This is going to take some parsing, so let’s just dive straight into the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s news story first:
The Milwaukee Bucks have told NBA Commissioner David Stern that when the team’s lease at the BMO Harris Bradley Center expires in 2017 the franchise will have a plan that includes a new arena.
Stern made that clear Friday in a teleconference with reporters in advance of the NBA’s playoffs.
Asked whether the NBA had imposed a hard deadline of 2017 to have a new arena in place in Milwaukee, Stern said: “The Bucks came to us and said we will have a plan that will have a new arena at the end of this extension of this lease. ‘And will you please give us an extension and approve it?’ And we did. That’s the current state of the record.”
Okay, now let’s back up and play What’s The Actual Story Here? The Bucks have negotiated a lease extension to stay put through 2017 — actually, they agreed to that last fall — and they told the NBA commissioner about it. And They said they want a new arena after that. And the commissioner said that’s all cool.
The message here, as usual, is the subtext: By asking permission from the NBA to sign the lease extension that he already signed, Bucks owner Herb Kohl sends the signal that the NBA isn’t going to keep putting up with this ancient 25-year-old arena no way no how. This works even when Stern himself ducks questions about whether the NBA is ordering the Bucks to get a new arena built, since then you can read into his nonresponsiveness anything you want, right?