When Mat Ishbia was confirmed as the Phoenix Suns' new owner earlier this year, it was by a vote of 29-0, with one abstention. The person who chose not to vote was Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who has been involved in a long-running feud with Ishbia over their business interests in the mortgage industry.
In an appearance on "The Bill Simmons Podcast" on Wednesday, Ishbia reiterated the mutual dislike between him and Gilbert and revealed they have not shaken hands.
"So listen. I can talk for hours on it and I can talk for a minute; the minute's probably easier. He doesn't like me and I don't like him, that's how it is. Business -- his company used to be number one in mortgage, UWM, my business, is number one in mortgage. I don't like the way they do business in a lot of things, he probably doesn't like the way we do things. We're in the same town, we compete, we're winning. That's what it is right now.
"The reality is, if you asked me what I thought about that. I knew, without a question, that would probably be how he handled it. The best part is, now you get to see who I see. Very simple. You see who I see and what I know about that man."
Ishbia was then asked if the poor relationship would affect any potential trades between the Suns and Cavaliers while he and Gilbert are in charge.
"I won't be on the trades, but I wish him nothing but the best. I have no animosity, but the reality is, don't think we're not competing. Health-wise, I wish him nothing but the best. The reality is, in the mortgage business and now on the basketball floor, whatever it is. I'm trying to win at anything I do. If someone does things the wrong way, which he's done, I'm gonna call them out on it. That's what I've done"
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Ishbia, a former walk-on at Michigan State, purchased the Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury from Robert Sarver for a record price of $4 billion. Sarver, who owned the Suns since 2004, decided to sell after a league investigation corroborated allegations of racism, misogyny and a toxic workplace culture, and he was fined $10 million and suspended for a year.
Shortly after being confirmed as the Suns' new owner in early February, Ishbia pushed the front office to complete the blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant. The Suns gave up Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and four unprotected first-round picks.
That all-in deal made the Suns one of the title favorites this season, but their hopes are hanging by a thread now that they're down 2-0 in the second round to the Denver Nuggets and Chris Paul is injured.