David Stern reflects on league at final All-Star appearance

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David Stern reflects on league at final All-Star appearance

HOUSTON In what was his final all-star game press conference Saturday night, NBA commissioner David Stern balanced it with both reflection on the past along with his vision for the league's future which will be led by deputy commissioner Adam Silver.

Stern has already announced that he plans to step down as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, with Silver replacing him.

Of the 37 all-star games Stern has attended as commissioner, he said his fondest memory was the 1992 all-star game in which Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson was named MVP.

Johnson retired in 1991 after he tested positive for the HIV-virus, only to return the following season and win his second all-star game MVP trophy (the previous time was in 1990).

"Giving sweaty Magic Johnson a big hug right after he hit the last three and still being able to hug him because he's alive every time I see him, that is at the top of the list," Stern said. "And it will not easily be dislodged."

Stern added, "although I do enjoy every all-star, that one will resonate for the rest of my life."

Stern addressed a number of issues on Saturday, but none seemed to garner more interest than the expected move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.

"That's moving along," Stern said. "We fully expect to have that process completed for a report to the Board of Governors at its April 18 meeting."

However, Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson isn't ready to concede the Kings are gone just yet.

"We have been advised by Mayor Johnson of Sacramento, parenthetically - who we have not met with and who we have no plans to meet with here - that Sacramento will be delivering to us a competitive bid to the one we've received from Seattle. That will include the construction of a new building with a significant subsidy from the city of Sacramento and other things that would bring the region together to support the team.

Stern added that the Sacramento application is expected to be in the league's hands "well before" March 1.

Other topics of discussion by Stern on Saturday included:

2015 all-star game

There are currently two applications in for the 2015 NBA all-star game: One from the Brooklyn Nets, the other from the New York Knicks.

"I really think Commissioner Silver is going to have a great time with those applications," said Stern. "I really do, and I asked him to send me a postcard to tell me how they go."

When asked if it was likely that the 2015 all-star game would be one of those two venues, Silver replied, "yes."

The 2014 all-star game will be played in New Orleans.

D-League with 30 teams

"Ultimately we'd like to have a 30-team league, and we do envision a one-to-one relationship between every NBA team and a single D-League affiliate," Silver said. "We think it's the second-best basketball in the world after the NBA."

The NBA players union firing executive director Billy Hunter on Saturday

"I don't have any comment on the Players' Association situation other than we know as much as you do and nothing more," Stern said. "We've seen Derrick Fisher's statements, and we await notification from the union as to who we should be dealing with, because it has been a principle of faith for us that we will deal with whomever the union tells us to deal with. That's what we do, and it remains the same."

Kelly Olynyk talks about his shoulder injury; improving his consistency

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Kelly Olynyk talks about his shoulder injury; improving his consistency

Celtics forward/center Kelly Olynyk sits down with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine on Media Day to talk about how the recovery from his shoulder injury is progressing and becoming more consistent this season.

Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely then discuss whether this is a make or break year for Olynyk, who will be a restricted free-agent at the end of the season.

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
 
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
 
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
 
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
 
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told CSNNE.com on Wednesday.
 
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
 
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
 
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
 
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
 
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
 
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
 
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told CSNNE.com that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
 
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
 
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
 
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
 
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”