Stern: We just followed the crowd. Baseball took over the Montreal Expos, the NHL took over the Coyotes and we stepped in to make sure the Hornets would be well operated and be made stronger. There was no more money that a principal owner was going to put into the team, and the negotiations (for Shinn to sell the team) had dragged on for so long that we thought it was time to show a little love for New Orleans. So we stepped in, we continued the strong day-to-day management, we added some strengthening features, we talked with the governor and the mayor, both of whom have been tremendously cooperative together with the business community as well.
Charges that the league has exposed itself to a serious conflict of interest by taking over operating control of one of its franchises for the first time in NBA history
Stern: You'd be surprised at how uninvolved we are in New Orleans. The only place we get involved is advice on ticket sales, groups, renewals, suggestions when they ask us if we have additional personnel they can hire. They set the budget, we approve it, and we've approved untying that they previously wanted to do on the player side. It's kind of interesting.
The uncertainly about the marketplace was really badly affecting the value of the franchise and we thought that the franchise was being demonstrably undervalued, so we stepped in, and we'll see. The other NBA owners endorsed buying the Hornets in a very robust fashion.
There are several cities that have expressed interest in taking on an existing NBA team in a franchise relocation. There's a brand-new building in Pittsburgh, there's a suitable building in St. Louis and there's suitable building in Tampa/St. Pete. Anaheim also has serviceable building.
The NBA is making Hornets unattractive to move. Stern is upbeat about the Hornets' situation.
Some hither, others yon: Reggie Bush's huge salary will make it difficult to trade him, but I don't think the Saints want to trade him because he is a Sean Payton favorite. You could see a situation where the Saints restructure his contract to make sure they keep him. But last year's injury problems at running back and the likely departure of Pierre Thomas mean the Saints will seek another running back to go with Bush and Chris Ivory...
NFL Draft and J.J. Watt
Evan Silva, draft expert for rotoworld.com, has the Saints picking defensive end J.J. Watt with their 24th selection in the draft. "The Saints use their first-round pick on a front-seven playmaker. A former starting tight end at Central Michigan, Watt exploded after his transfer to Wisconsin for 30.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks in two seasons. In DC Gregg Williams' 4-3, the 6-foot-6, 292-pound Watt would play left end on early downs and kick outside to tackle passing situations. Watt has a tireless motor. He also blocked three kicks as a junior...
Jay Feely, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning
According to Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was dismissive and condescending when speaking to Drew Brees and Peyton Manning in a CBA session last week. Feely says Richardson said "do I need to help you read a revenue chart son? " when talking to Manning before adding "do I need to help break that down because I don't know if you know how to read that?" If the league's owners are treating even the most visible and respected players this poorly, there's no telling how bad things might get this offseason.
THE Saints brought in veteran defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who carries a lot of baggage, for a visit on Wednesday night. He is eligible to sign with any NFL team until March 4 because Cleveland released him prior to the end of the NFL season. The 6-foot-4, 350-pound Rogers turns 32 on March 12 and is a definite run stopper in the middle of any defense. The Browns released the three-time Pro Bowler because of a bad attitude and unwillingness to practice. Rogers is a risk. He was fined $405,882 for violating the personal conduct policy in 2010 after being arrested for carrying a gun in an airport. As a member of the Lions in 2006, Rogers was suspended for four games for violation of the league's steroid and related substance policy...Ever wonder why New Orleans is a football city? The Hornets have lost eight of their last 10 games under new coach Monty Williams, LSU has dropped eight in a row under third year coach Troy Johnson and Tulane under new coach Ed Conroy has lost 10 straight...