Suns owner denies talk of moving team

December 15, 2018

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver released a video on the team’s official Twitter account denying reports that he has threatened to move the struggling NBA franchise amidst negotiations with the Phoenix City Council over renovations to the Suns downtown arena.

Sarver said he is “100 percent committed” to keeping the team in Phoenix in the message, seeming to read from cue cards off screen.

“Hello Suns fans,” Sarver said.

“I hope you take a minute to listen to an important message that I want to share with you. First and foremost, the Phoenix Suns are not leaving Phoenix. I am 100 percent committed and have been for the last four years to find a solution to keep them in downtown Phoenix, where they belong. I am a strong proponent, as evidenced by the term sheet that I signed last week, that we should renovate the Talking Stick Resort Arena and once again restore it to a world-class facility. In addition, it is important for the Phoenix Suns to build a first-class practice facility, so the players of the Suns and the Phoenix Mercury can continue to develop. I am 100 percent all-in in keeping this team right here where we stand. And I want to make sure that message comes across crystal clear to every single one of you. Thank you.”

The Arizona Republic clarified a report it made on Thursday citing a council member that told the paper the owner “basically told me the team will go (if they don’t get a renovated arena). Vegas and Seattle were the two he talked about.”

The council member clarified that while Sarver never specifically mentioned Vegas or Seattle by name, he did make clear he would leave if the deal is not approved.

Suns CEO/President Jason Rowley, said the team has never threatened to leave Phoenix, though Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher told the Republic that Suns officials have mentioned the possibility of leaving in negotiations.

Phoenix City Council voted on Wednesday to postpone a scheduled vote on the stadium upgrades after it became clear there would not be the votes to pass the $150 million deal.

Talking Stick Resort Arena, opened in 1992, is the oldest unrenovated stadium in the NBA. Before moving into the current arena, the Suns played in Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum located on the Arizona State Fairgrounds from their inception in 1968.

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