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Phoenix Suns are finalizing $4BILLION sale to mortgage lender Mat Ishbia

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Phoenix Suns are finalizing BILLION sale to mortgage lender Mat Ishbia

Embattled Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver is finalizing the sale of the team to billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia for $4billion, which also includes the WNBA’s Mercury.

Ishbia is an ex-Michigan State walk-on, who won an NCAA title with the Spartans in 2000 before becoming president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage.

The sale is expected following an ongoing one-year, NBA suspension imposed by Sarver over allegations of racism. He was also fined $10 million by the league. Sarver announced his plan to sell the club and the WNBA’s Mercury shortly after an NBA investigation found he had used the N-word around employees, bullied workers, and committed several other crimes. misogynistic work.

‘I am very excited to be the next Governor of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury,’ Ishbia said in a statement. ‘Both teams have an incredibly dynamic fan base and I’ve loved experiencing the energy of the Valley over the past few months.’

Embattled Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has reportedly sold the NBA franchise to billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia for around $4 billion, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

Embattled Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has reportedly sold the NBA franchise to billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia for around $4 billion, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

In this Dec. 12, 2015 file photo, former Michigan State players Mateen Cleaves, left, and Mat Ishbia laugh as they are introduced to Michigan State's 2000 national championship team during halftime of the Michigan State-Florida NCAA college basketball game game, in East Lansing

In this Dec. 12, 2015 file photo, former Michigan State players Mateen Cleaves, left, and Mat Ishbia laugh as they are introduced to Michigan State’s 2000 national championship team during halftime of the Michigan State-Florida NCAA college basketball game game, in East Lansing

“Mat is the right leader to build on the franchise’s legacy of winning and community support and shepherd the Suns and Mercury into the next era,” Sarver said in a statement.

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‘Mat has exactly the right spirit, commitment and resources to pursue championships.

‘I know she shares my unwavering support for women’s basketball and I look forward to watching her become a unifying force throughout the Valley of the Sun.’

If and when the $4billion sale is finalized, it will be the largest team purchase in league history. In 2019, billionaire Joe Tsai bought the parent company of the Brooklyn Nets, which includes the Barclays Center, for $3.3 billion. Tilman Fertitta acquired the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in 2017.

Ishbia is known to sports fans as one of the largest donors to the Spartans’ athletic department. Last year, he and United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) took advantage of the NCAA’s new rules on student-athlete endorsements by giving more than 130 MSU athletes $6,000 a year. The NCAA in July of 2021 said athletes can be paid for their name, image or likeness, now commonly referred to as NIL, ending a decades-long ban on endorsements.

Ishbia was a walk-on member of Michigan State’s 2000 national championship basketball team, coached by Hall of Famer Tom Izzo. Three former teammates, including star guard Mateen Cleaves, work for Ishiba at UWM.

‘Having access to resources like this is going to make a huge difference in my career in a very positive way,’ Cleaves, a former Detroit Pistons guard, told the AP in 2021.

Ishbia announced a $32 million donation to MSU’s athletic program in February of 2021. Later in the year, the Spartans re-signed head football coach Mel Tucker to a 10-year, $95 million contract .

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He was reportedly interested in buying an NFL team before the opportunity to buy the Suns came up.

UWM spokespeople did not immediately respond to an email request for confirmation from DailyMail.com.

Ishbia is an ex-Michigan State walk-on, who won an NCAA title with the Spartans in 2000 before becoming president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage

Ishbia is an ex-Michigan State walk-on, who won an NCAA title with the Spartans in 2000 before becoming president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage

Suns players and coaches expressed disbelief in September over the findings of the NBA investigation that led to Sarver’s one-year suspension and $10 million fine, with head coach Monty Williams admitting he was “disgusted” by the claims.

Sarver announced her plan to sell the club and the WNBA’s Mercury after the NBA found credible allegations of racism and sexism. At one point, Sarver was accused of asking a pregnant employee if she could perform her duties after giving birth.

‘I would say just a state of shock,’ said general manager and team president James Jones at the time. ‘You don’t want that around the organization. You don’t want that to be an issue.’

Suns veteran guard Chris Paul said he is concerned about the concerns of Suns employees.

‘It’s difficult, like anybody, reading all the different things,’ said Paul, who admitted that he contacted NBA commissioner Adam Silver because of the allegations. ‘These are still more things that people have to put up with in the workplace.’

At least six people told NBA investigators they heard Sarver use the N-word while quoting, or pretending to quote, others.

But as Williams stressed in September, the context of his use of the N-word is irrelevant.

‘That word, I don’t like, never,’ said Williams. ‘Especially when I was young and learned what that word meant. I learned how bad this is for humanity, not just black people.

‘And when I saw the report, I wasn’t happy about it, frankly, disgusted. It’s not a word you repeat over and over again. And when you read the report, you read the bullet points and you see it that way again and again, it annoys you.’

Suns vice chairman Jahm Najafi and jersey sponsor PayPal both urged Sarver to sell the team after the allegations surfaced. PayPal threatened to end its sponsorship agreement with the team if he refused.