David Stern, Adam Silver talk NBA
LONDON -- In what is expected to be his final news conference as NBA commissioner, David Stern expressed few regrets about a career that has seen the league grow from 24 employees to 1,200 stationed across the world.
"I wish the WNBA was 24 teams, rather [than] 12," he said Thursday. "That will take us some time. I wish the American team at the Athens Olympics had won gold rather than bronze. But I'm very happy with where we are, and I'm looking forward to perhaps traveling a bit with the NBA and enjoying watching its continued growth."
While Stern defended the NBA's draft lottery and dismissed speculation that teams may tank games to earn a better chance at a top pick, he conceded that the system may need some adjustments.
"We made it a bit more slanted to the worst teams, and I think it's maybe time to look at the lottery and maybe tinker a little more," he said. "But we'll see what Commissioner Silver wants to do on that."
Incoming Commissioner Adam Silver didn't take the bait.
Appearing alongside Stern before the Brooklyn Nets faced the Atlanta Hawks in a sold-out O2 Arena, Silver promised continuity but also used the opportunity to raise the possibility of overseas expansion. Silver said he would actively explore the feasibility of such a move if the global economy rebounds and new NBA-ready arenas come online.
"It's most likely that if we were to come to Europe, it would be with a division rather than a single team, for the sake of logistics," he said. "And it's something we're going to continue to look at. Part of understanding the opportunity is to play games like this, to measure the response and go from there."
Thursday's event was the fourth regular-season game in the United Kingdom.
"We do have plans in place to keep playing regular-season games in London," Silver said. "It's been a fantastic experience for our teams and our players. And we hope to continue developing our business in London and throughout Europe.
"I think it will be annual. We are looking at other opportunities, maybe to play more games and possibly even a tournament at some point. But right now, we're going to continue on the same course with a regular-season game."
Silver also confirmed that he would be naming a new deputy commissioner within weeks, subject to approval of the board of governors.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com contributor Mark Woods was used in this report.
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