Mat Ishbia attends 1st Suns game as team sale, trade deadline loom

Jan 19, 2023, 7:41 PM | Updated: 11:06 pm

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2015 file photo, former Michigan State players Mateen Cleaves, left, and Ma...

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2015 file photo, former Michigan State players Mateen Cleaves, left, and Mat Ishbia laugh as they are introduced with Michigan State's 2000 national championship team during halftime of the Michigan State-Florida NCAA college basketball game, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Mat Ishbia is attending his first Phoenix Suns game since he agreed to purchase a majority stake in the team from Robert Sarver, a sign his ownership is approaching.

Ishbia made his way to Footprint Center Thursday evening for the Suns’ matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, a TNT nationally-televised game.

ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday that a sale could be finalized as soon as late February, and Ishbia attending a game would be a sign that the deal is getting close.

Ishbia reached an agreement to buy the franchise for $4 billion — the largest purchase in NBA history — on Dec. 20 from Sarver, who was suspended after a league investigation found a toxic work environment under his watch.

The deal is still pending NBA approval.

Ishbia’s attendance in downtown Phoenix comes at a time of turbulence for his future team, as the Suns have lost 11 of 13 games and sit at 21-24. The NBA trade deadline looms on Feb. 9, but the sale will not likely be complete by then.

Phoenix, though, is still looking to be buyers. Acting governor Sam Garvin is leading the day-to-day operations, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Thursday that since the announcement of Ishbia’s agreement, the team has made it clear they are willing to deal picks for win-now players.

The Suns and Nets tip off at 8 p.m. Tune in on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app or 

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