David Stern on Lockout Shortened NBA Season, One-And-Done College Players and Star Players Controlling the Balance of PowerApril 30, 2012 – 6:30 am by Steven Cuce
The NBA playoffs are upon us after a labor dispute lasted into December and cut into the regular season. The 66-game regular season was a challenge for every team around the league. NBA Commissioner David Stern weighs in on a heap of topics that are dominating the headlines as the Association begins its postseason. Stern sounds pleased with how the lockout shortened season fared and is looking forward to a competitive playoff stretch.
David Stern joined WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to discuss his overall opinion on a lockout shortened NBA season, his reasoning behind suspending Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) seven games, Metta World Peace’s past history playing a factor in his suspension, talking with Metta World Peace about his suspension when the decision was made, the NBA’s role in making sure college basketball players don’t come out of school to the draft so early, star players not controlling the balance of power in the NBA and not worrying about player collusion of any kind in the NBA.
When you look back over this hectic schedule do you feel it was executed well?
“I think under the circumstances I think it was excellent. I think our teams and players stepped up. I think our fans expressed their appreciation through attendance and viewing. I think it’s really better than we had a right to expect.”
What was the reasoning behind the suspension for Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)?
“Well I thought that seven was pretty heavy. I thought this was a wreck less and dangerous shot and it deserved that. Of course there are people that think it should be five and people that think it should be ten and other people who think it should be 100 or banned forever. That’s my job.”
How did Metta World Peace/Ron Artest’s past history play into it? Significantly or not significantly?
“Yeah if this was a first time errant elbow in a different situation you are talking about two or three games. We thought this was a very harsh penalty. [Mike Francesa: Do you take the other players resulting injury into account?] Yes. A little bit. Yes. In some measure…James Harden didn’t think it was intentional, but I thought that it wasn’t an issue whether…it was so wreck less that it might as well have been intentional.”
Have you talked with Metta World Peace/Ron Artest about the incident?
“We have spoken to him. Yes. He’s remorseful and hopefully this is the last we’ll see of any such conduct.”
What is the NBA’s role with college players coming out of school to the draft so early?
“From my standpoint the NBA’s role is to do what’s best for the NBA. For us we’d like to have more time rather than less time for a player in his post-high school days to play basketball and be seen by our scouts and judgements to be made. In the last collective bargaining and not the last one just done, the one before that, we got a year out of high school. In that year the player can [leave]. It’s not a social program. We don’t tell players they have to go to college. They can play in college. They could play in the NBA development league where 20% of the NBA players have played. They can play in Europe the way that Brandon Jennings did or they could do nothing, but a year they are eligible for our draft. We’ve tried to get it two years and the union has not agreed to that yet, but it should be a subject of discussion. It shouldn’t be a problem for the colleges. All they have to do…the college president…is tell the coach not to take in player’s who are going to leave after a year. Why is that? Because the alumni would fire the president.”
Does the idea of an incredibly powerful star player controlling an organization like Dwight Howard scare your owners?
“You mean like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did? Like Wilt Chamberlain did? And players do in every sport for as long as I can remember? No. In fact the enhanced luxury tax in the context of a salary cap is going to I think move that issue off the front pages, but as long as there’s a player who’s a great, great player who’s not happy with a team that he is at we are going to have that issue if the players or someone acting on his behalf chooses to make the point.”
So you don’t worry about player collusion of any kind?
“I don’t consider it to be collusion.I don’t consider it to be collusion.”