NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is about to celebrate his 10th anniversary in office. It won’t be his last.
Silver is finalizing an extension to remain NBA commissioner for several more years, a person with knowledge of the deal said Saturday evening. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no league announcement had been made.
CBC Sports has not independently verified the Associated Press report.
ESPN, which was first to report the deal, said Silver’s new deal would extend “through the end of the decade.” This is the second time the league’s owners have approved an extension for Silver, who also got one in June 2018 that put him under contract through the end of that season’s NBA Finals.
Silver became commissioner on February 1, 2014, officially succeeding former commissioner David Stern – his mentor. This move was years in the making; Stern officially announced his retirement more than a year earlier, and the Board of Governors unanimously approved the plan to hand over the role to Silver, the longtime deputy commissioner.
“He was a great leader who built on David’s legacy and really made us a major multinational organization,” said Mark Cuban, who until recently was the principal owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
Silver also led the league in discussions over what became a nine-year, $24 billion U.S. media rights deal with ESPN and Turner Sports – which sent revenues skyrocketing (by about 4.8 billion in its first season to around $13 billion this season) and, in turn, serving as a catalyst to skyrocket player salaries as well. The league is currently negotiating its next media deal, which is generally expected to be worth more than the existing deal. And once the media rights deal closes, the NBA is expected to consider expansion.
“The NBA makes money”
“All salaries are going up. The NBA is making money. So, he’s done a phenomenal job,” Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Saturday night. “I’m happy. He can stay as long as he wants as long as I’m here. He’s been great.”
The value of franchises has also skyrocketed; the average price of an NBA team was about $510 million when Silver took office, and now the average value is almost $4 billion. The highest salary in the league when Silver became commissioner was Kobe Bryant, around $30 million; it’s now Stephen Curry who is making around $52 million this season.
“The scope of the NBA is vast, although in many ways we are only scratching the surface in terms of our international growth,” Silver wrote in an essay for AP to commemorate the league’s 75th anniversary in 2022.
Silver, 61, graduated from Duke and, like Stern, left the legal field to join the NBA. He joined the league as a special assistant to Stern — “he read everything I asked him to read,” Stern said in 2014 — before becoming the league’s chief of staff, running NBA Entertainment for about a decade, then becoming deputy commissioner in 2006.
Silver is the league’s fifth commissioner, preceded by Stern, Larry O’Brien, J. Walter Kennedy and Maurice Podoloff.