The 2013 NBA postseason will be David Stern's last as commissioner, but when he appeared on ESPN Radio in New York this week, Stern said that fact hasn't really hit him yet. As Stern pointed out, he'll still be attending NBA playoff games beyond this year, as a fan rather than as a commissioner, giving him an opportunity to "experience the game in a different way." The longtime NBA commissioner also addressed a number of other notable topics during his ESPN Radio appearance, so let's check out a few of his comments, courtesy of Eric Schmoldt of Sports Radio Interviews....
On Michael Jordan's struggles as owner of the Bobcats:
"I have no doubt that Michael, who is a smart businessman and good manager and, I think, a good judge of talent, he’ll do fine. It’s just not as easy as people think it is to get going in this league if you inherit a bad situation."
On the latest in the Kings saga:
"I think we’ll likely have a meeting of the relocation committee later this week, which will then issue a report early next week. And then seven days after that report is issued, there’ll be a Board of Governors meeting to vote on it. I don’t want to project anything because it’s for the owners and the committees to make the announcement."
On whether he'd like to see Phil Jackson back in the NBA:
"Oh, I would. I think it’s great. I love the variety that our sport has. Sometimes Phil has a way of saying things that are directed to zing the league office, but that’s fine. We’re sort of one big family, and I think that somebody who has as many rings as Phil does, who brings so much sort of interesting thought to our game, would be a great addition, or re-addition, to our sport."
On preparing Adam Silver to take over as commissioner next February:
"Adam and I, by the time I step down on February 1st, we will have worked together in the NBA for 22 years. Okay? So, if he’s not prepared now, he will never be prepared. He knows what I do that he would like to do, and he knows what I do that he would not like to do. And everyone has their own approach to it. There’s nobody that is better prepared in dealing with media, fans, the game, owners, television, international. I’m very happy, and proud, that I have recommended to the owners — and they have accepted — a successor who is totally steeped in our game and our business."
NBA Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the media in a press conference prior to the start of Saturday night's All-Star Weekend events. He discussed a wide range of topics relating to the present and future state of the NBA (transcript courtest of NBA.com Media Central).
Stern on the Kings' future and possible move to Seattle:
I think it's fair to say that we have an application in house, as you know, from Seattle to both transfer ownership to the Hansen‑Ballmer group and an application to move the team to Seattle to play in Key Arena while the process goes on to get permission to build a new building in Seattle, and the various lawsuits and environmental impact and other things are dealt with.
And that's moving along. I met with Mayor McGinn of Seattle, we have two committees focusing on it, the Relocation Committee and Advisory Finance Committee, and we fully expect to have that process completed for report to the Board of Governors at its April 18th meeting.
We have been advised by Mayor Johnson of Sacramento, parenthetically, who we have not met with and who we have no plans to meet with here, closed parens, that Sacramento will be delivering to us a competitive bid to the one that we have received from Seattle. That will include the construction of a new building with a significant subsidy from the City of Sacramento, and other things that would bring the region together to support the team.
That's all we have. The mayor has said that we'll have that likely well before March 1, which appears in our constitution for when we must receive applications to move. It's sort of irrelevant exactly, but that was a good enough date, so we selected that.
Stern on the progress of HGH and other drug testing in the NBA:
I would say that we have a comprehensive drug testing program that has a long list, probably a hundred or so, I'm not even sure the number, of drugs that are prohibited, including HGH, subject to an agreement of the validity of an appropriate testing protocol. And we expect that to happen, we really do, before the start of next season.
With respect to the biological passport, I think the blood test is the precursor to the biological passport. And that's a subject for discussion with the Players' Association.
And let me say, our players have been front and center with us on this one. They want to be and be perceived as playing in a drug‑free sport. We have six unannounced tests a year. Two of those are authorized out of season. And we have an independent group of experts that adds drugs to the list of prescribed drugs. And we test in a way that the samples get sent to an approved lab and we're there.
There will always be some kind of leap‑frogging there, as there was in 1983 which we were the first league to have an anti‑‑drug program and dealt with a variety of things. So it's always subject to be improved. But together with our Players' Association, which I think has taken a leadership role here, I'm sure will continue to improve it.
Stern on the possibility of expansion:
[T]here's a large group of owners who believe that expansion is an economic matter, is a neutral thing. At least the way we've done it to date, you get a lot of money in and in return for that you cut the new team in for a large and growing source of revenue from national TV, national licensing, and all things international and digital. And then it doesn't really seem to make that much additional sense as the increased revenue that demands to the gross PRI and increased each player costs and the like.
So it has to be parsed and analyzed but right now given that we've just come through an intriguing collective bargaining negotiation and coupled it with specific revenue sharing, over $200 million, I think the sentiment is to let it all settle and assess how we are doing and what the projections are for how we'll do.
Stern on the NBPA's leadership controversey:
I don't have any comment on the Players' Association situation other than we know as much as you do and nothing more. We've seen Derrick Fisher's statements, and we await notification from the union as to who we should be dealing with, because it has been a principle of faith for us that we will deal with whomever the union tells us to deal with. That's what we do, and it remains the same.
Stern on the progress of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement:
We think that the Collective Bargaining Agreement is working. We think that it's yet to click in its fullness, which will happen next year. We believe the revenue‑sharing projects together with the Collective Bargaining Agreement that our teams will have the opportunity to both compete and to be profitable.
Stern on the NBA's increasing international profile:
[O]ur international prospects remain as strong as ever. We don't have anything to announce, but we're going to be doing lots of exhibition traveling, I have no doubt, this coming preseason. Our digital footprint will become larger country by country, with respect to the websites that are going to be entering into partnerships and the like. Adam is heading off to China next month. Heidi Ueberroth has me going to India in April. And the march continues as our game continues to prosper and thrive.
Silver on the future of the NBA D-League:
I attended the D‑League Showcase this afternoon. We think it's a wonderful event and I met with the D‑League owners yesterday, as well. I think ultimately we'd like to have a 30‑team league, and we do envision a one‑to‑one relationship between every NBA team and a single D‑League affiliate. We think it's the second best basketball in the world after the NBA.