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Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver is telling some city council members he will move the team to Seattle or Las Vegas unless a $230 million upgrade on the team’s arena is approved, according to Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic.
“Any four council members can kill the arena deal and as of Monday, there already are three no votes,” Roberts wrote.
The Phoenix City Council was in line to vote on a proposal in which the city would pay $150 million of a renovation plan for Talking Stick Resort Arena, with the Suns to chip in $80 million. That would’ve ensured the Suns staying in Phoenix for the next 19 years.
But it appears that vote is on hold after a backlash from the community.
The Suns’ current lease runs through 2032, but includes a provision that gives the franchise the chance to opt out in 2022 if the arena is considered “obsolete.” Renovations, if approved, would take place before that, between next year and 2021.
A lot of this seems like mere threats from Sarver to make sure he gets the funding — but if the $150 million isn’t approved, well, anything could be possible.
Meanwhile, the NBA has said recently it has no plans for expansion, but should a team be approved for relocation, Seattle would certainly be at or near the top of the list as potential destinations.
Sarver made his money in banking and real estate. He bought the Suns in 2004 for a then-record $401 million.