DALLAS — Decrying the state of amateur basketball, saying colleges and his league "are the last people to get to these kids," NBA Commissioner David Stern said league officials are discussing ways to help reform the system.
"It just strikes us that there is something out of whack that these world-class athletes get exploited and exposed all the way up," he said Friday.
"I mean, it's a whole industry and we read the magazines so everyone else knows who those kids are. They are out there doing things for them, giving them things, traveling them, doing all kinds of things."
Stern was concerned about schools that concentrate on athletes without an emphasis on education. The NCAA has compiled a list of schools it won't accept transcripts from any longer.
"We have just begun the dialogue about whether, in fact, we should try to support academies or schools or something," Stern said.
"It historically has not been the place for a professional league to do it but on the basis of the consistent failures of everyone else to do it, we are at least thinking about it and we'll be getting some dialogue with some interested parties to see if there's something that could be done here."
Stern also said he hopes the Trail Blazers will remain in Portland, whether or not they're sold.
Team owner Paul Allen has been at odds with Portland Arena Management, which runs the Rose Garden, over the division of revenue. However, last week they announced they will unite in an effort to sell the team and the arena.
Mighty Ducks owner Henry Samueli is exploring the possibility of buying the Trail Blazers and moving them to the Pond. However, a league source says Stern values the Portland market and would prefer a sale to one of two Portland groups that have expressed interest.
"I'm encouraged and believe that there will be a team in Portland in the future of the NBA," Stern said.
"I think that we've got two parties that just seem to be willing to take a complementary good faith step to see whether we can't start a series of events that would cause the ownership situation there to be clarified and the team to stay in Portland."
-- Mark Heisler
Game 1 of the NBA Finals, televised by ABC, drew a 7.8 national rating and a 12.1 L.A. rating.
Nationally, the game was seen in 8,561,000 homes.
Last year, Game 1 of the NBA Finals between Detroit and San Antonio got a 7.2 national rating and was seen in 7,862,000 homes.
-- Larry Stewart
A Phoenix Suns fan who got into an altercation with the wife of Mavericks Coach Avery Johnson in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals is no longer pursuing charges.
Rebecca Kettle filed a criminal assault complaint against Cassandra Johnson, saying she was hit on the shoulder during an argument May 30.
She and her boyfriend, Jose Martinez, said in a statement that they were dropping the case.
The Suns said Kettle and Martinez will be their guests at any playoff games next season.