The annual All-Star press conference for NBA commissioner David Stern is still about two hours away. And he is apparently saving all his comments today for that session, which will last roughly an hour.
A throng of Seattle and Sacramento media staked out the hotel in Houston where Stern and many NBA owners are staying — enough so that the media was eventually told to leave the lobby and do its work from outside.
But there was little work to be done. While we saw Stern twice, he did not stop to chat other than saying he had nothing new to report.
Another owner spotted was Clay Bennett, who while public enemy No. 1 in Seattle is in the unique position now of being the head of the NBA relocation. Bennett, though, also did not stop to speak to reporters. Nor did a few other owners.
All are apparently under a gag order to not talk about the situation in either Seattle or Sacramento until the Board of Governors votes in mid-April — violations are apparently punishable by a fine.
Bennett’s involvement obviously sets off alarms among Seattle fans. But the general feeling is that his history with the Sonics is not really relevant here. He’ll take the lead from the combined relocation/finance committee, as well as Stern, on this one. (And by the way, he does not any longer stand to gain financially if Seattle gets another team as that was contingent on the Legislature passing funding for KeyArena — those details are here.)
As for Stern’s press conference today (which can be seen live on NBA-TV) I wouldn’t expect to hear any earthshattering news. But Stern is obligated to talk for an hour or so, and as such may go more in-depth on some topics than he has in some of his other, briefer, media sessions of late.
One thing to note, though, is that there are a lot of media here from other places — including a lot of International media who view this as their once chance to really get a lot of exposure to the NBA — so there will be a lot of other topics on the table. Also, the press conference tends to be heavily moderated and the NBA is likely to make sure it isn’t completely dominated by Seattle-Sacramento questions.
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson is expected to meet the media after Stern does, to provide an update on his efforts here.