, culture and we just have to wait and see, but just feel for him cause he was playing so well.” 

Kaminsky is coming off one of the most productive stretches of his career. When starting center Deandre Ayton missed six games with a right leg injury, Kaminsky averaged 14.6 points per game in that stretch, including a career-best 31-point outing. He averaged just 6.6 PPG in 15.2 minutes per night last season for Phoenix, but his role has expanded with Dario Saric rehabbing a torn ACL.

There’s more from Phoenix:

  • Ayton was upset over not getting an extension before the deadline, but he has put aside any hard feelings because the Suns are winning, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype states in a podcast with Rankin on several Suns-related topics. Ayton felt disrespected to be left out while some of his teammates were extended, Rankin reveals, but as long as he keeps playing well, he’ll be in position to demand a huge contract next summer.
  • Also on the podcast, Rankin says the investigation of owner Robert Sarver will likely last for several months. He notes that it’s being done by the same law firm that recently investigated the Mavericks, which took about eight months to complete. Rankin says the players have talked about the allegations against Sarver and are doing their best to prevent them from becoming a distraction.
  • Questions about Jalen Smith‘s work ethic led to the Suns’ decision not to pick up his third-year option, Rankin adds. It’s significant that when Ayton was sidelined, most of his minutes went to Kaminsky instead of the 2020 lottery pick. Rankin notes that Smith has an unusual combination of skills and the Suns don’t have a G League affiliate where he can develop his talents.

Western Notes: Daigneault, Bliss, Ibaka, Wolves, Suns

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault is remaining in Oklahoma City during the team’s three-game road trip that begins on Friday, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Daigneault and his wife Ashley are expecting their first child in the coming days.

“We looked at a couple options of being with the team in terms of travel, and it’s not overly practical and it’s just not something that I want to risk,” Daigneault said.

Thunder assistant Dave Bliss (not to be confused with the former Baylor coach of the same name) will take the reins and coach the team on an interim basis until Daigneault returns. Oklahoma City will play in three cities in a span of four days, visiting Milwaukee on Friday, Boston on Saturday, and Atlanta on Monday.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Clippers big man Serge Ibaka expects to play one more game in the G League on Thursday before taking the court again for the NBA club, tweets Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group. In her full story, Swanson has more quotes from Ibaka on why he asked to be assigned to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario upon returning from his back injury.
  • The Timberwolves need to take advantage of a soft part of their schedule, according to Michael Rand of The Star Tribune, who suggests the front office might have to start thinking about “major roster moves” if Minnesota doesn’t win at least two or three times in its current four-game stretch. The Wolves got off to a good start with a win over Sacramento on Wednesday. Matchups with San Antonio, Memphis, and New Orleans are on tap.
  • If Suns players have been distracted by the looming investigation into team owner Robert Sarver, it certainly hasn’t shown on the court, where the team has won 10 consecutive games, writes Rob Mahoney of The Ringer.
  • Speaking of Sarver, Baxter Holmes of ESPN reported this week that Wachtell Lipton, the firm conducting the investigation into the Suns‘ owner, has told current and former team employees that anyone who wants to remain confidential in the final report will have that option.

Pacific Notes: Sarvers, LeBron, Lakers, Caruso, Kuminga

After Baxter Holmes of ESPN published a report accusing Suns owner Robert Sarver of racist and misogynistic conduct, three former team employees received messages from Sarver’s wife, Penny Sarver, Holmes writes in a new ESPN story. She called one former Suns employee “a liar,” said another was “crushing my families’ lives,” and accused a third of being “very bitter,” as Holmes relays.

“Please put your hatred aside and realize the hurt you are causing by spreading lies and fabrications,” she wrote to the third former employee. “Is your time in the spotlight that important? If something happens to one of my children, I will hold you and (former Suns head coach) Earl Watson personally responsible. Think about your own child for a second and imagine the tables turned.”

Reached for comment, Penny Sarver said she wanted to “set the record straight and to share how disappointed and hurt I am by the lies that are circulating about my husband and the Suns organization.” However, one of the former employees contacted by Sarver told Holmes it was hard to interpret the message as anything “other than as a threat.”

