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NBA to Goodman: No dice

Thanks to NBA commissioner David Stern, the taxpayers of Las Vegas probably saved themselves a couple of thousand dollars.

With the league’s Board of Governors scheduled to meet in New York on April 20 to discuss Mayor Oscar Goodman’s proposal on a Las Vegas franchise as it pertains to betting, Stern made it clear the mayor can stay home and spare his constituents the expense of sending him to Manhattan.

When asked Wednesday during a conference call with reporters whether he had invited Goodman to address the owners as it pertains to the mayor’s two-page proposal, Stern said, “No.” Stern also said no to whether he intends to ask Goodman to come to New York, then added that it’s his call to come only if he is invited and there is no invitation being extended at this time.

“I think that the letter and our relationship are self-explanatory,” Stern said.

At his weekly news conference at City Hall on Thursday, Goodman was not offended by the snub.

“Of course I’d like to be at the meeting,” Goodman said. “But it’s his meeting. It’s not my meeting. The good news is it’s on their agenda and it will be discussed among the owners whether or not there’ll be a team in Las Vegas under the conditions I outlined.”

Goodman’s proposal, dated April 3 and received by the NBA April 5, basically said the city would not stray from the status quo and ask sports books to take league games off the betting boards. It also didn’t offer any compromises, such as having a Las Vegas team taken off the board while allowing the rest of the league to maintain its presence in the books.

When asked whether he had any thoughts about Goodman’s proposal, Stern said, “I can’t say we’ve convened a study group. There was a rather forthright and direct letter and we’re planning to include that letter when we send out the agenda and backup material to the board, and I will put it on the agenda for the meeting.

“I’d really rather be in a position to discuss that with my owners and make my recommendations for the first time to the owners. That’s a nice way of saying I’m not going to discuss it at this point other than to say I’m always appreciative of communication with the mayor, the (Clark) county commissioner (Rory Reid) and from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.”

Goodman said he understands Stern’s position on the gambling issue and he hopes the commissioner understands his.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a starting point. That’s the way my proposal was written,” Goodman said. “I’m hoping it will lead to further dialogue.”

Goodman said discussions on a downtown arena, a critical element for a possible NBA franchise, are picking up. He has been meeting with potential investors the past couple of weeks and said requests for proposals on the arena will go out April 20 with a response due within 90 days.

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