Suns CEO Jason Rowley said the plan is to look for another place within Phoenix if the city doesn’t agree to upgrade their current arena.
The Suns aren’t planning to move to Seattle just yet.
Phoenix CEO and president Jason Rowley told the Arizona Republic the plan is to look for another arena within the Valley if the city of Phoenix doesn’t agree to upgrade Talking Stick Resort Arena. He added moving out of state would be a last-resort option.
“We would look for another home here in the Valley but if that didn’t happen, if there wasn’t any option here in the Valley, what’s the other option after that?” he said.
Additionally, Rowley denied someone in the Suns organization threatened to leave if the $230 million arena upgrade isn’t approved. Previous reports indicated team owner Robert Sarver threatened Phoenix city officials with a move to Seattle or Las Vegas if Talking Stick Resort Arena is not renovated, the Republic reported Wednesday.
“What he (Sarver) would say,” Rowley explained, “is ‘Let me out of it (the contract) so I can find another place here in the Valley.’ He’s an Arizona guy. He doesn’t want to move the team.”
One Phoenix City Council member, who asked to remain anonymous, backtracked his previous comments indicating Sarver told him he would go to Seattle or Las Vegas if the arena deal isn’t approved. The Republic noted Thursday that Sarver didn’t name the two cities that had been suggested and instead he just assumed it would be Seattle or Las Vegas.
“He said, ‘If you guys are not going to vote for this, let me go, just let me go somewhere else,” the council member told the Republic. “He said, ‘I want out. If you’re not going to build my stadium then I want out.’ He did not specifically say Seattle or Las Vegas but that was my understanding.”
The Suns released a message to fans Thursday of Sarver saying the Suns are not leaving Phoenix and he is 100 percent committed to keep the team in the downtown area.
A message from Managing Partner, Robert Sarver: pic.twitter.com/f2YLC0woYG
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 13, 2018
“I’m a strong proponent, as evidenced by the term sheet I signed last week, that we should renovate the Talking Stick Resort Arena and once again restore it to a world-class facility,” Sarver said.
The Suns have already pledged $80 million to the renovation should it garner enough votes.
According to the Republic, it takes four votes to stop the deal and already three council members are firmly “no’s.” Two councilmen still need to vote, but a “no” from either of them would stop the renovation.