HoopsHype Adam Silver rumors

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February 3, 2015 Updates

There also have been other, more private confabs involving high-ranking advisers to the leagues. In those meetings, sources with direct knowledge say, contingency plans were formed in preparation for the day sports betting is legal outside of Nevada. When asked about the support he's getting from other leagues, Silver says, "I have talked to the commissioners in the other leagues about it, and I leave it to them to make any public statements they want to make on it. I will say that certainly all of them ... have assigned people in their organizations to study the issue intensively." ESPN.com

Perhaps the best Silver can hope for from other commissioners is a new view of sports betting as a possible "frenemy." It is tricky, after all, for the leagues to embrace something they've long denounced for its impact on the "integrity of the game." It would also be naive to think that this is all about the sanctity of the results. In 2013, $1.05 billion was wagered legally on basketball, combining the professional and college levels. The illegal market across sports? Try 132 times that -- an estimated $138.9 billion, according to the American Gaming Association. You don't have to be a cynic to think that the leagues and their owners want a piece of that very big betting pie. Leave it to Mark Cuban to be frank about that aspect of the NBA's support for legalization. "We have always known betting, fantasy leagues and daily [fantasy] sports have driven interest and viewership," wrote the Mavericks' owner in a recent email exchange with The Magazine. "We did everything possible to encourage it while publicly condemning gambling. I'm glad Adam is putting the hypocrisy behind us and putting it all up front." ESPN.com

A united front among all the leagues would certainly help Silver's cause for a federal solution. The other leagues have -- at least publicly -- not wavered from their anti-legalization stance after the op-ed. MLB declined to comment for this story, and the NFL refused to even reiterate its anti-legalization stance. Gary Bettman, the longtime commissioner of the NHL, told CNN in November after Silver's op-ed was published: "I think there needs to be some attention paid to what sports is going to represent to young people. ... Does it become a vehicle for betting, which may in effect change the atmosphere in the arenas?" But multiple sources with direct knowledge of meetings between the leagues believe the NHL is much more open to legalization than Bettman's comments indicate. And the NHL and MLB are both currently partnered with daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings. ESPN.com

In the meantime, Silver is willing to take the lead on an issue that some liken to the legalization of marijuana -- socially acceptable but mostly illegal. "I am very sensitive to people thinking that I'm not understanding of the downsides," he says. "I recognize that it can be very damaging to a person or a person's family, just like other substances of potential abuse taken to extremes. That's yet another reason I think it needs to be closely monitored." Silver says he hasn't set a timetable for the day when we can legally bet on a Cavaliers-Heat game. "We're still in the monitoring stage," he says. But you can bet all interested parties -- the other leagues, the states, the bookmakers, the bettors -- are following the developments as closely as they would a point spread. ESPN.com

February 2, 2015 Updates

In an interview on ESPN Radio Sunday night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reflected on his eventful first year on the job and looked ahead to the future. “It’s my hope that I’ll be able to focus almost entirely on building the game of basketball in my second year,” Silver said on the show. “I think the second year is going to be a time for action and I think, to an extent, there are ways to improve the playoff format, ways to improve the draft lottery. This is going to be the year where we have to make those decisions. Of course, with our Board of Governors, that is all of the owners, we have to decide which of those ideas are worthy of being implemented.” Basketball Insiders

Silver continued, regarding expanding rosters: “I think that’s something that will get very strong consideration. I think that’s an issue that we’ll end up discussing with the Players Association. It has a direct impact on many of the player’s bonuses. There’s preset bonuses in their contracts for making the All-Star team. I think counter-balancing that is the issue of playing time. (NBA executive vice president) Rod Thorn and I were having this discussion yesterday. We said we should move to (Kentucky coach John) Calipari’s platoon system for All-Star to make sure that everyone gets (enough) playing time. Basketball Insiders

Silver also touched on the potential for a labor issue in 2017. “I want to be a realist,” he said. “I understand that it’s become a part of sports. I don’t want to tell fans that they should disregard the things that the head of our Players Association is saying. I take her at her word. Having said that, I think that when we get into full-out negotiating — which won’t be for a long time — and we continue to share our financials as we have historically and everyone takes into account, meaning both the teams and the players, how well this league is operating … I’d like to think that calmer heads will prevail and we’ll all realize that we have a great system here and that we shouldn’t screw it up.” Basketball Insiders

