New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has "selected seven team governors to advise him on the league’s coming media talks, providing the surest sign yet that those negotiations are about to become much more intense," according to Lombardo & Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The seven-member committee includes Thunder Owner Clay Bennett, Knicks Owner James Dolan, Celtics Managing Partner & CEO Wyc Grousbeck, Spurs Owner Peter Holt, Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis, Jazz CEO Greg Miller and Bulls President & COO Michael Reinsdorf. Sources said that an exclusive negotiating window "for the NBA's current media partners does not open for another year." However, the league "has told ESPN and Turner executives that they plan to start negotiating a new deal in the second half of the current season." Silver's decision to "create a formal media committee pegged to the upcoming deals represents a more inclusive approach from past negotiations that he led with former commissioner David Stern." Also noteworthy is that the group is "called a 'media committee' and not a 'television committee,' as the NBA is expected to add other digital rights as part of its new deal." A new media deal "stands at the top of Silver’s to-do list as he begins his tenure" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/3 issue).
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS: SPORTS ON EARTH's Shaun Powell wrote Silver in his first week on the job is "ready to get the ball moving," as the transition from Stern to Silver "couldn't have gone any smoother." There is "no tremendous rush to create change" because Stern "left the game in great shape." But the game eventually will "require his touch." Silver over the next five years will "meet several challenges, none bigger than the TV contracts, and look to improve the quality of the game." His tenure "needs to be about polishing the product and making it more satisfying to fans, especially those who find the game less enjoyable than ever and began to tune out in the post-Jordan era" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 2/3).
BIGGER OFFICE: In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote under Silver there "definitely will be an increased international emphasis with the league and perhaps other changes including more involvement by NBA owners." The question is whether Silver will "make the valiant attempt to form a division in Europe." Meanwhile, with "the rash of injuries in the NBA and an 82-game season that begins in October and carries into April," there have "been murmurs that the season could be shortened." Some players and team execs were "pleased with the 66-game, lockout-shortened schedule" in '11-12. However, Silver has indicated that he "will not reduce the number of games" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/3). In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell wrote while Stern "made sure underlings knew they worked for him," Silver will "be more a 'come work with me' boss." Silver "can be decisive and assertive, as he demonstrated during labor negotiations," but he "won't come across as the bear Stern often projected" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/2).
TRIBUTES CONTINUE TO POUR IN: Stern's departure from the NBA Commissioner position after 30 years generated myriad responses over the weekend. THE DAILY has compiled some of what was said on television and written in newspapers on its On The Ground blog.