The NBA says if the renovation of Quicken Loans Arena does not start in seven weeks, Cleveland will not be considered for the 2020 or 2021 All-Star Game.
That threat was included in a letter to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, which was included as part of a filing with the Ohio Supreme Court in the ongoing battle of how much public money should be spent on the Q.
Subodh Chandra, whose firm is representing a group of taxpayers in the case, says he understands it must be decided quickly.
“What is not helpful is when people who don’t have a direct stake in the matter as litigants are suddenly trying to essentially be extortionists, and say, ‘If we don’t have our way, then we’re going to do very unfriendly things to the community.’ I think most Clevelanders don’t respond well to blackmail.”
The court issue must be decided by next month in order for a referendum challenging the spending to make it onto the November ballot.
In the letter, the NBA says there is no guarantee Cleveland will be picked to host the games even if the city begins construction before September 15.