Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 25 No. 175

Franchises

Speculation circulated this week that the Suns could look to move to Seattle or Las Vegas
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The Suns have "vowed to look elsewhere in the Valley for a place to play if the city of Phoenix doesn’t agree to upgrade Talking Stick Resort Arena," according to by Laurie Roberts of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Suns President & CEO Jason Rowley said that the team "would consider moving out of state only as a last resort and hasn’t gone looking elsewhere." Rowley "flatly denied that anyone in the Suns organization has threatened city officials with leaving" if the $230M arena upgrade "isn’t approved." Meanwhile, one Phoenix City Council member "backed away from his earlier comment" that Suns Owner Robert Sarver told him he would "go to Seattle or Las Vegas if the arena deal isn’t approved." Meanwhile, Sarver on Thursday in a Twitter video said, “The Phoenix Suns are not leaving Phoenix. I am 100 percent committed and have been for [the last] four years to find a solution to keep them in downtown Phoenix where they belong.” But Roberts notes the "problem" is the city council is "not even 50 percent committed to the deal" that calls for the public to put in $150M (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/14).

REALLY LOOKING ELSEWHERE? ESPN's Stan Van Gundy said, "The question isn’t are Seattle and Las Vegas realistic options for the Suns, the question is when is Robert Sarver going to bring an NBA team to Phoenix." ESPN's Amin Elhassan said the Suns are the team that "made Phoenix from a dusty outpost in the Old West to a major American city" (“The Jump,” ESPN, 12/13)

ONE COMMON THEME: SI.com's Andrew Sharp wrote there are a "dozen different things to say about the dysfunction that defines" both the Suns and Bulls. Each team is a "testament to the power of terrible ownership." Bad owners "can ruin a team in so many different ways." Bulls Chair Jerry Reinsdorf and his son, President & COO Michael Reinsdorf, "continue to empower" GM Gar Forman and Exec VP/Basketball Operations John Paxson, and it is "almost like the results don't matter." Meanwhile, Sarver's management of the Suns has been "infamous for years, and the results have only gotten worse in recent seasons." The team is on its third coach in three years, fired GM Ryan McDonough in September and there is "no clear path to building any kind of sustainable success" (SI.com, 12/11). SI.com's Michael Rosenberg writes under the header, "The Suns Need a Better Owner -- Not a Better Arena." Phoenix loves the Suns but can’t stand" Sarver. He has "turned the Suns from one of the league’s premier franchises into arguably its worst" (SI.com, 12/14).

In S.F., Ann Killion writes "nobody has it as bad" as Raiders fans, who have been "screwed over by not one, but two generations" of the Davis family. Now, it "looks like Christmas Eve will be the final home game" in Oakland. Killion: "You can blame the city of Oakland for filing the lawsuit against the team this week and forcing the Raiders’ hand. Or you can blame [Owner Mark] Davis and his minions for pulling a tentative agreement to play in Oakland in 2019 off the table in the wake of the lawsuit. Or you can blame the NFL, which has been using Oakland as a pawn for years" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/14).

LAST CALL? In Tampa, Martin Fennelly in the wake of an Ybor City ballpark deal collapsing this week wrote he does not believe MLB "wants a baseball team" in the market and is "not sure" Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg wants one either. Fennelly: "I'm not sure Tampa Bay wants a baseball team in Tampa Bay. ... Jeff Vinik, can you hear me?" Sternberg, who has "done well by this franchise, wouldn't move this team," as he is "too much of a purist." But "he'd sell it to someone who would, or to baseball itself, which would then do the deed" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/13).

PHILLY CONNECTION: PRO SOCCER USA's Joe Tansey noted the Union will have a "unique jersey asset" for the '19 season to help celebrate their 10th MLS campaign. The club "teamed up with local celebrities" to "design a set of emblems that reside on the neck portion" of the white secondary jersey. Every day through Dec. 22, the club will "release a new pack of designs from a different local celebrity, and the neck tag with the most votes each day will be added to the collection" for the '19 season (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 12/12).