Robert Sarver has vehemently denied the accusations of racism, misogyny, and bullying in Baxter Holmes’s piece. But as is always with stories like these, they encourage others to step forwards and share their experience, making it more believable that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. One of those who shared their Robert Sarver experience is Vince Carter.
“Take him out”
Carter played in Phoenix in ’10/’11 and left for the Mavericks after only a year with the organization. It seems like Robert Sarver wanted to keep Carter in Phoenix, and didn’t deal with the rejection very well. When Vince came back to play in Phoenix, Sarver asked a few of the players on the team to retaliate.
Those players shared the details with Vince, letting him know the owner walked into the locker room and was frustrated with the fact Carter was playing well and was having a good time on another team.
“We were winning the game and he wanted them to take me out. Put me on the ground. ‘Don’t let him have fun in our building.’ Because he felt like I was trying to show him and the team up.“Vince Carter, ESPN
Vince Carter said 2 teammates told him that when he returned to PHX, after playing there for a year, Robert Sarver told the PHX locker room to take him out/put him on the ground because he didn’t like that VC was playing well & thought he was trying to show him and the team up. pic.twitter.com/3PWr7kqtrf— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) November 4, 2021
Carter explained nothing happened, so it “was no big deal.” But when you think about it, an owner asking that his players hurt a former member of the team is a big deal. We’re talking about a man’s livelihood here.
In addition, it again shows that, shockingly, a billionaire doesn’t react well when things don’t go his way. A lot of this is troubling and explains why the Suns have been a total disaster for most of Sarver’s tenure as owner. But is it enough to force him to sell the team?
The Sterling precedent
Shortly after the article broke, the NBA released a statement informing everyone that they had taken the first steps in addressing the issue.
While an investigation is a good start, you shouldn’t expect it to lead to a Donald Sterling type scenario. As the article explained, things were so bad that several minority owners explored the possibility of removing Sarver from the team and learned the contract makes Sarver basically untouchable. While we all applauded Adam Silver’s quick reaction in the Donald Sterling drama, the only thing the Commissioner could’ve done, and did, was to give Sterling a lifetime ban from the NBA.
“As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers. I will urge the board of governors to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that happens.”Adam Silver, USA TODAY
The Commissioner can’t make an owner sell their team. He can only suggest it to the Board of Governors, who have to support it with a 3/4 majority. The Clippers sale happened because Sterling’s wife took over after proving her husband was medically unfit to run the team and found someone to cash out $2 billion. The league didn’t force Sterling to sell the team – no way owners would support such a move. What if they were next?
While you’d have no problem in finding someone to cash out whatever the market price for the Suns would be (Forbes valued the team around $1.6 billion), it’s not likely someone from Sarver’s circle would try and take over control in light of these stories coming out.
The main question now is how will this impact the players and coaching staff. My guess, it won’t be good.