New GM could save Suns, Sarver
by Dan Bickley, USA TODAY Sports
Bad owners are like unruly dogs. They are capable of raiding the pantry and scampering away without shame.
But some can be trained. Some change their ways. Some save their legacy before it’s too late.
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver wouldn’t be the first.
It happened to Art Modell, who won a Super Bowl after fleeing the city of Cleveland. It happened to Bill Bidwill, whose Cardinals were once the scourge of the NFL. It’s happening to Donald Sterling, owner of the resurgent Los Angeles Clippers.
And if new general manager Ryan McDonough lives up to rock-star billing in Phoenix, it could happen for the Suns’ oft-criticized majority owner.
“I’m definitely a better owner today than I was nine years ago, even two, three years ago,” Sarver said. “I’m realistic enough and honest enough to accept the fact that I need to learn and evolve.
“There are times in the past when we’ve used salary cap space wisely. But a lot of the times when we haven’t used cap space wisely happened when I was involved in the process.”
Look, there’s no need to debate or rehash Sarver’s rocky history with Suns fans. It’s part of our landscape. Few sports figures in the Valley elicit such negative feelings.
The national portrait can be even more unflattering. Recently, ESPN’s Bill Simmons attacked Sarver on a variety of points. He said Sarver is the owner that Commissioner David Stern would love most to depose. Simmons said Phoenix is “a valuable market with great fans — the current owner has destroyed basketball there.”
He also claimed the Suns could sell for over $600 million, taking great offense that an ownership group could run a franchise into the ground and walk with a $200 million profit.
That’s heavy stuff considering the source: a high-profile voice covering the league for ESPN, which is in business with the NBA.
At his core, Sarver knows how to make money. That’s his game. Globalization of the NBA has only just begun, and the valuation of the Suns could surpass $1 billion in the foreseeable future. Only a sucker sells now.
But he’s also a competitor. Cashing out before fixing … [For more on New GM could save Phoenix Suns, owner Robert Sarver, click here.]