February 1, 2015 Updates

“I’ve had a lot of fun because, at root, I’m a huge basketball fan. I go to a lot of games, and I get great seats and I’ve enjoyed building my relationship with the players and the coaches in the league,” Silver said. “I’ve known plenty of players over my time, and I’ve been mainly on the business side in my 20-plus years with the league so I’ve enjoyed getting closer to the game. “I enjoy the travel and really enjoy building this business. I think that’s the most exciting aspect — that this is a business that has enormous growth ahead of it, especially internationally, and that is truly gratifying.” San Antonio Express-News

January 23, 2015 Updates

Mayor Ed Murray says a recent visit with NBA commissioner Adam Silver has him doubting that Seattle can land a team within the next few years. And that has Murray worried no team will arrive before the November 2017 expiration of a Sodo arena funding agreement between the city, King County and entrepreneur Chris Hansen. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between them states an NBA team must be acquired for Hansen to receive up to $200 million in city and county bond funding for the proposed venue. Seattle Times

January 15, 2015 Updates

Speaking in London Thursday during the NBA’s Global Games event, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been in touch with the league about the potential sale of the team. “He’s told us that there is nothing imminent,” Silver said. “He hasn’t determined that he is absolutely going to sell but he is listening to offers and that is an ongoing process.” Wall Street Journal

The NFL has expanded the number of regular season games at Wembley to three and is targeting 2021 to have a full-time London franchise in place, while the NBA is this week staging its fifth regular season game in London. “My sense is that the NFL is a little bit ahead of us in terms of their timeline for having a franchise based in London. There are some aspects of their schedule that make it easier – they play once a week, they have fewer games,” said Adam Silver, who took over from David Stern as the commissioner last year. “It will be easier logistically for them to pull it off. It would be difficult for us to have one team in Europe. We’d have to put both feet down. That would mean having four franchises in Europe.” The Guardian

A European franchise has long been mooted as the next step up the ladder for the sport as it looks to compete with football for international followers. "It is on our list as something that we continue to explore, but we do not want to get ahead of ourselves - it is something we continue to study. There is an opportunity to bring NBA basketball to Europe on a permanent basis," he says. "It is something we ultimately want to do, but a lot of work needs to be done." BBC

Outside the US, the full global mission for the 2014/15 season has seen a total of nine NBA teams playing seven games - two regular-season (London and Mexico City) and five pre-season games - in seven cities in six countries. In terms of sporting development, China has been important to the NBA over the past 10 years, as it has been a huge growth market for the sport, and he says interest in basketball there is far from sated. "We are far, far from maximum capacity in China, even though we believe we are the number one sport there," he says. BBC

January 14, 2015 Updates

Commissioner Adam Silver thinks it's "inevitable" that the NBA will one day take after European sports and have sponsor names on jerseys. With the NBA back in London for its annual regular-season game, Silver said that's one area where the league can copy international sports. Most major European clubs in soccer and other sports sell advertising space on their shirts. Silver said "I do think it's inevitable" for jersey sponsors to be adopted by the NBA, but that "exactly when it's going to come, I'm not sure." Oregonian

January 12, 2015 Updates
January 7, 2015 Updates

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made advocating for legalized sports gambling a priority since he assumed office last February, repeatedly calling for a reformed approach to a subject that has long been taboo for America’s biggest sports leagues. He has a supporter in his former boss, ex-NBA commissioner David Stern, who said Wednesday morning that he agrees with his protege on the subject. “I think I agree with Adam,” Stern said when asked about gambling in an interview on CNBC’s SquawkBox morning show. “Once daily fantasy became an acceptable exception to the law against gambling, I think that’s gambling, so now I think the best approach would be, as Adam Silver has advocated, is for there to be federal regulation. Bring the sports leagues in. If it’s going to happen, because it has happened anyway by Justice Department rulings and the like, you should make it legal and you should regulate it as tightly as you possibly can.” ThinkProgress

January 5, 2015 Updates

Levenson has already said his group will sell its piece of the team, after the September disclosure of a 2012 e-mail he sent to general manager Danny Ferry decrying the lack of middle class white fans at Hawks games, and his racially-imbued reasoning as to why they weren't coming. For months, the league has been leaning on the Levenson and Gearon groups to come together. Sources said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had Levenson and Gearon up to New York just after the start of the season to try and hammer out a deal, without success. NBA.com

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