And here is the transcript of the media session today with NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver following today’s meetings:
DAVID STERN: We don’t have a lot to say, but given the size of the group and your patience in being here, we feel that we should say something, so here’s what happened today.
We had committee members of our two committees. Present were Peter Holt (Spurs), chairman of the board (of the Board of Governors); Glen Taylor (Timberwolves), Clay Bennett (Thunder), Jim Dolan (Knicks), Ted Leonsis (Wizards), Larry Tanenbaum (Raptors), Herb Simon (Pacers) and Wyc Grousbeck (Celtics).
We heard a day full of extraordinary presentations of a complex real estate, arena, construction time lines, potential obstacles and team funding in two really great cities.
It was a long day without any breaks, and both sides made in my view very, very strong presentations.
There are questions that the committee has asked us, the staff, to go back and seek details and answers on with respect to exact structure, capital commitments, construction timelines, potential obstacles, given the fact that in either case, we’ll be playing in, shall I say, sub‑optimal arenas for some period of time that it’s difficult to precisely tie it down given the fact that there is no finality to the construction schedules in either city.
And so we have a lot of work that we have to do from a construction timeline, a regulatory timeline, an ownership and capital structure timeline, and all kinds of other things that the committee has asked us to go back with lawyers and just get a lot more data and information. And that’s what we’re going to do.
The committee concluded that this is really quite complex, even though we told them, and even though we’ve been in continual communication with them, we will continue to be in continual communication with the committee. We will have another meeting with the committee prior to the Board of Governors meeting, and it’s not at all clear what our precise timeline is for a final determination here because the most important thing is doing all of the work that has to be done. That’s my report.
Q. How much weight does it hold that there’s already a purchase agreement in place and George Maloof spoke out today in favor of selling to the Hansen group?
DAVID STERN: You know, I’m not going to speak to the committee on that one. They have asked us to go back and get more information with respect to both groups, and that’s all that I know.
Q. Did you get any type of commitment from the Sacramento group that they would, A, put down a $30 million nonrefundable deposit as the Seattle group did, and B, that they would match up to the reported price that the Seattle group has agreed to pay?
ADAM SILVER: Only that we’re not going to speak to the specifics. I’ll tell you, it’s two entirely different situations. Again, when the Seattle group put down the down payment, that was a contingent deal based on of course the ability to purchase and relocate the team. We’re dealing with a different circumstance in terms of potential Sacramento buyers.
Q. A lot of people have written in the last couple of weeks, based on what Sacramento has accomplished with the term sheet, why isn’t expansion an option?
DAVID STERN: Right now expansion sort of on horseback, so to speak, is not a prudent way to run a league. Without knowing what you’re selling, what the next TV deal is worth, what the full scope of international is, what our social media, digital rights, et cetera, to cut off a chunk of that and have an expansion is just imprudent on a quick decision. It doesn’t mean that at some time in the future it isn’t potentially on the table, but right now it’s not.
Q. How much of this decision will purely come down to economics and evaluating the Sacramento market versus the Seattle market and the economic base?
DAVID STERN: I just want to say it’s more complex than that. There’s no question that Seattle is a vibrant and thriving market with plans for a great building, and Sacramento has been a great and supportive market of the NBA with plans for a new building. And so we need to flesh out for the owners, every owner seems to have a different question, but we’ve got a fair amount of work to do.
Q. Given how much questions remain now, is it possible this is not finalized at the Board of Governors meeting?
DAVID STERN: Yes.
Q. Obviously there’s schedules to be made and things of that nature. There has to be some kind of we‑need‑an‑answer‑now thing I would imagine.
DAVID STERN: Yes.
Q. I’m two for two.
DAVID STERN: Yes. It’s just the only question is when is now. I don’t know.
ADAM SILVER: But to your point, they’re practical considerations. We have to plan for a season, so there’s a combination of timeline set out in the constitution for making a determination, and then there are also the factors as you point out, not just setting a schedule, selling a tickets for next season, sponsorships. The owners are mindful of all of those factors.
Q. Are you pushing them to get it done for the Board of Governors meeting?
DAVID STERN: They’re pushing us, and I guess all that we want to say about that is that we’re doing it as fast as we collectively can together, and it made well slide past the board meeting, but I wouldn’t expect it if it does to slide by a lot, because there’s a combined interest in having some clarity come to this situation.
Q. I asked you at the All‑Star Game in Houston if you had a chance to influence owners in the past, and you said I’ve been known to. How much influence or guidance will you give your owners between now and when a decision is made?
DAVID STERN: This one is so weighty, and each of the owners understands that. I’ve never seen quite the commitment that is now evident for all members of the committee to get on top of this, and they’re all going to wind up having, I think, their own opinion. Our job here is to just lay out the considerations and make sure that they touch on everything. We have a constitutionally mandated Article 7 analysis that we have. We have a request for a transfer. It is just more complex. We’ve never had a situation like this, and my role, I view it here, is to make sure that they focus on the issues.
And the seriousness of purpose to me is really incredible, because they know that there’s a lot at stake here for two communities and the NBA. And I don’t think they need to be influenced or want to be influenced at this point.