- Royce Young, NBA Writer
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SAN ANTONIO -- In his first NBA Finals media address, commissioner Adam Silver said he is satisfied the air conditioning issue that plagued Game 1 has been resolved, but also admitted the situation could have been handled better.
"In hindsight it wasn't handled perfectly, but they'd never been confronted with that issue before," Silver said. "We in the league office, and not just me as commissioner, but I've been with the league office for more than 22 years now, I'd never dealt with a situation like that before."
During Game 1 of the Finals the air conditioning failed, causing steamy 90-degree conditions for the players. The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat 110-95 to take a 1-0 series lead as Heat forward LeBron James was forced to leave early because of cramping.
"There was never a point where we were considering either postponing or canceling the game," Silver said.
"I would say that it's certainly not one of my prouder moments in my shortened tenure as commissioner so far, but it's the nature of this game," he said. "There always are going to be human and mechanical errors and it's unfortunate."
Silver told assembled media that a circuit breaker that controls the water pumps that feed the air conditioning system failed right before tipoff. League officials were told shortly after 8 p.m. CT and were told that engineers were trying to fix it, but league officials were told late in the second quarter that the outage couldn't be repaired.
Silver also answered a number of questions about the pending sale of the Los Angeles Clippers and the way the league responded to allegations of previous offensive behavior by owner Donald Sterling.
"In hindsight, should we have done more to investigate Donald?" Silver asked. "I'm frankly not sure. In this case, I mean, in addition to the fact that this tape in essence was broadcast to the world and so quickly became available to us, in the past these were issues that did not directly impact the NBA. And we're not the government. He was investigated by the Department of Housing, the Department of Justice. There were individual lawsuits with him that settled out. So I was at the League during that time, and when we monitored those events, at least it felt at that time that we were doing the appropriate thing.
"It's a fair point that in hindsight possibly we should have done more. Certainly if I had to do it again, maybe we would have done more but our eyes are open going forward."
As for the sale of the Clippers to tech tycoon Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, Silver said the process cannot be officially consummated until former owner Donald Sterling's pending lawsuit is resolved.
He said there are a few steps left in the process and "a few additional things" Ballmer needs to do in relation to his deal with Shelly and Donald Sterling.
"And then we have our advisory finance committee, which is our executive committee, still needs to interview him. There is additional vetting that needs to go on. We have a prescheduled Board of Governors meeting for mid-July. So we will either vote at that meeting or possibly if all those steps are completed before then, we will vote earlier than that," Silver said.
Silver said Ballmer intends to purchase the Clippers entirely on his own, with eventual plans to build an ownership group.
"What Steve has told us is that while he's the 100 percent owner of the team now, he intends to move forward and close as the 100 percent owner," Silver said. "And all he's told me is that he would then look to bring in other partners, but that would be premature right now."
Sterling levied a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA and Silver following a lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine handed down by the league following racially charged comments by Sterling.
"I have absolute confidence it will be resolved because as part of the sale agreement with Shelly Sterling, she agreed to indemnify the league against a lawsuit by her husband," Silver said, "So in essence, Donald is suing himself and he knows that. While I understand he is frustrated, I think it's over. I think it's just a matter of time now, and then we will move on to better topics and back to the Finals."
Silver said he has spoken to Sterling once, by telephone, following the ban.
"I would only say that I certainly learned nothing new from that conversation with him," Silver said. "He was distraught; it was shortly after that Tuesday press conference that I had held, but he was not remorseful at that time."
Silver was asked about any possibility of a reconsideration of Sterling's lifetime ban or fine.
"There is absolutely no possibility that the lifetime ban will be rescinded or that the fine will be changed in any way," he said.
As for Shelly Sterling, Silver said, "She can go to any game she wants and always could, even after Donald's ban. Other than that, she won't have any role with the Clippers going forward."
Silver was asked about where the league's current HGH testing program stood, and he said it was being "held hostage" by the NFL's negotiations on the same topic because the two players unions share lawyers.
Silver also discussed the league's upcoming television rights negotiations, saying talks are in place for next week when the Finals transition to Miami. The current deal runs through the 2015-16 season.
"We're pleased with our current partners in [The Walt] Disney Company and Time Warner Turner," Silver said. "We have discussions set for next week in Miami and those discussions are ongoing. It's still my hope that we extend early before we get to the market, but we'll see. We'll see how those discussions go."
In his first NBA Finals media address, commissioner Adam Silver said he is satisfied the air conditioning issue that plagued Game 1 has been resolved, but also admitted the situation could have been handled better.