Press Conference 101 with David Stern
In classic Commish fashion, Stern updates CBA talks.
by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
How to Conduct a Press Conference 101 continued at Staples Center this evening courtesy of NBA commissioner David Stern. Prior to the start of NBA All-Star Saturday activities, the commish was available to the media for his annual midterm state of the union. Fresh off yesterday’s bargaining session with the NBA Players Union, Stern expected plenty of CBA-related questions and the media on hand did not disappoint.
The New Orleans Hornets were the first topic of interest: “Are you still confident about the team’s future in New Orleans?” Stern answered yes and when asked if he would like to expand, he said “no,” leading to laughs throughout. One question in and the commish was already rolling and on to the next. The following topic was whether or not the L and the Union agreed to the “numbers” relating to each team’s profit/loss. “I think that there’s no disagreement about the numbers,” Stern explained. “There’s a little intramural disagreement about certain items. We sort of both agreed that the numbers are what they are and it doesn’t pay to argue about them anymore. They are real. There’s disagreement about certain components of the numbers that whether they should be included or not; and the interest and the amortization or something like that.”
Well, that solves that. A question was raised about the League’s top players moving to big markets and that lead to a question about the NBA using a Franchise tag designation that is currently in place in the NFL. “It wouldn’t surprise me if in the course of negotiations, the franchise player designation becomes an item of discussion,” Stern said. “It has not yet been put on the table. But if it isn’t that, there will be something else to discuss.”
Stern went on to expand on his answer, claiming that the social media world will always find things to write, blog and tweet about. “It’s what I call the digital water cooler. That’s what we do; we provide fodder for our fans, the media that follows us, and so that kind of speculation is going to happen whether a player has a tag, doesn’t have a tag, whether he would be tagged, whether he wouldn’t be tagged. We now understand that if social media can change regimes, it can do a lot in our game and it’s fun.”
Gems galore in this presser as you can see. Here were some of the rest:
Contraction: ”I would say it’s not currently on the table. There’s been no proposal about contraction.”
On a new book detailing the Donaghy scandal: “I have not read the book. Although I’m happy with each All Star Weekend or Finals to present an opportunity for a convicted felon to issue yet another tome on his misdeeds.”
Discussions between the Kings and group in Anaheim that owns The Pond: “I am not aware of the current status of any negotiations that the Kings are engaged in; I do know, because I read in the newspapers, that they are supposed to have had discussions with Orange County, and they have.”
On whether or not revenue sharing will be a CBA issue: “We are proceeding as a League issue and we are not—when we get to the final solution of the revenue sharing issue—we are not going to hide it from anybody.”
Status of CBA negotiations: “I think this is probably Billy’s third, and it’s probably my 13th; so we have been there and we have done it. As Peter Holt, the head of the Labor Relations Committee is heard to say, this isn’t his first rodeo, and that’s really true of the owners and the teams, and the union members as well.”
On if a lockout can be avoided: “I would say what gives me hope is the fact that a lockout would have huge negative consequences for everybody. And that’s what gives me the hope and the belief that we are going to knock ourselves out to get it done.”
Difference between New Orleans situation and that of the Seattle Sonics: “The arena was not adequate. And in New Orleans, the arena was recently built and is adequate. And so this was a city—and New Orleans has a special, I’d say place, given the devastation of Katrina and the difficulties there.”