Bucks.com sat down with Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver who is set to take over as commissioner when David Stern steps down in February. The interview comes days after a report indicated Silver told sponsors at a private event that Milwaukee "needs" to build a new arena to replace the Bradley Center.
In the video interview, Silver made it clear how much the league supports Milwaukee as an NBA town.
Milwaukee's important (to the NBA) because it speaks 'America,'" Silver said. "It's heartland of America. It's a community where the NBA has had a 45-year tradition. It's a community that's always strongly supported the NBA, and it's part of our footprint, and it's part of our heritage. It's critical to us that the team remain here and remain successful."
Silver also spoke to the importance of arenas, though, as more than just a venue for teams.
"They're a town hall. It's the center of a community," Silver said while expounding on the value a building (without saying a new one, you know that's what he meant) can bring to a city in the form of constant use in a central location, contrasting it with football arenas. He even mentioned the circus.
It was a good job by Silver of laying out how the town is a priority, and he praised Bucks owner Senator Kohl right up front. In the wake of Silver's comments, there was a rush to believe the NBA would giftwrap the Bucks for Seattle. The reality is that the league will remain reactive to changing economic trends and capitalize on whatever opportunities they're presented with. They'll give Milwaukee the chance to get a new building up to raise the franchise value. There's no conspiracy.
But those that say that Seattle will be used as the extortion weapon to deal with racalcitrant civic communities... that's probably not far off. The league will walk softly, but it's also found its big stick. For the time being, though, Silver comes off as a future commissioner who genuinely cares about all 30 markets, and that's a good start to his PR tour.