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News » NBA boss empathizes Jazz luxury tax

NBA boss empathizes Jazz luxury tax

NBA boss empathizes Jazz luxury tax LONDON ? David Stern accepts the fact the Jazz are facing roughly $12 million in tax assessments for exceeding the NBA's team payroll luxury-tax threshold, the league commissioner told two reporters from Utah on Tuesday in London. He also knows why they're in the predicament ? pointing, without naming names, to the Jazz's decision to match the four-year, $32 million offer sheet that restricted free agent power forward Paul Millsap signed with Portland last July.

"If you're a small-market team and someone decides they're gonna try to poach, you do what you have to do to protect it," Stern said before the Jazz's preseason loss to Chicago at O2 Arena here. "And that's the statement that was made." The Jazz decided to make good on their vow to retain Millsap, even though it pushed their payroll to the $82 million rage ? well beyond the NBA's limit before a dollar-for-dollar excessive-spending tax is levied. Stern went on to praise the Jazz's evolution in ownership and day-to-day operational control from late owner Larry H. Miller to widow Gail Miller, eldest son Greg Miller and the rest of the Miller family. "Seamless is an overused word," the commissioner said, "but the transition has been seamless ? because Larry was a person who gathered his family around him and shared with them what it was that he wanted." Stern also answered "none at all" ? twice, in fact ? but did not expound when asked if he had any concerns about Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer openly lobbying to be traded to other teams, including Chicago. That is despite the fact Golden State's Stephen Jackson was fined $25,000 just last month for saying he wanted to be traded. Stern addressed several other subjects during an earlier news conference Tuesday that was attended by mostly international media, among them: The status of negotiations with locked-out NBA referees, embroiled in a contract dispute with the league: "As far as I know, there have been no further conversations with the union. It is our hope and expectation there will be ? We know, we hope ? but I think we know ? that we will eventually make a deal. That is indeed our hope, but right now, we are not discussing anything with the union. But they know how to reach us." Plans to play a regular-season game at O2 sometime before London hosts the 2012 Summer Olympics: "We hope to do it ? We're running out of runway, but we will likely do it ? It is going to be either 2010 or 2011." How the NBA is being impacted by the current world economic credit crunch: "Actually, we've been remarkably unaffected by it. Our attendance will be strong, again, this year. Our television ratings have been up for two years and likely will go up. Our revenues will decline slightly because our teams have responded to our fans by either freezing ticket prices and lowering them ? somewhere between 2 and 5 percent ? We feel pretty good about our place in this difficult time." Michael Jordan's much-criticized Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Fame speech: "What I took from Michael was that he needs to feed off perceived disrespecting. He looks for the motivation ? not uncommon in our league. And I think that is what drove him to probably be the greatest competitor in the history of our game, and he put some of that on display for us, and he knowingly did it ? It was an interesting insight into how one great athlete in the history of the world probably uses perceived slights, real or imagined." During his news conference with reporters from across Europe and elsewhere, Stern also addressed a question about his future expectations for the Jazz . "I'm fascinated by Utah," he said. "They always make the playoffs, with rare exception, and they keep getting stronger ... I think you are going to see a disciplined team with a lot of bulk up front, most of it having been contributed by Europe (European Basketball has included Turkish center Mehmet Okur, Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko and Ukrainian center Kyrylo Fesenko). "You always expect Utah to do well," Stern added, "and Deron Williams is one of the point guards of the future." e-mail:

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 8, 2009


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