- Host of The Woj Pod
- Joined ESPN in 2017
The Phoenix Suns are hiring Detroit Pistons executive Josh Bartelstein as the team’s new CEO, sources told ESPN on Saturday.
New owner Mat Ishbia targeted Bartelstein as CEO to help him overhaul a troubled post-Robert Sarver organizational culture and now they’ll work together to oversee the franchise’s business and basketball divisions, sources said.
Suns president of basketball operations and general manager James Jones will continue to lead basketball operations and report directly to Ishbia, sources said.
Bartelstein, 33, has ascended quickly in his executive career, spending seven years working his way to executive VP of business and basketball operations under Palace Sports and Entertainment vice chairman Arn Tellem. Bartelstein worked on number of major projects, including the franchise’s relocation to a new downtown arena. He moved over to basketball operations as an assistant general manager in 2022, working with GM Troy Weaver. That transition gave Bartelstein a fuller résumé to move into a CEO role.
After buying a majority share of the Suns at a $4 billion valuation earlier this year, Ishbia brings on Bartelstein to replace former Suns CEO Jason Rowley, whom some employees placed at the center of allegations of verbal abuse, retaliation and intimidation in the workplace under Sarver.
Ishbia, the billionaire CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage in Michigan, has vowed to transform the Suns’ troubled workplace culture under Sarver and Rowley.
Bartelstein’s playing background mirrors that of Ishbia, who was a walk-on at Michigan State. Bartelstein spent four seasons as a walk-on for the University of Michigan, including the 2012-2013 season as one of the team’s captains.
He is also the son of Mark Bartelstein, one of the league’s most prominent player representatives and the CEO of Priority Sports and Entertainment based in Chicago.
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