David Stern is staying in CEO mode, saying it is “plausible” that the Kings will stay in Sacramento.
“Oh, certainly it’s plausible to me, but I don’t have a vote,” Stern said. “But I expect the owners to have a very open mind on this. And it isn’t plausible yet to talk about it until the predicates have been fulfilled.”
Stern is in lame duck mode as he is set to retire on Feb. 1, 2014, 30 years to the day he was appointed the NBA’s commissioner. Stern is right: He doesn’t have a vote, but he does have 30 years of relationships and clout. Stern’s record as commissioner of the NBA is one of the greatest of any commissioner in any sport. He took the NBA from the third sport in America to the top of the mountain, making it a global game. It is safe to say that front offices will listen to Stern and his view on the Kings’ move.
The owners have their board meeting in April and hope to have a decision made by then. They still plan to hear from Sacramento Mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson. Johnson has been adamant about finding investors to help keep the Kings in Sacramento. He has stated that he would exhaust what resources he could while at the NBA’s All-Star weekend.
Stern was asked if the decision would come down to an arena deal. “This is strictly about what the owners decide. There’s a great and strong application from a terrific city to bring in a third and possibly a fourth team in a brand-new building, well-financed ownership group, without the ability yet to build, because there are several things that have to be overcome. But that’s really good. So if you’re a commissioner, you like that,” was his answer.
David Stern hasn’t been the NBA’s commissioner for 30 years by mistake. He carefully chooses his words and what information he shares. In his last year on the job, he isn’t going to change his modus operandi.
Stern let the SuperSonics move from Seattle to Oklahoma City for the same reasons he will let the Kings leave Sacramento: ownership. Both owners let their arenas fall well below NBA standards. The arenas in Semi-Pro were better than Key Arena and Sleep Train Arena. Really! “Sleep Train Arena?” Thanks, Maloofs, for that horrible name!
Stern left media with one last great Sternism: “This is a good time to be a commissioner and not an owner.” By Steve Kish