SBD/Issue 57/Franchises

Stern Says Committee Already Working On Owners’ Concerns

Johnson Reportedly One Of Eight
Team Owners To Send Letter

NBA Commissioner David Stern discussed the letter written to him by a group of eight small-market owners “pleading with Stern to address concerns about their staggering financial losses.” Stern: “We’d like not to lose money, but it’s complicated with respect to teams, their markets, their buildings, their management. I think it’s a concern that I have had and expressed, so I support their view.” He added that the letter was “‘really for dramatic impact’ and wasn’t necessary because a committee already has been working on the problem” (Ken Berger, NEWSDAY, 12/3). In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell wrote that he has “repeatedly tried to interview” Bobcats Owner Bob Johnson about the report that he is among the eight aforementioned owners. Johnson, through a team spokesperson, has declined comment. Bonnell: “This issue relates to the public-private partnership Johnson has with the city of Charlotte. ... I don’t think the city built [Bobcats Arena] to house the NBA-equivalent of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I don’t believe Johnson wants that to happen, but cost-containment certainly is in his nature. [But] it’s none of my business and apparently none of the public’s, either” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/3).

WHERE’S MICHAEL? In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote Bobcats Managing Member of Basketball Operations Michael Jordan “attends some home games, doesn’t travel with the team and has been content to stay in the background. His presence has gone largely unnoticed.” One Western Conference exec, when asked if he would call Jordan for a trade with the Bobcats, said, “I totally forgot he’s there. I don’t know what his role is.” But Bobcats GM & coach Bernie Bickerstaff said, “Michael and I talk every day. He’s been terrific. We’re all on the same page” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/3).

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