NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters at the NBA All-Star Game that the league has discussed eventual expansion but has set no specific timetable for doing so.
"Twenty-nine teams is a nice round number for us at this time," he joked. The commish, however, wasn't as coy when it came to where the NBA might set up shop. "I think as a North American league, it would not surprise me that our next expansion was into Mexico City," Stern said. "But we don't have a timeline." The NBA hopes to play some regular season games in Mexico until an adequate facility is built to accomodate a permanent tenant. The Rockets and Mavericks met in Mexico City earlier this season . . . The Nuggets are hoping Mitch Kupchak will leave the Lakers front office and become Denver's new vice president of basketball operations. Should he decline the offer, Isiah Thomas moves to the top of their wish list . . . Magic Johnson will soon part with his ownership share of the Los Angeles Lakers in order to pursue a new business venture - a management company that will hire and oversee agents for NBA players and entertainers . . . The National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to purchase the NBA's Toronto Raptors. Thus, the new Air Canada Centre arena will be redesigned to accomodate hockey. The facility is scheduled to open in 1999 . . . Bulls guard Steve Kerr, who is sidelined with a broken left collarbone, could be back in the Chicago line-up sometime in the next 2-3 weeks . . . Should Alvin Gentry fail to win over Pistons management since replacing Doug Collins as head coach, former Suns coach Paul Westphal is considered the top candidate to take over in Detroit . . . The Internal Revenue Service is expected to indict up to 11 more NBA referees on income-tax evasion involving the cashing in of first-class airline tickets . . . The Spurs are desperately trying to unload big man Will Perdue for someone with an outside shot . . . New York finished second in the Damon Stoudamire sweepstakes. The Knicks offered Toronto an undisclosed amount of cash, Chris Mills, Chris Childs and a draft pick . . . The Trail Blazers agreed to pick up 25 percent of Kenny Anderson's five-year $38 million contract in order to trade him and obtain Stoudamire . . . Darrell Walker resigned as coach of the Raptors when his star was traded away. He said he couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Funny, many folks thought the same thing when he was coaching . . . The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 4 p.m. MST.