LAS VEGAS - NBA commissioner David Stern and his successor, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, addressed the media following today's NBA Board of Governors meetings.
Without the Seattle-Sacramento situation, the group of reporters was considerably smaller than recent BOG gatherings.
Stern and Silver touched on a variety of topics, including the Charlotte Bobcats receiving approval to become the Hornets again, the new collective bargaining agreement's impact on big-market teams, HGH testing and the possibility of expansion. Below is a transcript from some of the Q&A session.
Q. There's been some criticism of how long the replay review process lasts. I'm wondering what, if anything, will be done to speed up that process?
COMMISSIONER STERN: We'll be working hard during the summer to answer that question with specific ideas. We have some notionality that I had mentioned earlier about possibly having some central review that helps them. And certainly the notion of perhaps having starting with next year's playoffs, having a fourth official at the scorer's table to help facilitate it. There is always something that is a tradeoff. But the fact is we really want to get it right, and it seems that baseball is going to jump in on this subject. The NFL is very much into it. So we're pushing out our referees in two different ways. Get it fast but get it right, and those aren't necessarily so easy to accommodate. But we're always watching to shorten the review period.
Q. David, regarding the CBA and the mechanisms in there that seem to be facilitating player movement, competitive balance and whatever else might be part of that, how much value is that directed towards the season? And how much value do you think they'll derive from a Hot Stove League in July? There is a great amount of interest right
COMMISSIONER STERN: To me, the Hot Stove League, you know, I grew up in that. Baseball was one of my sports and a great fan of. I just remember it always and still carries through to this day, it's a gathering. And that's a huge, huge builder of awareness and gets fans excited, teams excited, and I think players excited about what their team reconfiguration is, so that's all With respect to the coming season, I can't project specifically, but it seems like the movement of players under the collective bargaining agreement has added to the cities that were down a sense that they're very much on the march. It doesn't mean that, let's say, I can confidently predict that a team with a terrible record is going to be so much, so much better. But improved? No question about it. Our players and their fans really and our owners really are beginning to believe that.
Q. Just to revisit the Hornets nickname situation. Somebody wrote what's in a name? I'm wondering from your point of view in returning to a nickname, what really is the significance of that particularly for that market?
COMMISSIONER STERN: It is so true that it was the subject of conversation for the last couple of years since the transfer of ownership from the group led by Michael Jordan, that true blue fans of the old Hornets in Charlotte would say, please, give us back our Hornets name. And I sort of laughed at it initially. You know, it is what it is, get over it. But, no. It stayed there, bubbling below the surface, and there is something to it. I think that the team is going to receive support from fans who think that this is a step in the direction that the fans have been asking for, and this is an attempt to both satisfy the fans and its accompanied by a kind of very specific market research that allows the Hornets to say, yes, this is what the market is asking for and they're very much serving their market by making this change.
Q. Couple of Lakers questions. They obviously didn't have the kind of season they're used to. Next year it looks like it could be another down year for them. Is it better from the league's perspective when the Lakers are good, given they're in such a big market and there is so much interest in them? And considering that Metta World Peace and Mike Miller were amnestied, do you feel the luxury tax rate increase is doing its job as they're
spending for big market teams like L.A. or Miami?
COMMISSIONER STERN: The last part, yes. I think amnesty is reflective in the fact that teams are not only eliminating the tax payment due with particular contracts, but they're also keeping from going into even a higher bracket by those contracts being in place to get with other contract that's they might sign.
You know, with respect to the L.A. market, whenever somebody wins, somebody loses. It's a fact here. We've had the Knicks down for a while, the Bulls down for a while, the Lakers were down this past year. But that is the beauty of what we do. Everyone's going to all of our teams today are undefeated, and they're all plotting to improve their lot. Thinking they're getting a lot better. I expect that the Lakers aren't thinking about the premise of your question, which implies on that they're not going to do better next year than they did the last year. I don't want to speculate beyond that, but I can tell you that's not the basis upon which the Lakers are functioning. They expect to have a much better year.
Q. I just wanted to ask also about HGH testing. Where things stand and do you think
the absence of that testing up until now has been a major gap in the NBA's testing?
COMMISSIONER STERN: You know, my expectation there are two things. There is the biological passport and there is HGH testing. Let me just say that our Players Association has been very good in their work with us on all of these things. Right now, they're a little bit ham strung because they're searching for an executive director. It's more difficult to make decisions. But we're optimistic that whatever we have a great program. Don't get me wrong. We have six tests a year, all random two are out of season and four in season are authorized. We have a long list of banned substances, and we expect to have agreement on HGH whenever the union gathers because we're in this together. The union has always been very forward thinking in this.
The gentleman without a mic asked if it would be ready for next season, and we hope so. It's on a long list of items that we're hoping to discuss with the Players Association between now and the kickoff of the next season.
Q. If the MGM does indeed come through with its proposed arena plan, could you foresee your crystal ball down the road with the NBA landing a franchise here in Las
COMMISSIONER STERN: I'm retiring my crystal ball. Adam?
ADAM SILVER: We're not focused on expansion at the moment.
Q. I know you're not. I'm talking about down the road. It's a discussion for another day, I know?
ADAM SILVER: No predictions in Las Vegas today from me.
Q. Adam, given the time and resources devoted by both sides and the effort put forth
by Seattle, is there any sort of ongoing dialogue with people from that market? Where do things stand with Seattle?
ADAM SILVER: There is no ongoing dialogue at the moment. We're very focused on
building and rebuilding the franchise in Sacramento. Building a new arena there. I have no doubt that down the road we'll return to those discussions in Sacramento and Las Vegas, and who knows, other markets potentially as well. But right now we're very focused on the health of the 30 franchises in the cities they're located in.
COMMISSIONER STERN: Adam said Sacramento, but he meant Seattle in terms of potential ongoing discussions. And keeping abreast of the situation because we told the board that based upon reports, the siting of and construction details in Seattle are still going forward. It wouldn't surprise me if Commissioner Silver was looking at strong applications from Las Vegas and Seattle in the coming years, and I'm going to enjoy watching it. Thank you very much.