Stern: N.J. can blame itself for Nets' move

Associated Press
Published April 29, 2005

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - NBA commissioner David Stern blames New Jersey politicians for the Nets' planned move to Brooklyn in either 2007 or 2008.

"New Jersey blew it," Stern said Thursday of the proposed move. Speaking during an informal news conference before the Nets played the Miami Heat in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Thursday night, he added: "We practically begged them, and the New Jersey politicians did not step up."

Stern conceded that political leaders did not want state taxpayers saddled with the debt of a new arena.

"That's a fair retort, but you have to make your choice," Stern said.

About five years ago, former Nets owner Ray Chambers wanted to build an arena in Newark to house both the Nets and Devils of the NHL. The proposal was hampered by weak public support, opposition from suburban lawmakers and problematic financing.

Chambers and his partners with the YankeeNets sports conglomerate eventually sold the Nets to real-estate developer Bruce Ratner. He has announced plans to move the team to an arena he plans to build in downtown Brooklyn.

Jeff Vanderbeek, the new owner of the Devils, recently reached an agreement with Newark officials to build a $310-million, 18,000-seat arena for his team. The building is scheduled to open in September 2007.

The Nets and Devils play at aging Continental Airlines Arena in the Meadowlands sports complex.

HORNETS: League executive Paul Mott was hired as the team's new president, the latest of several top front-office changes. Mott was the senior director of team marketing and business for the league.