Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, has reversed his position of a week ago and now opposes the proposed move of the San Diego Clippers to the Los Angeles Sports Arena, a spokesman said.
In other news on the eve of the NBA meetings, Buck Williams of the New Jersey Nets said the league has told him he will be named rookie of the year, and the general manager of the Houston Rockets said that 6-foot-11 center Moses Malone will be named Wednesday as the league's most valuable player.
Williams, a 6-8, 215-pound forward who joined the NBA after his junior year at Maryland, said he couldn't believe he had been selected rookie of the year. "It still hasn't sunk in," he told The New York Times. "It's such an honor."
Of Malone's selection as MVP, Ray Patterson, general manager of the Rockets, said, "Malone's going to be honored tomorrow (Wednesday) out in San Diego. He's on the plane right now." Malone, the league's rebounding leader with a 14.7 average, was second in scoring with an average of 31.1 points per game.
Regarding the proposed move by the Clippers, a spokesman for Buss, Bob Steiner, said that Buss' first priority is to avoid having another team in Los Angeles and that he now plans to oppose the move.
Steiner, who made his comments in an interview with the San Diego Union that was published today, did not give a reason for Buss' reversal.
Buss said last week that he would "welcome the competition" and would not stand in the way of owner Don Sterling's desire to move his team to Los Angeles.
Under NBA by-laws, relocation of a franchise must be approved by 18 of the Board of Governors' 23 members. Sterling's proposed move is on the agenda for the league meeting, Wednesday through June 24, in Coronado, Calif.
During those meetings, Williams is expected to officially be honored as rookie of the year. He is the only member of the Nets who started in all 82 regular-season games, averaging 12.3 rebounds per game and finishing third in the league behind Malone and Seattle's Jack Sikma. He broke club records for rebounds in a season (1,005) and field-goal percentage (58.2).