Potshots by David Stern and will it get better with Adam Silver?

Patrick McDermott

SI.com has some coverage of what went down in Dallas and just how frustrating some of what David Stern said was for fans from Seattle.

On the heels of the NBA Board of Governors rejection of the Maloofs' proposal to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle David Stern couldn't pass up the opportunity to add insult to injury for Seattle fans at the post meeting press conference.

Stern's opening statement was a potshot in its purest form:

MODERATOR: We'll start off with an opening statement from the Commissioner and then take your questions.
COMMISSIONER STERN: This is going to be short for me. I have a game to get to in Oklahoma City.

A plane to catch. A place to go. Another place I need to be. Other business to take care of. My next obligation. But no, Oklahoma City.

David Stern doesn't say things by accident. He's been in this game for far too long.

From the SI.com article:

For Seattle folks, the reference to Oklahoma City was a mountain of the purest salt injected straight into the deepest wound. What's the only thing worse than getting one's hopes for the Kings dashed? Being reminded that the original SuperSonics were now doing business as the Thunder in Oklahoma City, where they were in the midst of their fourth straight postseason run since a controversial exit from the Pacific Northwest in 2008.

Few people can match Stern's public speaking experience, and he's as articulate, careful and witty as they come. But he's also a lawyer who keeps score and rarely admits the error of his ways. Was this an out-of-character slip of the mind and tongue after another long day in the series of long days needed to determine the fate of the Kings? Or, was this something worse, one last, cutting shot to a fan base and city that was being left empty-handed again?

Jerry Brewer's response.

Dave Boling's response.

Josh Kern's response.

Thankfully, Chris Hansen has remained classy throughout this process, even in the face of some pretty frustrating events.

While we are obviously extremely disappointed with today's relocation vote and truly believe we put forth both a significantly better offer and Arena plan, we do thank the league and the owners for their time and consideration and look forward to hearing back on our agreement to join the Maloofs as Limited Partners in the Kings.

With David Stern in his last months as commissioner (he's out in February 2014) the real wild card in all of this is the commissioner in waiting - Adam Silver. At the post meeting presser, Silver started off in the background letting Stern lead the way initially. Thankfully he didn't remain quiet and added some good insight into how he might be different than David Stern when he takes the helm of the NBA.

When asked what Seattle has to do now to attract an NBA team, Silver added to Stern's response the following:

ADAM SILVER: The only thing I'd add is we've never wavered in our desire to return to the Seattle market at some point, as Chris Hansen made clear in his presentation to the Board of Governors today. The league continues to enjoy strong support in the Seattle market. We have strong support for our telecast, our national telecast in Seattle, and expansion was discussed at least as a possibility down the road. We want to wait and see what happens in our next national television negotiation, but we're very appreciative of the fans in Seattle, and we've regretted having to leave the market the last time and we fully expect we'll return there one day.

Well spoken and appreciation for Seattle expressed. Even expresses regret for 2008. Interesting.

The next time he spoke was also vastly different than I'd expect and as we've experienced from David Stern:

Question: Could you just talk about the mood in the room? Was it tense, was it easy going? How hard of a decision was it for the owners in the room and what kind of agreement or disagreement was there?

ADAM SILVER: It was very businesslike. I'd just like to say in response to the prior question, it was a wrenching decision for several of the owners. I don't necessarily think 22‑8 reflects the view of the league or those owners towards Seattle. I think ultimately the discussion was it was not about a contest between two cities. It was about whether or not Sacramento could continue to support an NBA franchise and there were several expressions of support for Seattle, for the potential of returning to Seattle.

I think, though, that it was a weighty decision for the owners in that room, and the mood was one of seriousness.

A wrenching decision for some. Vote doesn't reflect the overall view toward Seattle. Weighty decision and the mood was serious.


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