Column: Phoenix should call Suns owner Robert Sarver’s bluff about moving team

Column: Phoenix should call Suns owner Robert Sarver’s bluff about moving team

December 13, 2018

Few things are more satisfying than calling a bully’s bluff, which is what the city of Phoenix should do with Suns owner Robert Sarver’s reported hints that he could take his basketball and leave town if he doesn’t receive a refurbished arena.

If I’m a city council member, I’d wish Sarver well, pack him a lunch and be content in knowing the Suns aren’t going anywhere.

The city council was scheduled to vote Wednesday afternoon on whether to spend $230 million on upgrades to Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mayor Thelda Williams and two council members asked for a postponement, apparently because of strong public backlash to the proposal.

There is little public appetite these days for spending tax money on sports venues, but the backlash the council is feeling is more about Sarver and his stewardship of the Suns, if you can call it that.

Suns' value tripled under Sarver

In 14 years as owner, Sarver has supervised the decimation of a once-proud franchise and made millions in the process. No, the Suns have never won an NBA title, but until Sarver arrived, they at least appeared to be trying.

Quite possibly, Sarver wants to win. Most definitely, he does not know how.

But he does know how to make a buck. Sarver bought the Suns for about $400 million, and Forbes recently pegged the franchise’s worth at $1.28 billion.

Sarver has made a fortune owning the team, which is fine. That’s America. God bless him.

What he has failed to do is produce a product that anyone wants to watch, much less cheer for. The Suns haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010, haven’t won more than 24 games since 2014, and are 4-24 this year.

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