When NBA commissioner Adam Silver was asked by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith whether the league had an agreement with ESPN to broadcast NBA games on ESPN, Silver said yes.
Silver did not elaborate on what exactly was in the contract.
It was a long, tense exchange in a week of NBA news that included the league and Silver’s own public comments on the matter.
ESPN and Silver had a tumultuous relationship.
Silver said he was “not surprised” by Smith’s comments.
ESPN, which is owned by Disney, has been critical of Silver, and he has been criticized for the way he handled the situation.
He did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
The two sides have been trying to work out a deal since July and it has been expected to be finalized soon.
Silver also said he does not want to “change the nature of the game,” and that the league wants to continue to play games.
ESPN has said it would prefer the league remain on its broadcast platform because of its global reach and because it is a part of ESPN’s business.
Silver has made no secret of his dislike of the NBA’s new owners.
But he also made clear during a radio interview last month that he does respect the league’s decision to go on the air.
He said he believed that “the only thing more important to the NBA is the success of our basketball program.”
The NBA and Silver have been feuding for years over the league using its broadcast rights to sell advertising and merchandise.
That is a big part of why Silver has been trying so hard to get the league to switch to digital platforms like Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android.
But the NBA has not agreed to do that.
ESPN’s NBA Digital team is trying to resolve the dispute and has hired a legal team to work through the issues.
In an effort to find a solution, the league is trying out several options, including renegotiating the contracts of Silver and league CEO Brian Windhorst.
A source familiar with the situation said Silver is willing to agree to pay a “substantial amount” of money to keep the NBA on its platform.