Wednesday, October 27, 2010
NBA draft moving to Newark for 2011
By Ian Begley
NEWARK, N.J. -- The NBA draft is leaving Madison Square Garden and commissioner David Stern offered no guarantees as to when or if the event will return to the Big Apple.
Stern announced on Wednesday night that the league will hold its draft at the Prudential Center in Newark on June 23. The New Jersey Nets will play their home games at the Prudential Center for the next two years before a planned move to Brooklyn. The draft has been held at Madison Square Garden since 2001.
Stern said the league would "decide where it was appropriate" to hold the draft each year. He added that the league hasn't decided on a site for the 2012 draft or any draft thereafter.
"We have nothing committed to the future," said Stern, who was flanked by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek at a press conference at the Prudential Center before the Nets' season-opener against the Pistons.
Madison Square Garden is schedule to undergo renovations over the next three summers.
The league needed a new venue for the event this year since the Garden will be under construction.
"The fact that [MSG] wasn't [available] gave us the opportunity to begin talking to a lot of other cities and I think it may have changed our perspective," Stern said.
Stern did not guarantee that the draft would return to the Garden once construction is complete.
"This is for this year, and we don't have a place to hold it next year," Stern said.
The league has held the draft outside of Madison Square Garden in the past.
"We have 30 franchises, we've got 28 great metropolitan areas and we'll see where it goes from there," Stern said.
The Prudential Center opened in 2007. The New Jersey Devils and Seton Hall Basketball play home games at the arena. The New York Liberty will play the next three seasons at the Prudential Center while the Garden is being renovated.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.