NBA commissioner David Stern prefers to take a patient approach to New York's basketball teams.
Whenever one team is not doing well, fans of that franchise will ask Stern for some help. Judging by the dismal play from both New York basketball teams thus far, Stern must be hearing a lot from frustrated fans.
Stern acknowledges that both teams are off to "horrible starts," despite having high payrolls and sky-high expectations. But the NBA commissioner says give the Knicks and Nets more time.
And he laughs at the notion that the NBA needs the New York teams to do well and the New York market to thrive. He points out how several teams, such as the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, are exceeding expectations and making for an interesting season, even if the Knicks and Nets are struggling.
"Everybody was predicting early demises [by several other teams], and actually the Nets and the Knicks aren’t doing quite as well as people expected they would do," Stern said on "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "So let's give them a chance to get on track. I don’t know if Carmelo [Anthony] is happy, but I'm happy."
"We have done very well, thank you, in the last decade," Stern also added about the NBA thriving without consistent success from either the Knicks or Nets in the country's biggest market. "We are probably the only sport that is up something like 40 percent in television ratings. And the last time I looked during that period of time the Knicks and the Nets weren’t doing so well. So we will do fine, thank you."
Listen to the complete interview:
Stern said he likes what he has seen transpire league-wide early this season. But he understands that local fans can get restless the more the Knicks and Nets lose.
"When I walk down the street, if the Knicks aren't doing well, every truck driver who shouts at me says, 'Hey Dave, help the Knicks!'" Stern said. "Or, 'Hey Dave, what’s up with the Nets?'"
"By the way, it is a very long season, so I am not going to draw any conclusions yet other than that both these teams are off to horrible starts."