NBA Commissioner David Stern is a bit of a polarizing figure across the globe – maybe even morose in Sacramento, given the up’s and down’s the Kings have experienced under his reign. While many accused him of “questionable” practices during the Kings’ glory years, Stern did extend a hand – a hefty one, in fact, when the NBA assisted the city and Maloof family into agreeing on terms for a new arena, an agreement that was eventually backed out on by the Maloofs.
Still – David Stern, who will soon be settling into retirement has apparently expressed in private a desire not to go out on bad terms, but his last major ruling will be one of extreme importance – give Seattle back a team they never deserved to lose (a relocation in which he kept his hands relatively clean of) or strip Sacramento of the only professional franchise they’ve known.
Not exactly the scenario dreams are made of for Stern.
Recently, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle caught up with Stern, who is in Texas for this weekend’s upcoming NBA All-Star festivities and the NBA’s big boss expressed a reluctance to speak on the situation, though did give some small hope to both Seattle and Sacramento with his comments:
“I’m going to claim executive privilege on that one. The idea of leaving Sacramento is not a good one. The idea of going back to Seattle is a good idea. We’ll have to see how that plays out.”
Feigen also pressed Stern about the idea of expansion, the best of any scenario which would appease both Seattle and Sacramento, but Stern didn’t sound overly excited – at least not publicly:
“I haven’t heard anything about expansion from our owners. They have discussed contraction in conjunction with the last Collective Bargaining Agreement. I don’t think (expansion) is an option. Right now, we have no approved plan for an arena in Seattle. We have a very good potential ownership group and set of plans, but there’s a lot of work to be done. I keep a little green book with a list of all the cities interested in NBA teams and could respond pretty quickly. There’s all kinds of stuff going on in Pittsburgh, Columbus, Louisville, Virginia Beach, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Mexico City, Kansas City.”
Stern, who’s always very careful with his words (and quite crafty, like wearing a purple tie during the NBA meetings in Florida regarding the Kings arena plan months ago) didn’t really seem to offer much to either side outside of his initial comments that both cities are deserving of a team – but Stern, who’s never been one to bite his tongue, didn’t really cast a doubt on either city either which I’m sure both sides will be happy about.