Meanwhile, Alex Prewitt and Jon Wertheim of SI.com have obtained video of Robert Sarver telling sexually explicit jokes and anecdotes during a posthumous “roast” of former Suns minority owner Dick Heckmann, who passed away in October 2020. While explicit material is expected at such an event, some of Sarver’s comments may have crossed a line and are consistent with complaints from many of Holmes’ sources about the Suns owner’s penchant for inappropriate workplace humor.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • In an appearance on ESPN (video link), Brian Windhorst said that LeBron James‘ abdominal strain is “not a severe injury” and won’t keep him out for an extended period. The Lakers star has been out since last Tuesday and the team hasn’t provided a timeline for his recovery or return.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores whether the Lakers made a mistake not re-signing Alex Caruso and what the cost of doing so would’ve been after accounting for tax penalties. While matching the Bulls’ four-year, $37MM deal for Caruso would’ve helped shore up L.A.’s backcourt defense and given the team a very movable contract, Pincus estimates that the Lakers’ overall 2021/22 payroll (salary and taxes) would’ve increased by about $33MM with that deal on the books.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said this week that No. 7 overall pick Jonathan Kuminga, who hasn’t seen much NBA action so far, will have to be patient and will benefit from getting G League reps with Santa Cruz. “He had a lot of guys who were drafted right before or right after who are all playing a lot,” Kerr said, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “So it’s not easy for him, but he understands he’s on a very good team and he’s got to pay his dues and learn from the guys and there’s a lot to be said for that route in terms of development. I think he understands that and he’s working really hard.”

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, James, Bridges, Ayton

As the 2021/22 Lakers season threatens to go off the rails, the club is struggling with the offensive production of point guard Russell Westbrook, writes Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Goon is skeptical that Westbrook will ever be a great fit for the team, given his lackluster completion percentages at the rim and from long range, and his high turnover percentage.

Goon writes that the Lakers wanted Westbrook to have time to get acclimated to their system, while perhaps covertly hoping he would adapt alongside superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but that the early results appear to suggest Westbrook will be more reluctant to change on the court than the Lakers’ front office may have hoped.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Former Lakers head strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco speculates that LeBron James could miss between two and eight weeks with the abdominal strain that has caused him to miss the last two games, both losses, writes Bill Oram of The Athletic“Especially the way he plays, it’s tough for me to see him getting back under four weeks,” DiFrancesco told Oram. “These are such delicate injuries that can respond to rest with pain relief quickly, but they are highly susceptible to re-injury if returned too quickly.” DiFrancesco was with the Lakers from 2011-17.
  • Suns swingman Mikal Bridges responded to reports alleging potential toxic workplace behavior from embattled team owner Robert Sarver, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic (Twitter video link). “Obviously it’s a little bit disturbing, but it’s out of my control,” Bridges said. “The league is investigating and all that, so I think you just leave it up to them and continue what I do every day and try to win games.”
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams has revealed that, though Deandre Ayton will not partake in Phoenix’s Monday contest against the Kings, an MRI indicated that there is no structural damage in his right leg, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Williams added that Ayton will have to manage the pain in the injured leg.

Suns Notes: Williams, Booker, Paul, Sarver

Asked on Thursday night about the allegations of racism and misogyny leveled against Suns owner Robert Sarver, several of the team’s on-court leaders acknowledged the severity of those allegations while also stating that they’ll wait for more details to come out before jumping to any conclusions. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays, head coach Monty Williams and star guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul were among those who addressed the subject.

“As someone who is the caretaker of a program, I find all these things that are being said serious in nature,” Williams said, noting that the incidents described in the ESPN report occurred before he arrived in Phoenix. “It takes courage to come out and express yourself. But at the same time, I’m aware there are two sides to this equation. … We still have to wait to see how clear the facts can appear.

“… If any of that stuff happened while I was here, I wouldn’t be in this seat. The league is doing an investigation, and we’ll know more obviously once that is settled.”

[RELATED: NBA, WNBA To Launch Investigation Into Sarver’s Conduct]

Booker said that he hasn’t noticed any racist or misogynistic behavior from Sarver since joining the team in 2014, but he also disagreed with the team owner’s portrayal of former Suns head coach Earl Watson as an unreliable source. Watson was one of the individuals who went on the record with allegations against Sarver. Asked if he considered his former coach credible, Booker replied, “Earl? Yeah. That’s my guy.”

