The National Basketball Association's Board of Governors, comprising the owners or representatives for the 23 NBA teams, has given Commissioner David Stern permission to accept applications for expansion franchises. The action was taken on the final day of the league's annual meetings.
Before the meetings, the league held discussions with groups from nine cities -- Kansas City, Mo.; Toronto; Tampa, Fla.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Miami; Minneapolis; Anaheim, Calif.; Santa Ana, Calif., and St. Louis -- regarding the possibility of being granted NBA franchises. Now, formal applications, which cost $100,000, can be made.
The league will process each one and discuss them at the next league meetings, in September 1986. Although Stern said that "if everything were to go perfectly," it might be possible for a team to be approved for play for the 1986-87 season, such a scenario is highly unlikely.
"That's because we want any team entering the league to be able to be profitable," he said. "We don't want anyone entering the league with the idea of losing money."
That the league is in an upward swing was reflected in this gathering and its lack of news, let alone anything remotely controversial. Last season in Salt Lake City, the Board of Governors, in a snit over the possibility of teams' throwing games to improve their draft position, overruled a recommendation of patience by the league's rules and competition committee and instituted the lottery for draft position.
This year, faced with the idea that teams might have been less than diligent in their pursuit of victories late in the just-completed season, the board voted to appoint a committee next fall to look into ways to amend the system.
There were some minor considerations dealt with by the board, among them the passage of legislation limiting the number of local games that could be televised by superstations, like WOR in New York and WGN in Chicago, to 25, down from 41. WTBS in Atlanta, said Stern, was exempt from the ruling because of its contract with the league to broadcast games nationwide.
Also, the league adopted a third tie breaker to determine the home-court advantage for the championship series. After the best overall record and record in head-to-head competition, the next criterion will be interconference record.