Nash Deal Nice Lesson for Sarver

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital
Paul Coro
The Arizona Republic
July 18, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY - Robert Sarver was about 36 hours removed from leading the closing of a $401 million purchase of the Suns and related entities.

The new majority owner and managing partner was still on the same calendar day of helping make a light-speed $66 million deal with coveted All-Star point guard Steve Nash.

And while you were wondering how Sarver made this all happen, he spent that night wondering whether he would have made the Nash splash happen without Suns Chairman Jerry Colangelo.

"It clarified to me the value of having Jerry involved for the next three years at least," Sarver said before taking in his first Suns summer league game Friday in Las Vegas. "When Jerry spoke, I could see how Steve and his agent paid particular attention. Part of it was the respect Steve had for him. Jerry is also a very skilled negotiator.

"I was the apprentice sitting there watching Jerry. That day (July 1) was a whirlwind."

Sarver, 42, does not lack for business acumen. It has just all come in banking and real estate, where the possibility of a sign-and-trade deal with salary-cap considerations does not arise.

Sarver said Colangelo quickly squashed a sign-and-trade proposal from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. They were in communication during the Suns contingent's six-hour meeting with Nash at a Suns investor's home in Dallas.

Sarver made his pitch, too, before the Suns closed the deal with a toast of Dom Perignon.

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"I tried to impress upon him my commitment to continue the legacy of the Suns," Sarver said. "I tried to impress upon him my desire to be successful in anything I do and that I want to win and am committed to winning."

Helping land the experienced point guard that his favorite boyhood team needed gave Sarver his first win on his first day on the job. He has the empty champagne bottle encased in bubble wrap for a souvenir.

"I think he (Sarver) is going to have a tremendous impact," Nash said. "As a young man coming in to own a basketball team, he's going to have a lot of enthusiasm."

Before the Suns group boarded a private jet to return to the Valley, Sarver had to take care of another star. Already thinking about a celebratory meal after touching down in Phoenix, Sarver changed courses to keep his gate attraction happy.



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