Watson, who is currently an assistant for the Raptors, issued a statement of his own on Thursday stating that he’s “not interested in engaging in an ongoing battle of fact” and that he doesn’t want to spend every day reliving what was a “traumatic experience” for him.

Here’s more on the Suns and the investigation into the Sarver allegations:

  • Paul and Booker said the team is trying to keep its focus on the court and to “control what we can control,” per Bontemps. Booker suggested that Williams is the “perfect person” to help the club navigate the situation. “He’s the best at that, at managing situations, controlling the room and keeping people focused forward,” Booker said of his coach, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “That’s what he’s done with our team, we’ve talked about it as a team. You can feel everything he says. We’re sticking behind him and we’re going to keep playing hard for him and winning basketball games.”
  • The Suns continue to publish statements in support of Sarver on their official website. Today, they issued one signed by 12 members of the team’s ownership group, including longtime NFL star Larry Fitzgerald. “To a person, we dispute the characterization of Mr. Sarver and the organization as racist and sexist,” the statement reads. “We support Mr. Sarver’s leadership and stand with him.” It’s unclear exactly how many of the team’s minority shareholders didn’t sign the statement — Baxter Holmes’ ESPN report suggested the ownership group consists of approximately 20 members.
  • One of the team’s minority stakeholders, vice chairman Andy Kohlberg, issued a separate statement of his own in addition to signing the aforementioned letter. Kohlberg said he has been business partners with Sarver for more than 17 years and has “never seen nor heard Robert make any statements that I experienced as racist, sexist or misogynistic.”

NBA, WNBA To Launch Investigation Into Sarver’s Conduct

The NBA and WNBA issued a joint statement announcing that a “comprehensive investigation” will be launched regarding the conduct of Suns owner Robert Sarver, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

“The allegations contained in today’s ESPN article are extremely serious, and we have directed the Wachtell Lipton law firm to commence a comprehensive investigation,” the statement issued by NBA Communications stated. “The NBA and WNBA remain committed to providing a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees. Once the investigation is completed, its findings will provide the basis for any league action.”

ESPN published a detailed report regarding Sarver’s conduct on Thursday. It was based on interviews with more than 70 current and former Suns employees, and painted a picture of a toxic workplace culture under Sarver, who is accused of using racially inappropriate language and engaging in inappropriate and misogynistic behavior.

The law firm is the same one that conducted the 2014 investigation regarding former Clippers owner Donald Serling, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets.

The organization issued a statement from Sarver, who indicated he’d welcome an investigation while denying the allegations. Sarver also took shots at former head coach Earl Watson, stating that Watson created a “toxic atmosphere in our organization.”

“I continue to be shocked by the false reporting from (reporter) Baxter Holmes,” Sarver’s statement read. “While there is so much that is inaccurate and misleading in this story that I hardly know where to begin, let me be clear: The n-word is not part of my vocabulary. I have never called anyone or any group of people the n-word, or referred to anyone or any group of people by that word, either verbally or in writing.

“… Instead of reporting the truth, Holmes’ story is based on misrepresentations from former Suns coach Earl Watson and other unnamed “sources.” Mr. Watson created an unprofessional and toxic atmosphere in our organization. He is clearly not a credible source. Despite hearing from witness after witness that disputed Mr. Watson’s stories, Mr. Holmes completely disregarded the truth here. Now we are in the position of trying to disprove things that did not happen.”

The team’s president and CEO, Jason Rowley, also issued a statement which in part questioned Holmes’ integrity.

“The Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury organization vehemently reject the claims made in today’s ESPN article,” it read. “Our two organizations have always worked hard to create an environment that is respectful and diverse; where racism, sexism and damaging behavior of any kind are not condoned. Today’s story contains false information and narratives perpetuated by a reporter who has struggled unsuccessfully to match the facts to a story he decided he wanted to tell a year ago. He twisted statements and circumstances to fit his preconceived narrative. He broke every rule of journalism by first deciding on his findings and then cherry-picking events and unreliable sources to prop up his demonstrably false claims.”

However, the team’s part owner and vice chairman, Jahm Najafi, struck a different tone in a statement of his own, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today tweets.

