Stern could decide Kings’ future
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
When David Stern announced he would retire next February, his 30th anniversary as NBA commissioner, he likely thought he had seen it all.
But here he is, in the 11th hour of a tenure that has been historic and memorable in so many ways, directing traffic in an unprecedented affair, this fight for the Kings between Sacramento and Seattle, that will leave a lasting note on his legacy. And with a week left before the Board of Governors meetings in New York, when a vote on the matter will likely take place, this much has become abundantly clear: Stern still wields considerable influence, and strong signs continue that he’s doing all he can to keep the team in Sacramento.
For all Stern’s talk of playing a merely advisory role, the growing sentiment from all sides is the commissioner, who has always been clear about his distaste for relocation, is determined to avoid having a sixth team change cities on his watch. And he remains powerful enough to pull it off. The story line is sticky, of course, because of the way the league moved the Seattle SuperSonics to the Oklahoma City in 2008 and the widely held assumption that Stern was hell-bent on returning the NBA to Seattle before he retired.
This is a good problem to have for Stern and his successor, deputy commissioner Adam Silver. They clearly are smitten with the potential global impact that could come with Sacramento’s lead investor, Indian software tycoon Vivek Ranadive, but may have a hard time denying Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his deep pockets. Rumors of expansion as the potential solution to satisfy both sides persist, but Stern has said consistently it is not an option at the moment. The reality remains that one city will go home unhappy. The Sacramento group needs eight votes to block the agreed-upon deal that is already in place with the Seattle investment group and the Maloof family that owns the team. The Sacramento group, headed by former NBA point guard and Mayor Kevin Johnson, hopes the board will accept its deal that is expected to match the … [For more on David Stern could decide Sacramento Kings' future, click here.]