NBA approves sale of Sonics, Storm
New York The NBA Board of Governors approved the sale Friday of the Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA's Seattle Storm to The Basketball Club of Seattle, headed by Howard Schultz and a group of Seattle investors.
The $200 million sale will be finalized Sunday, once all funds have been transferred between The Basketball Club of Seattle and The Ackerley Group.
"Howard Schultz is one of the most successful businessmen in America and we are delighted to welcome him to the NBA," commissioner David Stern said of the founder of the Starbucks Corporation.
"As passionate fans of the game, we couldn't be more excited with the league's approval of the sale," said Schultz, a SuperSonics ticket-holder since 1982. "I don't think I'm going to be the kind of owner that is going to get in the way of things I don't know a lot about."
Celtics activate Battie
Boston The Boston Celtics activated center Tony Battie on Friday and placed forward Jerome Moiso on the injured list with tendinitis in his right knee. Battie was having his best pro season when he severely sprained his left ankle in a game against the Orlando Magic Dec. 30. He has missed 41 games.
Barkley won't consider returning to 76ers
Philadelphia Retiring Charles Barkley's number is an honor, but apparently not such a big honor that he would consider returning to the team where he became a star.
He said there is a chance he would return to the NBA but not in Philadelphia.
"There's only one situation that could end my retirement. The Sixers are not it," Barkley said Friday, though he wouldn't say what would make him come back.
Barkley, 38, returned to the town where he became a star Friday to become the seventh player in 76ers history to have his number retired, joining the ranks of Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving.
Illegal defense rules could be scrapped
New York The NBA is on the verge of allowing zone defenses as part of an effort to open up and speed up the game starting next season.
With scoring down and teams increasingly relying on isolation plays, the league's Board of Governors discussed a package of rules changes Friday that should be voted on in the coming weeks.
Also, a committee was formed to study the possibility of putting a franchise in Memphis, Tenn.