“The conduct he is alleged to have committed has stunned and saddened me and is unacceptable,” Najafi said.

ESPN Report Portrays Toxic Work Environment Under Suns Owner Robert Sarver

The ESPN report that prompted the Suns and team owner Robert Sarver to issue a series of public statements and denials before its publication is now live. Having spoken to more than 70 current and former Suns employees, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes paints a picture of a toxic workplace culture under Sarver, who is accused of using racially inappropriate language and engaging in inappropriate and misogynistic behavior.

“The level of misogyny and racism is beyond the pale,” a Suns co-owner told ESPN, referring to Sarver’s conduct. “It’s embarrassing as an owner.”

Holmes’ report, which is very much worth reading in full, is jam-packed with anecdotes from over the years, many of which Sarver and his lawyers outright deny or claim are being misrepresented.

For instance, former head coach Earl Watson claims that Sarver entered the coaches’ room after a game against the Warriors to complain about Draymond Green being able to use the N-word, and repeatedly used the word himself, even after Watson asked him not to. Sarver said that characterization is “absolutely untrue.”

“During this conversation, I said ‘N-word’ without saying the full word,” Sarver said. “The word itself never crossed my lips. Let me be crystal clear: I never once suggested on that night (or ever) that I should be able to say the N-word because a player or a Black person uses it.”

According to Holmes, at least a half-dozen Suns staffers recalled instances where Sarver heard a story from a Black player and then retold it using the same language, including the N-word. One high-level team executive said that in 2013, Sarver also used the word to explain why he preferred Lindsey Hunter over Dan Majerle to coach a roster made up largely of Black players.

“These (N-words) need a (N-word),” Sarver said, according to that executive.

Again, Holmes’ story is worth reading in full, since we can’t relay every eyebrow-raising allegation from within it, but here are some of the other notable details from the report:

  • According to Watson, he told Sarver during his first year as head coach that the team could benefit from more diversity, to which the owner replied, “I don’t like diversity.” Sarver allegedly told Watson that having a diverse staff makes it more difficult to reach agreements. Sarver denied this claim.
  • Over a dozen employees told ESPN that Sarver made lewd comments in staff meetings. He allegedly made comments about his wife performing oral sex on him and claimed he needed to wear extra-large condoms. One female former staffer said she was made to feel as if women had “very little value” to Sarver. “Women are possessions,” she told ESPN. “And I think we’re nowhere close to where he thinks men are.” One former female employee told Holmes that her time with the Suns “wrecked my life” and that she contemplated suicide.
  • A former female marketing employee told ESPN that Sarver would often use phrases like, “Do I own you?” when asking whether someone worked for the team. Several employees also recalled instances where Sarver referred to employees as “inventory.” The former marketing employee added: “He makes you feel like you belong to him.”
  • Now-former Suns staffers told ESPN that when Phoenix was recruiting LaMarcus Aldridge in 2015, the team knew he had young children in Texas and that playing near them would be appealing. Sarver allegedly suggested to two basketball operations staffers at the time that the Suns needed to have local strippers impregnated by NBA players to give the team an edge in free agency.
  • That sort of attempt at humor often made employees feel demeaned and uncomfortable, according to Holmes, who points to another example from the 2009/10 season, when Sarver entered the Suns’ training room and asked forward Taylor Griffin if he shaved his legs, then followed it up with, “Do you shave your balls too?” Former Suns account executive David Bodzin also told ESPN that in 2014, he was “pantsed” by Sarver in front of more than 60 team employees. Afterward, an HR employee allegedly said to him, with a smirk, “Please don’t sue us for sexual harassment.”
  • Behavior from other members of the Suns’ executive team also contributed to a toxic workplace environment in Phoenix, as Holmes outlines. Two former employees told ESPN that one white male executive repeatedly referred to a Black co-worker as “Carlton” and asked him to “do the Carlton,” despite being told to stop. “Super racist,” one former employee told ESPN.
  • Multiple staffers told Holmes that they were unwilling to bring issues to the Suns’ HR department because they feared retaliation. According to people with direct knowledge of the interactions, some employees who reported allegations of inappropriate conduct to HR were soon told they were no longer fits in the organization.
  • One former HR rep said that the Suns were generally quick to settle with employees who threatened legal action. “They didn’t want the press,” the former rep told ESPN. “There were people that were wrongly terminated. And then the people who had the know-how to threaten to sue would get paid. But the ones who just couldn’t maneuver that landscape would just go away. … I would hope they would sue, because I knew they would get money. So whenever we (would) see the claims come in, I would just be like, ‘Well, at least that person’s going to get some money.'”
  • During the first decade of Sarver’s tenure as Suns owner, some of the team’s part-owners explored whether it would be possible to have him removed, Holmes says. However, outside legal counsel informed them that Sarver’s position was fairly ironclad, barring serious criminal conduct or similarly egregious actions.

