NBA All-Star Weekend – Recapping David Stern’s Press Conference On Sacramento Kings & Sonics


Feb 14, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; NBA commissioner David Stern speaks at the NBA FIT All Star Youth Celebration at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

On what was David Stern’s last annual All-Star press conference, the NBA Commissioner spent a large majority of his time answering questions about the Sacramento Kings potential sale and relocation and while there was little new news disclosed, some things were given a more clear picture.

Below are some highlights of the press conference:

  • When pressed if the Seattle/Sacramento situation would come down to money, Stern disagreed: “I don’t believe it’s going to come down to economics.”
  • Pressed about the Kings moving to Seattle, Stern says that there is nothing else the city needs to do to improve their chances of gaining the Kings: “Nothing I’m aware of.”
  • Stern praised the Seattle group: “As I’ve said before there is a very strong ownership group (in SEA) that has come together.”
  • As to what he feels will happen between the two cities, Stern says he has no read on what owners will do – saying the NBA owners are waiting to see proposals first.
  • Stern mentioned this was a nice time to be a Commissioner as this process is “strictly about what the owners decide”, though said he’s been known to assist them before and ending it with a laugh.
  • When asked about the issues that created an opening for the Sonics to leave Seattle, Stern threw some negative barbs at the former political scene – was not happy that the city had money for the Seahawks and Mariners, but none for the Sonics stating that they wanted the NBA to pay.
  • Cites ownership having a “very open mind” about keeping Kings in Sacramento.
  • When asked about the chances Sacramento has about if the Kings can remain in Sacramento – “Oh it’s certainly plausible to me, but I don’t have a vote.”
  • Expansion was talked about extensively, but Stern was quick to shoot it down – “I don’t see a scenario where both cities are happy.” Both he and Adam Silver agreed that while it might be an option down the road, right now it doesn’t seem likely.
  • Doesn’t see that the recent negative history with Seattle will have any impact on the current situation.
  • No reason for Seattle to worry that Clay Bennett is Chairman of Relocation Committee.
  • If King minority owners have right of first refusal, believes they’ll exercise it – if they don’t, they wont. Will let courts decide that, but doesn’t see it as a huge issue either way, in terms of messing up a deal in Seattle or Sacramento.

Given Stern’s history as a lawyer, the answers were typically generalized and as always, he chose his words carefully and tactically. There were certainly a few small nuggets that both Sacramento and Seattle fans will take some comfort in (and maybe some both sides will grimace at), but, Stern did his best to wash his hands of the situation, placing it firmly in the laps of the NBA owners – at least right now.

Stern made sure to emphasize the fact that the situation is still playing out and both sides have issues to overcome, issues that the Board of Governors will look at when they see both proposals and will go from there.

Not a ton of new info, again, but, a few interesting tidbits none the less that should have Sacramento and Seattle buzzing.

Also – just a quick side note – wonderful job by both the Sacramento and Seattle media posing some tough questions for Stern, who had to wiggle his way out with a few crafty responses.