David Stern Addresses Media

NBA Commissioner David Stern addressed members of the media while attending the Hornets' game against the Lakers in New Orleans on Wednesday night. Stern, who had previously announced that he is stepping down as Commissioner on February 1, 2014, spoke on several topics. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com has a transcription, and the highlights are reprinted below.

On the Hornets' announcement that they plan to change their name to the Pelicans:

“If it works for them, it works for me,” Stern said. “I don’t have any objections to anything that the Hornets want to do name-wise because I’m sure it’ll be sensible. … I’m sure whatever it is, it’ll be good. If [Pelicans] is what it is, that’s fine. … I think everything sounds good. I think Lakers, have you seen any lakes in Los Angeles? There’s the same amount of lakes in L.A. as there is jazz in Utah, or grizzlies in Memphis. I’m out of that business. Whatever works for a team works for me.”

On the Lakers' new TV deal:

“It’s one component of the Lakers’ income that gets accounted for when they make a payment into the revenue sharing pool, so there’s more money to be shared,” Stern said. “The combination of that and the tax tend to act as something of a brake on team spending.”

On Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's controversial decision to rest four players against the Heat on Thursday:

“In the case of San Antonio, they didn’t just come to town and rest healthy players, they sent a 26-year-old and 30-year-old plus Manu and Timmy home virtually under the cover of darkness or light of day, however you do it, without notifying as our rules require for injury and illness. Maybe it’s my mistake not to think injury and illness when you’re secreting someone away should also include deciding to move them out. So in all other circumstances, I thought if we didn’t do something this time there would never be a reason to do it. Only visit to Miami, practically the first month of the season, notifying nobody and sending home young and healthy players, it merited rebut and I did it. And this was a team decision. This is not me and Pop. Pop is a great coach, Hall of Fame coach. This decision was made by the entire senior management and ownership of the San Antonio Spurs and I felt that they were doing what they perceived was their job and I was doing what I perceived as my job and that’s what happens.”

On the ability of small-market teams to compete under the new CBA:

“I don’t have any concerns about small markets under the new CBA,” Stern said. “I think when the tax penalties come in next year, where teams that pay an extra $30 million, for example, might have to pay another $84 million in taxes, lose their right to the mid-level exception, lose their right to sign-and-trade, you will see a substantially modified behavior. Actually, we began to see it this year when Chicago, a ‘large market,’ passed on matching Omer Asik because they don’t want to deal with the $45-million-dollar impact in taxes in the third year. Then New York declined to match Houston’s offer to Jeremy Lin, and Oklahoma City decided to trade James Harden rather than deal with the tax consequences of a max contract, so we’re seeing early green shoots and it’s going to get more profound. I think, together with revenue sharing, it’s going to allow low-grossing teams to compete with high-grossing teams. New Orleans is going to be a profitable team, and the ultimate irony is that you would call it a small market because it’s one of our smallest markets, but they’re going to contribute to revenue sharing.”

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