Stern on board with solidifying Wolves' future

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 6, 2013 - 11:45 PM

The NBA commissioner will meet with city officials about significant arena upgrades.

hide

NBA commissioner David Stern.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

David Stern came to Minneapolis Wednesday likely for his final time as NBA commissioner. On the two-day visit, he will meet Thursday with Mayor R.T. Rybak about a $100 million-plus Target Center refurbishment he said will bring the arena "into the 21st century" and ensure the Timberwolves' presence in Minnesota long after owner Glen Taylor sells the team.

The city, team and arena management company AEG Facilities remain in negotiations to finalize details of how much and who pays for what in a project approved as part of the Vikings stadium bill.

Stern compared the refurbishment to updates done over time to Detroit's Palace at Auburn Hills, Phoenix's U.S. Airways Arena and New York City's Madison Square Garden that have kept those arenas viable while the Sacramento Kings' owners recently submitted to the NBA an agreement to sell their franchise to a Seattle group after the California city failed to finalize a new arena.

"I don't think fans have to worry about that at all," Stern said when asked about the Timberwolves' long-term future in Minnesota.

Taylor has prepared the Wolves for sale, a process he once hoped would be completed before this season but now has an indefinite timetable. He has said he'd like to sell minority interest in the team as part of a multi-year plan for him to eventually sell all or most of it.

Stern said he is "pretty involved" in that process which says Taylor is pursuing in a "very thoughtful and prudent way."

"I think eventually it will happen," Stern said. "Glen is not what you'd call an anxious seller. Sometimes I think he may have seller's remorse even though he hasn't sold it because he loves the team and he loves what it does for the community."

Stern will retire next February, 30 years after he was promoted to league commissioner.

In that time, the NBA has grown from an afterthought of a pro sports league that previously had trouble getting its championship series broadcast in prime time into a tremendous international money-maker.

In that time, Stern has severely punished Taylor and the Wolves for their illegal signing of free-agent Joe Smith in 1999 and in recent years has embraced Taylor as one of his most trusted owners who just recently completed a term as chairman of the NBA's Board of Governors.

"The team did what it did at that time and I did what I had to do as commissioner," said Stern, who ultimately heavily fined the team, suspended Taylor and executive Kevin McHale and stripped away three first-round draft picks. "But that didn't stop me from respecting Glen as a businessman and as a person, and I'd say we have become very good friends and work closely together. I have enormous respect not only for his business acumen, but for his very, very serious concern for this team and its future in the Twin Cities.

"He wants it to stay here and all discussions of sale revolve around finding the person or persons who will commit to keep it a first-class franchise in the Twin Cities."

Stern spoke at a media gathering on a number of other topics, including:

• The possibility of the NBA All-Star Game returning to Target Center for the first time since 1994: He said Target Center isn't "currently configured" for that, but "after the refurbishment, I'll tell (incoming commissioner) Adam Silver that he definitely should open the envelope on the Minnesota All-Star bid application."

• The Sacramento-Seattle situation: He said the NBA has received a signed agreement for the Kings to be sold to a group that will move them to Seattle. The league will consider that agreement at its Board of Governors meeting in April, when it also could receive an offer from a Sacramento group offering to keep the team there in a new city-subsidized arena.

• Testing for human-growth hormone: Stern said it could begin, with the players association's approval, by next season.

• Corporate logos on players' uniforms: Stern said that day is coming even if he doesn't like the idea, but it won't come this season or next before he retires. "When it does happen, I would like you to send me a postcard because I really want to keep track of it," he said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close