The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks may have one of the NBA's best burgeoning rivalries, but the league office has found one thing the two battling sides can agree on—the split of hosting duties for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 25
From Bleacher Report's Howard Beck:
---End of Update---
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported earlier Tuesday that a press conference has been scheduled in New York City on Wednesday, where the league will announce the cooperative endeavor.
SportsCenter provided additional details:
Although the NBA was slow to make the initial announcement, its plans to make New York a central hub for the mid-winter festivities has been known for months. The subject was first broached last February during the All-Star Weekend in Houston.
Commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver addressed the possibility with the New York Post in August, per Tim Bontemps.
“There is progress in that the teams are working together…recognizing that it’s in both of their interests to create a basketball festival-type atmosphere around All-Star in New York, and so things are going well,” Silver said.
At the time, there was still uncertainty about which arena would host the actual game. The Knicks are currently stationed in the hallowed Madison Square Garden, and the Nets opened the $1 billion Barclays Center in Brooklyn this past season.
In the end, the Knicks won out. A source close to the situation told Fred Kerber of the New York Post that the Garden would host the All-Star Game itself, with the Barclays Center getting the Saturday night festivities, which include the three-point competition and dunk contest.
In August, Silver seemed bullish that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Knicks owner Jim Dolan would get over the initial squabble and do what's best for the league:
On a business level the teams get along very well. From Mikhail Prokhorov and Jim Dolan and then on the business side…the nature of the sport is that the teams are highly competitive, and you want them to be, but they both recognize, too, that they’re partners in the league and this is something that is positive for both teams.”
New York City has not hosted an All-Star Game since 1998, though it is still tied with Boston and Philadelphia for the most all time (four). The nation's most populous city first hosted the All-Star Game in 1954, the NBA's fourth in history.
Kerber's report also notes that the NBA may be trying to make the split weekend a more regular thing. The Nets and Barclays are currently discussing a proposal to flip the arrangements—with the Knicks hosting Saturday night and Brooklyn on Sunday—in either 2017 or 2018.
What's more, New York City won't be the only major metropolitan area celebrating its fortunes. Sources confirmed to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that Toronto will play host to the 2016 All-Star Game, which would allow the league to celebrate the Raptors' 20th anniversary.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke, who oversees the company's sports properties, which include the Raptors, made the franchise's intentions known in May.
“Clearly the 2016 All-Star Game is a flag in the sand that we planted with the NBA," Leiweke said. "It is a must-have in my opinion and it will be the centerpiece of how we rebrand this."
There is no word at this time whether the NBA will be making both announcements Wednesday, or just the one regarding New York City. Wolstat's report indicated that the league was expected to officially announce Toronto as the 2016 host city within a week.
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