NBA Preparing For Bombshell Report On Suns’ Sarver?

5:02pm: The Suns have issued a statement:

We understand that an outlet is considering publishing a proposed story that makes completely baseless claims against the Suns Legacy Partners, LLC organization concerning a variety of topics. Documentary evidence in our possession and eyewitness accounts directly contradict the reporter’s accusations, and we are preparing our response to his questions. We urge everyone not to rush to judgment here. Especially based on lies, innuendo, and a false narrative to attack our organization and its leadership.”

The team has also put out a longer statement from Sarver himself. It reads as follows:

“I am wholly shocked by some of the allegations purported by ESPN about me, personally, or about the Phoenix Suns and Mercury organizations. While I can’t begin to know how to respond to some of the vague suggestions made by mostly anonymous voices, I can certainly tell you that some of the claims I find repugnant to my nature and to the character of the Suns/Mercury workplace and I can tell you they never, ever happened.

“First and foremost, I reject any insinuation of personal or organizational racism or gender discrimination. I despite language that disrespects any individuals, regardless of race, gender, preference, or choice. Such language has no place in business or at home in what I consider Suns and Mercury families. I am proud of our record of diversity and inclusion on both teams — whether on the court or in the front office.

“I don’t begin to know how to prove that something DIDN’T happen, and it is difficult to erase or forget ugly accusations once they are made. Even hints of racism or sexism in our culture today are toxic and damaging and should not be lightly raised. I categorically deny any and all suggestions that I used disparaging language related to race or gender. I would like to think that my actions and public record regarding race, gender, or discrimination of any kind, over a lifetime in business and community service, will adequately answer any questions anyone might raise about my commitment to equality and fairness.”

Additionally, Phoenix published a brief statement from general manager James Jones, who said the allegations don’t describe the “the Robert Sarver, I know, respect, and like.” In a longer statement, team president and CEO Jason Rowley took aim at the ESPN reporter working on the story, claiming he has “shown a reckless disregard for the truth” and that his tactics have been “without any basis in journalism ethics or even morality.”

Again, it’s worth noting that no report has been published yet, so it remains unclear what sort of specific accusations or incidents Sarver and the Suns are denying.


4:09pm: The NBA is preparing for a “massive story” accusing Suns owner Robert Sarver of racism, sexism, and sexual harassment, sources tell veteran reporter Jordan Schultz (Twitter link). According to Schultz, a “series of incidents” are expected to be described in the forthcoming story.

If there’s enough evidence to support those claims, there’s a real chance the NBA would wrest control of the Suns from Sarver, according to Schultz. The league took that approach when recordings surfaced in 2014 of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments, forcing Sterling to sell the team and banning him from the league for life.

It’s premature to speculate about whether the NBA will take the same path with Sarver, since we have no idea yet what the accusations will look like or how much evidence there will be to back them up. Until the full report Schultz alludes to is published, we’ll be in wait-and-see mode.

For what it’s worth, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (Twitter link) hears that over 50 people were interviewed for the story, adding that Baxter Holmes of ESPN may be the reporter working on it.

Sarver became the majority owner of the Suns in 2004, when he purchased the franchise for a then-record $401MM. When Forbes released its annual NBA franchise valuations in February of this year, the outlet estimated that the Suns are worth $1.7 billion.

The Suns made it to the Western Conference Finals three times in Sarver’s first six years as the team’s owner, but experienced a lengthy playoff drought following that third Western Finals appearance in 2010. Phoenix finally ended its 10-year drought earlier this year when the club came within two wins of a title.