‘An unfortunate ending’: Williams on Sarver; meets with expected new Suns owner

Head coach Monty Williams met with presumed new owner Mat Ishbia on Friday morning.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 3:56 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:13 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — As the Phoenix Suns are going through a front office revamp, head coach Monty Williams met with presumed new owner Mat Ishbia on Friday morning. While Ishbia hasn’t officially taken over for ex-owner Robert Sarver, he is already making his presence known to the team. Ishbia was spotted sitting courtside at Thursday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Williams spoke about Ishbia during practice and had nothing but praise. “I think it’s great for the team, the organization and the community to have someone like Mat in place,” Williams says. “To have him courtside probably allows for everybody to finally put a face to everything that’s been talked about and what hasn’t happened officially, but kind of lets everybody know this is our guy.” He said the meeting with Ishbia was brief but was something he’d been looking forward to.

However, the head coach also did speak about Sarver in a seemingly cryptic message. “Robert did a lot for this team, he did a lot for this city, he did a lot behind the scenes that people will never know about. It was an unfortunate ending,” Williams says. While his heart goes out to the Sarver family, he and Ishbia have to look toward the future of the Suns. “It’s really great for the community, as I said, to finally say ‘that’s our guy, that’s who we’re going forward with’ without being disrespectful or piling on to what’s already been talked about a lot,” he says. “I’m thankful we’re turning the page and able to go forward, and I hope we do it in a way that’s respectful and handled with a great deal of integrity.”

Williams is no stranger to ownership changes and said he’s excited to hear Ishbia’s plans for the organization. “What I do have is the experience with different ownerships, but I know my job is to carry out their visions, not the other way around,” he said.

Ishbia was reportedly finalizing a deal to buy the Suns and Mercury last month for $4 billion. Ishbia is the current chairman, president and chief executive of United Wholesale Mortgage, the nation’s presumed largest mortgage lender. However, before Ishbia is named the official owner, the NBA board of governors has to approve the sale, and they aren’t scheduled to meet until March. If the sale ends up being $4 billion, it would be the biggest purchase in NBA history.

The Suns broke a three-game losing streak and beat the Nets at home on Thursday night, with Mikal Bridges leading the scoring pack while Devin Booker is still out with a groin injury. The Suns will be back on the court tonight at 7 p.m. to take on the Indiana Pacers.