NBA Franchise Notes: Stern's Voice "Most Powerful" In Deciding Kings' Fate
In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes NBA Commissioner David Stern's "legacy will be tied" to the Kings situation. Stern "doesn't have a vote in what he termed this 'wrenching' dilemma between Sacramento and Seattle, but he has a voice, and it remains the league's most powerful one." There is "no chance -- none -- that he is only providing background noise while the league's enormous legal staff examines the two cities." Stern's "final answer, interestingly enough, is proving to be his most vexing." A league exec yesterday "described the commissioner as 'anguishing' over the process that consists of competing offers for one team, proposals for new arenas in Sacramento and Seattle, and questions pertaining to the prudence and practicality of relocating an established incumbent franchise that sold out 19 of 28 seasons" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/24).
HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN: In Phoenix, Paul Coro writes Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby "would like to tab a new GM before addressing the coaching situation." Babby said that a "promotion from inside the organization was unlikely and that he would prefer not to combine the coach and GM roles for one person." He added that GM experience was "not a requirement because of how his three years on the job can fill the gaps" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/24).
LOOKING TO GROW: Grizzlies CEO & Managing Partner Jason Levien said that team execs will "turn their attention this offseason to renewing the 26 courtside suites at FedExForum, as well as growing the season ticket base." In Memphis, Michael Sheffield notes while the team "doesn’t release specific season ticket sales numbers, the number of season ticket holders is believed to be between 8,000 and 10,000." The Grizzlies' "revenue for 2012 was $100 million." Levien "expects a 'double digit' percentage increase in this year’s revenue" (MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/19 issue).
SCHEDULE CHANGERS: In Orlando, Josh Robbins reported a "scheduling conflict revealed in a preliminary draft of the league's upcoming schedule will prevent the Magic from playing next season" at London's O2 Arena. The Magic were "scheduled to play two regular-season games" in London in March '12, but the games were cancelled due to the lockout (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 4/22).
PREHISTORIC THINKING: In Toronto, Frank Zicarelli writes Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment "continues to dither, leaving both" Raptors President & GM Bryan Colangelo and coach Dwane Casey "in limbo when so much can be done at this point of the off-season." Zicarelli: "Perception and profit are the two guiding forces behind this faceless and completely clueless ownership group and a board that borders on the gutless." What is "sad is how irrelevant the Raptors have become." If MLSE had "any idea what it was doing, an endorsement or a pink slip would have been issued to Colangelo the moment the season ended" (TORONTO SUN, 4/24).