Posted by Scott Howard-Cooper
SALT LAKE CITY – Commissioner David Stern, re-affirming a previous commitment to taking a regular-season game to London before the 2012 Olympics there, has put the NBA on a realistic course to play in the new arena on the banks of the Thames as soon as 2010-11.
“We’re looking,” Stern said Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena before the Lakers and Jazz played Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. “We have nothing hot, but it’s a subject under active consideration.”
He offered several other updates:
*The long-anticipated sale of the Nets to Mikhail Prokhorov is expected to be completed by the lottery next Tuesday in New Jersey and possibly even by the end of this week.
*Upping the ante by saying he would move from fines to suspensions for coaches and players who criticize referees, complete with a “make my day” to dare anyone to test him, has worked, the commissioner said. There have been no further problems.
“You may have noticed, the rhetoric has declined,” Stern said. “You know why that is? Not because I’m a tough guy. But because maybe some of my coaches, subject to a relapse or a slip, understand that even though it is gamesmanship to a certain point, it does impact the game that we love and that has been pretty good to everybody.”
*Nothing of substance has developed on the sale of the Warriors and no individual or group has taken the lead, but it is possible a new owner could be lined up by the June 24 draft, before final paperwork later in the summer.
“Well, it depends,” Stern clarified. “Do I think the month of May and the month of June for a signed agreement? Maybe. Not a closing, but an agreement. It’s a speedy schedule, but I would hope that it’s possible.”
*The sale of the Hornets to minority owner Gary Chouest is “not a given at all” despite reports that portray the transaction as all but done.