Adam Silver considered sending the decision on what to do on Robert Sarver's ownership of the Phoenix Suns to the NBA's board of governors. Silver, instead, issued a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine. Silver was concerned about the legal concerns about the statute that outlines the process for owners to expel a fellow owner. 

ESPN writes Silver "believed strongly that there were important differences in Sarver's and Sterling's cases, sources close to the situation said, and that it was his job to arbitrate those differences objectively, even if it was unpopular."

Silver had been speaking directly to Sarver frequently since issuing the yearlong suspension, sources said, encouraging him to act in the best interest of his franchises and remove himself from the equation by selling both teams.

Sarver had not taken the punishment well and wanted to know why it was more severe than the one issued to Mark Cuban in 2018. Silver explained that Cuban was responsible for a poor organizational culture, but he had not been accused of misconduct himself.