Arguments for and against the move of the San Diego franchise, a high-profile introduction of the league's new special labor negotiator and a minor trade marked this opening day of the Board of Governors session of the National Basketball Association meeting at Hotel Del Coronado.
A committee vote is scheduled Tuesday, for submission to the governors, on owner Donald Sterling's projected transfer of the Clippers.
The eight-owner financial/advisory committee--Los Angeles' Jerry Buss absented himself, claiming he would "do whatever the league recommends"--heard from Sterling and factions hoping to save the franchise.
Sterling had no comment before the committee reconvened for a late-night session. He was represented by Howard Daniels, attorney for the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, into whose arena he proposes to move.
"There were 15 poker faces in there," Daniels said. "The real game is tomorrow."
Peter Graham, general manager of the San Diego Sports Arena, announced he had filed a claim in excess of $17 million against Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, citing inducement to Sterling to break his lease. The civic group announced it had found a serious buyer for the franchise; Sterling has not publicly announced his intention to sell but has made its availability known.
The owners' labor negotiator, Joseph Barbash, was introduced with impressive negotiating credentials by NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien, who said the appointment "underscored a certain firmness" in the league's attitude toward upcoming collective bargaining. In fact, Barbash will be the owners' collective mouthpiece.
The player trade sent Phoenix center Rich Kelley to Denver for the Nuggets' first-round draft pick, 15th overall, next week.