Ash Wainwright hopes Matt Ichpeia enjoyed the Suns game on Thursday and didn’t need medical attention afterwards.
“I hope he didn’t have a heart attack or anything like that,” the Suns’ two-way quarterback joked after Friday’s practice. “It was great to have him there.”
Sitting on court, Ichpea watched the Sun take a 24-point lead against Brooklyn and fight a furious comeback to win 117-112 Thursday at the Footprint Center.
“I think it’s great for the team, the organization and the community to have someone like Matt,” said Suns coach Monty Williams. “Having him in the stadiums maybe allows everyone to finally put face to everything that’s been talked about and hasn’t officially happened, but it kind of lets everyone know that this is our guy.”
A billionaire mortgage lender is waiting for NBA approval to officially become the team’s new owner.
“He’s young,” Wainwright said when asked about his first impression of Ishpea, who turned 43 on Jan. 6. “We haven’t really had a chance to speak to him that way, but he’s young. He looks like my age.”
Wainwright is 28 years old.
“He’s an amazing guy,” Wainwright added. “I look forward to meeting him, and picking his brains not just about basketball, but about business. I want to get to know him.”
Ishbia and Robert Sarver agreed in principle on December 20 to terms for Ishbia’s purchase of the Suns and Phoenix Mercury from the WNBA for a record $4 billion. It usually takes two months for the NBA to approve a new team owner as the NBA does a thorough background check and financial check.
“I had the chance to meet him for the first time, for a little bit,” Williams said of Ishpia. It was short, but all I heard about Matt and his family and the way he runs his business was great to hear it all. Getting a chance to speak with him (Friday) was something I was looking forward to, but I’m sure our fans can finally say, this is our guy and move on. forward.”
Williams noted that he has had five team owners in his two NBA coaching stints.
“I know I have to keep doing my job,” Williams said, “but I also have to understand what he wants me to do.” “It’s not about giving me a list of demands. I want to hear his vision and I heard a few of them (Friday) morning, but in detail I just want to sit and listen and hear his value system and hear the way he wants to run the team and what he wants me to do in the community and I have to implement that vision” .
Friday’s practice was attended by General Manager and President of Basketball Operations James Jones, Assistant General Manager Morgan Cato and Vice President Ryan Risch.
Williams acknowledged Ishpia’s presence in the game indicated a visual change of ownership that came from Sarver receiving a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine for “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies” that were found during a 10-month NBA investigation.
“You can say that without bashing Robert in any way,” said Williams, who was hired by Sarver in May 2019. “Robert has done so much for this team, he’s done so much for this city, he’s done so much behind the scenes that people would not know about him.” Never. It was an unfortunate end. Personally, I still think of his children. I wish them well. (Sarver’s wife) Penny was a nice lady, but now as we turn the page, you start to look forward to what might be with the team with new ownership.”
The NBA launched its investigation in November 2021 in response to an ESPN report regarding allegations of racism and misogyny against Sarver, alleging that he created a “toxic” work environment within the organization during his career as owner, which began when he bought the franchise in 2004.
Team vice president Sam Garvin became the team’s interim umpire. A week after the NBA disclosed the investigations on Sept. 13, Sarver announced that it was “looking for buyers” for the Suns and Mercury amid backlash from people upset with his punishment.
“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” Sarver said in a statement on September 21, 2022. And I expected the commissioner’s one year suspension to give me time to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the bands I love and many fans.
“But in our present unforgiving climate it has become painfully evident that this is no longer possible – anything good I have done, or can still do, is outweighed by the things I have said in the past. For these reasons, I am beginning the process of looking for buyers for Suns and Mercury”.
The results of the investigation showed that Sarver, 61, used the N-word several times and made inappropriate comments towards women.
“The words I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that have brought people together—and strengthened the Phoenix area—through the unifying power of men’s and women’s professional basketball,” Sarver said in the statement.
Ishpea came off a long list of potential owners to buy the Suns and Mercury.
On Thursday, he watched the future NBA team in person as it awaits the league’s approval to officially become the Suns’ new governor.
“I think it’s great for the community, as I said, to finally be able to say, this is our guy, this is who we’re moving forward with without being disrespectful or piling on what has already been talked about so much,” Williams continued. “I think you can balance those things and I think you can do it in a way that is disrespectful to the people who were hurt in this situation. I am grateful that we turned the page and were able to move forward and I hope we do in a way that is respectful and handled with a lot of integrity.”
Do you have an opinion about the current position of the sun? Contact Suns Insider Duane Rankin at email@example.com or call him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @tweet.
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