David Stern Rumors
When Robert Pera bought the team from Mike Heisley in October of 2012, he agreed to a buy-sell arrangement with two minority owners, Steve Kaplan and Daniel Straus, under which either of those minority owners could submit a bid to buy out Pera’s interest. Pera would then have to either accept the bid and sell the team, or buy out the minority owners’s interest at the bid price. So, for example, Kaplan could offer to buy the Grizzlies at the price of $1 billion, and Pera would either have to sell his 25-percent share of the team for 25 percent of $1 billion, or he’d have to buy out Kaplan’s 14-percent share of the team for 14 percent of $1 billion. That buy-sell arrangement — which was suggested by former NBA commissioner David Stern, as a safeguard in case the Kaplan and/or Straus didn’t like being minority owners with Pera — kicks in “after five years, and every three years thereafter.” Pera bought the team in October of 2012, which is why it’s coming up now.
After spending 14 seasons in the NBA, what is your most memorable career high? LeBron James: “I think my career high is just walking across the stage as an 18-year-old kid from Akron, Ohio, shaking David Stern’s hand for the first time on the stage, and being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s my high because it was a dream of mine. At times it felt like it couldn’t come true, at times I only visioned it becoming true. I guess as you put your mind to things and you think about things, they become true and that was the defining moment for myself knowing that I belonged, that my dream had came true for an 18-year-old kid coming out of Akron, Ohio to be in New York City shaking the commissioner’s hand knowing I was a part of the NBA.”
During the ensuing nine years in the league office – and with strong backing from former Commissioner David Stern and his successor, Adam Silver – his career arc continued to ascend, with one promotion after another. “I had the benefit of working directly with Brandon,” Silver wrote in an email, “and know firsthand why his basketball acumen, experience and management skills are well regarded around the league. He’ll be a terrific addition to the Kings organization.” Among his many tasks with the league, Williams helped craft the “Respect the Game” policy that imposed a dress code and was instrumental in creation of the Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J. Somewhere in there, he also found time to get married, have a baby and graduate from Rutgers law school in 3 1/2 years.
LeGarie started his career representing European players and coaches, bushwhacking across the world. He knew firsthand how badly all the N.B.A. business that went on during the summer needed to be harmonized in a central location. For years he bugged the league office and David Stern, then the N.B.A. commissioner, until he got the go-ahead to organize the Las Vegas league, heavily supported by the current commissioner, Adam Silver.
Addressing the parallels between Seattle and Sacramento in their battles to keep an NBA team in place, Stern said the difference boiled down to city leadership. (You can listen to this segment at the 1:11 mark of the podcast.) “Mayor Kevin Johnson was out there doing whatever had to be done,” Stern said. “In Seattle, the speaker of the Seattle house said our players should take a cut in pay and put the money into a fund to help build the building. That’s nothing we had to work with. I did the same things in Seattle that I did in Sacramento, but there was a leader in Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, who was intent on keeping that team.”
Stern also noted the Sonics did not receive the same level of financial commitment in Seattle as the Seahawks or Mariners had gotten for their stadium. “(Johnson) was differently motivated, because there had been huge subsidies from (Seattle) for the baseball team and football team to build their two buildings. Our basketball was the third man in. In Sacramento, this was the game. The city was very proud and had been very supportive.”