At around 2 pm west coast time, the NBA held a pre-playoffs conference call with various NBA officials. Commissioner David Stern answered a number of questions on numerous topics, includingrelocation.
On reaction regarding the surprising involvement of Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle:
Actually the owners, with respect to Mr. Burkle, the owners heard that. But they were really more focused on Mayor Johnson's delivery that talked about enhanced sponsorship revenue, enhanced season ticket sales and enhanced prospects for a new building.
On the questions regarding the Maloofs' financial viability:
There was no discussion of thefinancial condition. As it related to Anaheim, it was a discussion of certain areas having to do with the contractual relationship between Mr. Samueli's organization and the Kings having to do with the building and having to do with television revenue and really having to do with upgrades that have to be done, substantial upgrades to the Honda Center to both comply with NBA operation standards and to enhance the fan and revenue generating experience at the Honda Center.
On why the relocation deadline was extended:
It's not what (the owners) didn't hear. It's what it did hear from both sides. They really wanted to understand what Mayor Johnson was talking about with respect to various changes and the fortunes in a new building campaign and the changes in how the team could be favorably impacted on sponsorships and ticket sales. The Mayor really understood that ARCO, or excuse me, Power Balance Arena is not the arena of future. And that Sacramento has to face up to the issue that when ARCO is no longer around, and it's on its last legs now and the NCAA won't even use it to host its tournaments, that Sacramento will be the 20th largest market and will be the only one of those 20 not to have an entertainment and sports center.
And with respect to Anaheim, the various arrangements and the like hadn't been fully buttoned down. They were changing a little bit in the last few days and so the committee wanted to study more what the Anaheim final arrangements looked like. So, it seems smart to put off the application for a bit. And that's what (Minnesota Timberwolves owner) Glen Taylor, chairman of the board and (Oklahoma City Thunder owner) Clay Bennett, chairman of the committee, asked me to do. And so I did it by asking for a motion at the board of governors and it passed unanimously.
On Mayor Kevin Johnson's presence:
Actually I would say the Mayor together with the ICON Group that he brought in (President & CEO) Tim Romani, the Mayor was persuasive in telling the committee that there seems to be an intensity that makes it the most intense time of interest to the community that he has seen. And that he thinks that there may be some intelligent way to consider an arena project at a downtown site where the city owns land, where the federal government is supporting called an intermodal and so the owners wanted to know more.
On Clay Bennett's appointment as lead chairman of the NBA relocation committee:
The committee was appointed and he was on it and we hadn't appointed a chairman. And he has stepped up to become quite involved with the issues with Anaheim, with Sacramento and frankly he's been doing such heavy lifting with respect to labor relations. And he's a very willing participant in League board of governor affairs that it seemed like it was good idea to lean on him for this one.
Stern was asked if Bennett's appointment would be a conflict of interest. Here is his audio of his response:
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