David Stern answers questions about lockout, contraction of New Orleans

NBA commissioner David Stern attends an NBA preseason game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the New York Knicks in Paris on October 6, 2010. The Timberwolves won the contest, part of the annual NBA Europe Live tour, by the score of 106-100. UPI/David Silpa

David Stern visited Bill Simmons’ podcast on Monday and discussed a wide-ranging set of issues, including a potential lockout and the possibility that the Hornets are contracted.

Whether the NBA will try to prevent locked-out players such as Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki, while still under contract to their NBA teams, from playing abroad during a potential work stoppage

“If, in fact, there’s a lockout, then the player is free during the course of the lockout to do what he wants to do if his contract is in effect. I don’t want to play that game with anybody. … If we have a collective bargaining arrangement with the union and there’s a lockout, then last time around [in 1998] players were free to do what they’re going to do, because they’ve been locked out.”

Conspiracy theories suggesting that one of the league’s motivations in buying the Hornets was to give itself the ability to easily contract one team for leverage in upcoming labor negotiations

“Well, I guess all I would say to that is that wouldn’t be a conspiracy. I know that there are some owners who might share that view. … Anything that we do gets done by a majority of the owners. All you’re stating is a potential third option. But right now we are steaming full speed ahead with every single possible [intent] to make that team successful in New Orleans, and I think we’re going to succeed. So we’re going to make it unattractive to move it or contract it.”

Click here to listen to the entire podcast.

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