HOUSTON - NBA Commissioner David Stern continues to downplay the possibility of adding an expansion franchise to mollify parties in this Sacramento-Seattle duel. Earlier in the week, Stern told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that "I am 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."
When Feigen asked about expansion, Stern replied, consistent with his comments of late, "I don't think (expansion) is an option. Right now we have no approved plan for an arena in Seattle."
Keep in mind, Stern is an attorney, and a master at parsing his words. And this is the NBA. If Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson comes up with a viable ownership/arena plan ... nothing is off the table. We will continue to hear more about the topic of Kings/Seattle/relocation throughout the weekend. KJ arrives Friday, hours ahead of Stern's annual (and final) All-Star Weekend press conference on Saturday. This one figures to be a beauty.