NBA commissioner David Stern is hoping for a reconciliation between feuding Utah Jazz CEO Greg Miller and former franchise superstar Karl Malone.
A bitter war of words erupted last week after Miller hit back at public criticism leveled by the Hall of Fame forward in which Malone blamed Miller for former coach Jerry Sloan’s exit last year.
"I’m looking forward to the next meeting between Greg and Karl," Stern told The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday. "Not for the sparks that I expect will fly, but for the calming that I think will and should occur."
Malone, who spent all but one season of his 19-year career in Utah, accused Miller of giving former player Deron Williams too much power within the team.
The 48-year-old Jazz legend also said he was forced to buy a ticket from a scalper in order to attend a sold-out game following Sloan’s abrupt retirement.
Miller, the son of longtime Jazz owner Larry Miller, responded emphatically Friday on Twitter, saying, "Hey Karl — you’re lying. You have my number. Next time you need a seat to a Jazz game, call me. You can have mine."
Miller followed the tweet up with a highly-charged blog post in which he described Malone as "unreliable" and "unstable," and accused him of being "high-maintenance — on a scale few people are ever exposed to — throughout his career."
The 14-time All-Star refused to respond directly to the personal slights, but criticized Miller for his medium of attack.
"We’ve all become very brave when we’re tweeting, texting, blogging. We just write and press send. I don’t have time for that," Malone told The Tribune on Saturday.
"Don’t tweet it, don’t blog it, don’t text it. Give me a little human element … I’m in town two or three times a month. Until I see him face to face, there won’t be any more comment about Greg Miller."
Stern hopes Malone’s next visit will be an opportunity to broker a peaceful resolution "because [Malone’s] meant so much to the franchise and the city over the years and to the Miller family, and the Miller family has meant so much to the franchise and the city for so many years."
Malone, whose career points tally ranks second in NBA history, has stood by his comments.
"I don’t regret what I said. It’s what I believe about coach Sloan."