The Phoenix Suns have been in the spotlight from the moment Kevin Durant had them as his preferred destination. Then the DeAndre Ayton saga developed, and we were again talking about the Suns. Whatever you read or heard about both situations, I'm sure one sentence was stress. ”Yeah, but this is Robert Sarver's team.”
Goran Dragic's experience
Before Luka Doncic, Goran Dragic was Slovenia's most famous basketball player. The Dragon started his NBA journey in Phoenix and was a part of a tea that caught everyone by surprise. They were supposed to lose and tank their way to a top draft pick, but Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Gerald Green, PJ Tucker, Channing Frye, and Marcus Morris had other plans.
They finished 9th in the West with 48 wins, primarily behind Dragic's monster season. The Slovenian point guard finished the season averaging 20.3 points and 5.9 assists per game on 50.5% FG% and 40.8% 3P%.
To no one's surprise, Dragic was hoping to make it into the All-Star game that season, having the best season in his career at that time. His primary motive was to get that final seal of approval that he belongs, but the $1 million bonus wouldn't hurt either. This was when Dragic understood why Phoenix has trouble attracting free agents.
Goran was in the training facility when he found out he didn't make the All-Star game. As it so happened, Robert Sarver was also there. This was his way of consoling an up-and-coming star.
"He came to the gym and said that he is happy.... Actually happy. So I asked him why are you so happy? He told me that it's because he doesn't have to pay me the $1 million bonus. What kind of owner doesn't want his own player to not make the All-Star team?” Goran shared on the Dvokorak podcast.
That's when Dragic had a reaction so many of the Suns employees seem to share after interacting with Robert Sarver. “After that I said to myself I really don't see myself being in this place any longer.”
The trouble in Phoenix
Years later stories of Sarver's weird behavior started to surface. They culminated in an investigation after ESPN reported of racism and misogyny in Phoenix. After the Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas, commissioner Adam Silver said the investigation into Sarver is in ”sort of last stage,” whatever that means.
In the end, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Ayton might not be the biggest Suns news this season. But even if Sarver is somehow cleared of all accusations, one fact still remains.