The upcoming sale of the Phoenix Suns is likely to set an NBA record, according to reports.
“It’ll be the highest price ever paid for an NBA team,” ESPN quotes an investment bank official as saying.
The current record is owned by the Brooklyn Nets, who were purchased by Joe Tsai in 2019 for $2.35 billion.
“There’s going to be a tremendous amount of interest,” another investment bank official was quoted as saying.
Factors playing into a potential record bid could be the Suns’ warm-weather climate and proximity to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Bay Area, as well as the team’s new practice facility and renovated arena.
Additional factors include a new television rights deal and CBA on the horizon, plus the NBA’s young and growing global audience and the potential for new expansion teams in Seattle and Las Vegas.
One person who has already pulled out of the race is NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who says he pulled out after Jeff Bezos was rumoured to be interested in the team.
“Nobody on this planet can compete with Big Man JB,” O’Neal told TMZ Sports on Saturday, referring to Bezos, adding: “Because you know what? I just ordered 50 things off Amazon today. Big Man JB got that money coming in.”
O’Neal made similar comments during a recent episode of his podcast, “The Big Podcast.” “Jeff said he wants it, and a couple of other heavy hitters said they want it. I’m not even going to put my name in the bucket on this one. I’m not,” O’Neal, who played for the Suns from 2007 to 2009, said.
Other potential high-powered bidders include former Disney CEO Bob Iger, former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Laurene Powell Jobs, the former wife of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, ESPN reported.
Suns’ executive vice president and CFO Jim Pitman recently relayed to team employees that a fully executed sale of the team could take six to nine months, team sources said. That timeline would stretch through the 2022-23 season.