Mat Ishbia expected to become owner of Suns and Mercury before NBA trade deadline

The sale of the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury to billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia is expected to be finalized within the next two weeks, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski.

The NBA board of governors will reportedly ratify Ishbia’s purchase during a vote in early February, which puts Ishbia on track to assume control of team operations before the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 9.

Ishbia reportedly finalized the purchase of both teams from Robert Sarver a month ago at a $4 billion valuation. That number was confirmed in ESPN’s report and set up the sale to become the highest in league history. Sarver announced he would sell the Suns and Mercury in September after the NBA suspended Sarver for the season and fined him $10 million following a 10-month investigation into claims of workplace misconduct.

The trade deadline timeline is important because Sarver reportedly still had control over much of the Suns’ player deals. Suns forward Jae Crowder has not played this season as he awaits a trade he requested in the offseason. Teams are interested in acquiring Crowder, but it is unknown if Sarver’s authority over deals has stymied any trade talks.

Who is Mat Ishbia, the Suns and Mercury’s future owner?

Ishbia has been the CEO and chairman of United Wholesale Mortgage since 2013, when he took over for his father. He took the company public last year at a valuation of $16.1 billion. At 43 years old, Ishbia will be the youngest team owner in the NBA — narrowly beating out 44-year-old Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera.

Suns head coach Monty Williams told reporters he spoke with the team’s future owner after Ishbia attended Phoenix’s home game on Friday. Williams called it “great for the team, the organization and the community to have someone like Mat in place.”

“It was short, but everything that I’ve heard about Mat and his family and the way he runs his business has been pretty cool to hear all that,” Williams said. “Getting a chance to talk to him [Friday] was something that I had been looking forward to, but I’m sure our fans can finally say, hey, that’s our guy and move forward.”

Incoming Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Mat Ishbia sits courtside against the Brooklyn Nets at Footprint Center in Phoenix on Jan. 19, 2023. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)