NBA Commissioner David Stern said last night the league has no plans for expansion, but the New Orleans Hornets' success in their new home has made Oklahoma City the favorite location if a team were to relocate.
"I can say without reservation that Oklahoma City is now at the top of the list," Stern said before the Hornets' game against the Magic.
Stern said the team's transition from New Orleans to Oklahoma City has gone smoother than expected and the team ranks sixth in the league in season ticket sales.
The Hornets will play 35 home games in Oklahoma City and six at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. If New Orleans Arena is ready for use by March, three of the games could be moved there from Baton Rouge.
Stern said he didn't know whether doing so would require the Hornets to play in New Orleans next season, because of the team's arena contract with the city.
The team has an option to play a second season in Oklahoma City.
* FRANK FINED: Nets Coach Lawrence Frank was fined $25,000 for failing to leave the court in a timely matter after Monday's loss at Miami and was also cited for verbal abuse of a game official.
* NOWITZKI LEAVES GAME: F Dirk Nowitzki left Dallas's game against the 76ers after straining his back.
Nowitzki grimaced as left the court late in the second quarter and soon after went for treatment in the locker room. He did not return.
* LEWIS HURT: Sonics F Rashard Lewis injured his left shoulder in the first quarter against Cleveland when he ran into teammate Vitaly Potapenko.
Lewis suffered a slippage of the joint in his shoulder and did not return.
* SPURS INJURIES: San Antonio Gs Michael Finley (groin) and Brent Barry (back) both missed last night's game against the Bobcats with injuries.
* BACK IN BOSTON: Hall of Fame C Robert Parish was hired as a consultant by the Celtics, whom the 7-footer helped to three NBA titles in the '80s.
-- From News Services