Stern’s stance hasn’t changed.
“To me, it is the soap opera our fans turn in for — the drama on the court and the drama off the court,” Stern said, according to the newspaper. “When we cease to have a story popping up, we probably won’t exist.
“I think what it is, is that that’s the way we are. That’s the way it has been in baseball and the NFL and hockey and basketball. And frankly, it engages our fans, it engages our reporters, it engages our bloggers. It makes people happy, mad, sad. It’s just the life in sports.”
Stern did, however, also gently rebuke Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan. Stern insinuated that Fegan leaked details about Wednesday’s meeting between Howard and Magic general manager Rob Hennigan and assistant general manager Scott Perry.
Speaking about the Howard drama, Stern said, “It’s very unique, especially if it’s driven by a quote source that happens to be Dwight’s agent. ‘A source in the meeting.’ Oh, OK, who might that be?”
Stern always has taken a kind of laissez-faire approach to the situation between Howard and the Magic.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Orlando Sentinel in January, the NBA commissioner essentially said fans should try to look at teams’ player-personnel issues with a long-range perspective.
“We’ve had players depart franchises from time immemorial,” Stern said then.
“I remember there was this other large person, now a television commentator, that once left. And I think that I saw Orlando blossom and thrive and build a new arena. So I think this is not a life-threatening event when players move. It depends upon who replaces them and how the community rallies around them.”