Commissioner David Stern (right, flanked by deputy commissioner Adam Silver) retired Saturday after exactly 30 years as the NBA’s big cheese. | AP
Updated: March 3, 2014 5:31PM
NEW ORLEANS — David Stern’s reign as NBA commissioner has ended, and his legacy is that of a man who forever changed the league — and for the better.
He was stubborn and ruthless at times, but Stern is the gold standard in how to run a professional sports league. Roger Goodell and Bud Selig, take notes.
Around the NBA
The most powerful agent this offseason? Carmelo’s wife, La La Anthony.
◆ Poor Luol Deng. He’s playing for a coach who still doesn’t know how to use him and with a point guard who still doesn’t understand team basketball.
◆ Best basketball player in the world? LeBron James. MVP of the league? Kevin Durant.
◆ The Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau won’t win Coach of the Year this season, but he deserves it.
◆ If Thibodeau were coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers, they would be a 30-win team looking at the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and would be a playoff threat to both the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.
◆ It’s hard to take the NBA All-Star Game seriously when the Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Johnson is on a roster.
◆ Those who feel Derrick Rose shouldn’t play for USA Basketball this summer even if he’s cleared are the same people who voted Johnson into the All-Star Game.
◆ Remember when Oklahoma City Thunder enforcer Kendrick Perkins all but asked Joakim Noah to leave the Thunder locker room last month? His teammates should do the same to Perkins and his diminishing skills.
Player of the week
Kevin Durant, Thunder forward. Durant put up 74 combined points against two Eastern Conference playoff teams last week, and that included 33 in a 112-95 blowout win against the two-time defending champion Heat in Miami.
Team of the week
Thunder. Russell who? Even with All-Star guard Russell Westbrook sidelined, the Thunder keeps winning. And while Durant has carried most of the weight, the role players are stepping up.
The big five
1. Heat. 2. Thunder. 3. Pacers. 4. Portland Trail Blazers. 5. San Antonio Spurs.
Awful for Andrew
The three teams bad enough to start tanking in hopes of drafting Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins: 1. Milwaukee Bucks. 2. Orlando Magic. 3. Sacramento Kings.
17The number of consecutive games heading into this weekend in which Bulls All-Star Joakim Noah had at least 10 rebounds. He averaged 14.1 per game in January.
Two to watch
Heat at Los Angeles Clippers, 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Clippers are still looking for some consistency with coach Doc Rivers at the helm, while the Heat seems to be going through the motions until the playoffs start.
Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns, 8 p.m. Saturday. The Suns are the surprise team in the Western Conference and continue to have huge wins like the one over the Pacers on Thursday night.