Stern endorsed Silver for the job on Saturday, calling the deputy commissioner and 20-year employee of the NBA a “first-rate, top of the class executive.”
“I guess I would say that one of the things that a good CEO does, and I try to be a good CEO, is provide his board with a spectacular choice for its successor, and I think I’ve done that, and that’s Adam,” Stern said, with Silver sitting at a table to his right.
“That’s ultimately, if I had the decision, if I were doing it myself, he would be the commissioner.”
However, Stern said the choice would be left to the owners, and he’s given them no indication when they will have to make it.
Stern committed to a minimum of five more years on the job after the previous collective bargaining agreement was ratified in 2005.
He said he’s told them nothing now, though he said the discussion would come “very soon.”
He repeated what he’s said previously about not being around to handle the next round of negotiations, which could be in 2017 if either side exercises its right to opt out of the 10-year deal.
“I’m not going to be here when it either is or isn’t reopened in six years,” he said.
Silver was already the lead negotiator during the recent labor talks, leading owners through a five-month lockout to a new deal in which they saved about $280 million a year in player salary costs.
• Stern said the league is in discussions with one unnamed group, with another sitting behind, for the sale of the Hornets. He is optimistic a deal can get done in a week to 10 days.
• Stern doesn’t see expanding beyond 30 teams in North America, but neither he nor Silver would rule out overseas in the next decade.
• Silver said the league is working to schedule games in London next season, after this season’s games at the O2Arena had to be scrapped because of the condensed schedule.
• Silver said the league is in discussions about playing preseason games next season in China, perhaps in Shanghai, where former Houston All-Star Yao Ming owns the Chinese Basketball Association team.