9:15pm: The sale of the franchise has been approved, according to a league press release. The transaction is expected to close this week.
9:04pm: Mat Ishbia has been approved by the league’s Board of Governors as the Suns’ governor, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.
The vote was 29-0 with the Cavaliers abstaining. Dan Gilbert, Cleveland’s owner, is also the majority owner of Rocket Mortgage. Ishbia is the chairman and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, which like Rocket Mortgage is based in Michigan.
Mat Ishbia and his brother Justin agreed to pay approximately $4 billion for the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury from Robert Sarver, who was suspended by the league for a year and fined $10MM for behavior that “clearly violated common workplace standards.” Sarver subsequently decided to sell his share in the franchise.
Ishbia reached an agreement with Sarver in December.
Typically, it takes at least a couple months for the NBA to officially approve and complete the sale of a franchise because the process involves extensive criminal, financial, and background checks on prospective buyers, who also have to meet with the NBA’s advisory and finance committees.
Ishbia is reportedly eager for the Suns to seek upgrades prior to Thursday’s deadline and his impact may have already been felt, as Phoenix pursued a trade for Kyrie Irving.
Ishbia’s agreement to buy the Suns will give him control of more than 50% of the franchise, as Ishbia and his group are also buying out some of the minority shareholders.