Mat Ishbia Introduced as Controlling Interest Owner of Suns & Mercury

It’s a new era for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. On Wednesday, Mat Ishiba was introduced as the new controlling interest owner of both franchises.

The mortgage titan and former Michigan State walk-on gave his first comments on the the state of the franchise, his vision and much, much more.

Here are a few takeaways:

He has clear staples for these organizations

Ishbia made it clear what his vision for the Suns and Mercury are moving forward: culture, dominating the fan experience, community impact and winning at everything they do. He pointed to the people involved as the main driver of United Wholesale Mortgage’s success. It wasn’t a patent or superior technology, but creating an environment to get the correct people to thrive. He wants to replicate that in his new role.

“We want to get the best people to join the Suns and Mercury. We want to train them and coach them to be the best versions of themselves and treat them so well they never want to leave. That’s what we’re going to do here.”

You can’t win without happy people. 

Adding to the current roster

Ishbia was asked about his willingness to add assets on the roster and potentially to go into luxury tax territory in the short and long-term. He looks to strike a balance to add to the short-term without potentially risking long-term success.

“We can compete right now with exactly what we have,” Ishbia said. “That being said, my belief system is how do we focus on winning? How can we improve our chances of winning championship?

“If there is a way to improve ou team, we’re going to look at doing it. But we’re not going to sacrifice long-term for short-term but we are going to try to win every day.” 

Isiah Thomas

On Tuesday, Chris Haynes reported that Ishbia intended to bring on Isiah Thomas in a “prominent role” with the team. The Hall of Fame player had not held a role in a front office since 2008 with the Knicks. 

Additionally, Thomas was sued in 2007 by a female executive for alleged sexual harassment. She also alleged  that she was fired for complaining about these claims. A jury ruled in favor of of her and she was awarded $11.6 million. 

Haynes’ report was refuted by Ishbia’s spokesperson.

Former Suns owner Robert Sarver was suspended for a year because of allegations of racist and misogynistic language in the workplace.

Ishbia was asked about Thomas’ and he shed some light on any staff decisions…at this time.

“Isiah Thomas is a great friend of mine, and I have a lot of great friends,” Ishbia said. “Isiah Thomas is someone who knows basketball inside and out. He’s not someone I have in a role or an established role…There’s no role for Isiah at this time.” 

“I don’t plan on making changes today. I come in listening, learning, humbled. I’m a mortgage guy. I love, love, love basketball. I love business, so I feel like I could be pretty good but the next 60, 90, 120 days is about listening and learning.” 

Ishbia wasn’t looking for any franchise

The new majority owner said time and again how many factors made the Suns & Mercury the franchises he wanted to run. From the location to the history to the potential, Ishbia had his sights set on Phoenix when the potential of an ownership change came about.

“This particular franchise was the target,” Ishbia said. “This was not a, ‘Oh, they’re for sale.’ This was a ‘I can’t believe they’re for sale. I’m so excited about the Mercury and the Suns and how can I be involved?’

This was the dream. The dream city. The dream opportunity. The dream organizations.”