Adam Silver will replace David Stern as NBA commissioner in February, and when he said recently that the Bradley Center in Milwaukee was “unfit for the NBA,” many saw it as a veiled threat that the Bucks would be opened for discussions of relocation if plans for a state-of-the-art facility weren’t in the works in the very near future.
Silver didn’t discuss the arena in a recent interview with Jim Paschke of Bucks.com, which can be viewed here in its entirety. But he did give a vote of confidence of sorts to the NBA’s desire to keep its partnership with Milwaukee alive for the foreseeable future.
“It’s critical to us that the team remains here and remains successful here,” Silver said.
Silver said he was pleased the Bucks’ front office was focused on the future. Asked if small-market Milwaukee can be a successful franchise, Silver pointed to other successful and smaller NBA cities: San Antonio, Memphis and Oklahoma City. Franchises can be successful when they are well managed and have the right culture, Silver said.
Silver did not go into detail about the league’s desire to get a new arena in Milwaukee, but said such buildings must create an environment that attracts people. He likened arenas to town halls and referred to them as the “center of the community.”
With the NBA wanting to keep its franchise in Milwaukee, an arena deal will in all likelihood get done there in the next few years. If the city were to put up some kind of fight, however, then Silver would have no choice but to backtrack on these comments, and open up to the possibility of moving the franchise to a more lucrative market.
But as we saw over the past couple of years in Sacramento, that’s an extremely complicated process, and it’s probably one that the league wants to avoid if at all possible.