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Drbio
10-08-2003, 11:33 PM
Reuters
PARIS -- The NBA could expand overseas, probably to Europe, by the end of the decade and teams might hold pre-season training camps on the continent within two years, NBA commissioner David Stern said on Wednesday.

Stern told a news conference the increasing influx of foreign players into the NBA, wider television coverage of NBA overseas and basketball's introduction to the Olympics had made it a much more international and popular sport.

For the NBA to expand overseas there would need to be an infrastructure of new stadiums large enough to host games and a consistent level of fan support in target countries, he said.

On a scale of one to 10 of whether the conditions existed for NBA expansion, Stern said: "We are now at five and picking up a notch very couple of years. It could happen by the end of the decade."

As an interim step NBA officials are considering giving teams the option of staging their pre-season training camps outside the U.S.

Up to four could train in Europe and play other NBA and European teams, Stern said before an exhibition game between the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies. He thought this idea might be ready to start in 2005 or 2006.

"It would be short of expansion but give us a more continuous presence for a shorter period of time," he said.

"We are mindful of the fact that in the coming year 20 percent of our players will be international -- it makes the league stronger, raises the level of competition and reaches out to fans in all markets."

Stern said there might be room for an exhibition game on the lines of the NBA's American players versus the Rest of the World or Europe, but not in the context of the All-Star games.

"We are happy with the All-Star structure and don't want to trifle with it at this time," he said.

MFFL
10-09-2003, 12:53 AM
I liked Cuban's suggestion of letting other countries form "official" versions of the NBA for themselves similiar to the WNBA. ENBA for Europe, etc.

Hitman
10-09-2003, 06:54 AM
I LOVE the idea of European expansion. The world is getting smaller....a trip from London or Paris on the Concord is not much different from a cross country trip in the US.

But I do think that it should start out as a seperate league. Where did Cuban suggest this?

Dooby
10-09-2003, 08:16 AM
European expansion is a TERRIBLE idea. Stern is just pushing the idea because he wants to say he did it first. Cuban's idea isn't as bad.

MavKikiNYC
10-09-2003, 08:50 AM
Curious as to why you think E-expansion is such a terrible idea, Dooby. There are plenty of issues to be sure, just curious as to what's catching your attention.

Cuban's idea, and this is the first I've heard of it, sounds like a competing product, not an expanded means of delivering the NBA game.

My intuition is that what European fans would pay to see would be head-to-head competition between their own local (NBA) franchises and the American franchises, especially those with European stars, not some watered-down product with second-tier talent stocking the European franchises.

OTOH, in the long-run that kind of product offering might allow the development of a rivalry along the lines of the old NFL v. AFL franchises, but that too led eventually to integration.

Dooby
10-09-2003, 09:43 AM
Well, I started to do a longer post, but I gave up. Quite frankly, the world just isn't ready. Logistically, it is still a nightmare. Hypothetically, let's put the team in London and we'll call them the "Bulldogs." Bulldogs play at the Lakers. What time is the game on TV live in in London. 3, 4 or 5 in the morning? Lakers play at the Bulldogs. What time is the game on TV live in in LA. 9, 10, or 11 in the morning?

OK, how many teams do you put in Europe? One or two to start. They play 41 road games. How is that going to work? You going to send them out to the states for 10 or 20 games at a time? They get to saty at home 10 or 20 games at a time? Every division oponent going to have a home back-to back two games in a row? Or are you going to make every american team take multiple trips to europe?

What about taxes? Exchange rates? Financing? The NBA couldn't keep a team in Charlotte; it couldn't keep a team in Vancouver; it is barely keeping a team in Toronto. You don't think there is going to be a Streve Francis situation from a kid that refuses to go oversees and play? I can hear it now. "We just aren't generating the euros to compete with the Knicks."

From a logistics standpoint, this doesn't work. From a financing standpoint, this isn't going to work.

The time for this will come. And the NFL will lead the way. Not a sport where a team plays 3 or 4 games a week.

BTW, expansion right now is a bad idea. Period. We shouldn't even be adding Charlotte next year. Imagine how bad the NBA product would be if we didn't have the influx of european players in the last several years. Expansion is only being considered because the franchise fees will help offset the declining TV revenues and allow Stern to say the league is making more money than ever.

kg_veteran
10-09-2003, 09:58 AM
Outstanding post, Dooby.

Expansion simply doesn't work logistically (at least at this point) with teams that play 3-4 times a week. Also, the league is "watered down" enough as it is. We don't need a Charlotte franchise, much less a London, Paris, or Barcelona franchise.

MFFL
10-09-2003, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by: kg_veteran
Outstanding post, Dooby.

Expansion simply doesn't work logistically (at least at this point) with teams that play 3-4 times a week. Also, the league is "watered down" enough as it is. We don't need a Charlotte franchise, much less a London, Paris, or Barcelona franchise.

There just isn't enough talent for the teams the league has now, I would hate to see it diluted even more. The ENBA idea is good because it sets up an official minor league for the NBA, similiar to the NFL Europe.

LRB
10-09-2003, 10:14 AM
Dooby, I think that you've hit the nail on the head. Logistically, it would be a nightmare to add 1 or 2 teams in Europe. I would much rather see the NBA start a development league in Europe. I think this would really help the league as many players need a league where they can get heavy minutes to develop. Not that there wouldn't be problems in doing this, but it would have a much better chance.

Drbio
10-09-2003, 10:25 AM
Originally posted by: Hitman
I LOVE the idea of European expansion. The world is getting smaller....a trip from London or Paris on the Concord is not much different from a cross country trip in the US.

But I do think that it should start out as a seperate league. Where did Cuban suggest this?

Not to pick on the point Hitman, but all concorde flights have been stopped for about a year now. They aren't flying that plane anymore since the crash in France.


Euro expansion for the NBA doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Cuban's idea however, has potential.

MFFL
10-09-2003, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by: LRB
I would much rather see the NBA start a development league in Europe.

I'll have to find where Cuban made his comments but the gist of it was that the league would license out the name "NBA" to a league of European owners. That way the NBA is not seen as trying to muscle aside the already existing clubs - those clubs would instead be upgrading to ENBA status.

MavKikiNYC
10-09-2003, 11:02 AM
Regarding scheduling: I agree the current system would pose logistical issues, but I've always thought that the NBA would have to do something different for games played in Europe. By putting a couple (or more) of teams in Europe, the NBA would be looking at significant changes in the way the league season currently runs--maybe scheduling series of tournaments involving multiple American and European franchises. In summary, I think European expansion would involve changing the status quo in terms of scheduling.

The Steve Francis-type-kid argument is not as apparent. There have always been players who exerted as much leverage as they could to avoid going to a perceived undesriable location--the Dallas Mavericks' original #1 draft pick (and my avatarial namesake) comes to mind; the Utah Jazz have perennial difficulties in attracting top-dollar Free Agents. (The Chicago Bulls have had similar difficulties, though not for reasons of geography, and Chicago, to my thinking, would be a highly desirable city to play in.) In any case, there will from time to time be players who balk at playing in a particular locale.

But there have also been scores (hundreds?) of lesser-talent NBA aspirants who have emigrated professionally to the European leagues because of the opportunity to earn a living in Europe playing basketball. They go because that's where the money and the opportunity is. I lived in Barcelona for a time during the early 90s and former Portland Trailblazer Audie Norris was the stud player for Barça at the time, and former Mav Corny Thompson was the star player for the Badalona team Juventud. Also just read an article the other day about former Knick-Net/crackhead Michael Ray Richardson who had finished out his playing days (well into his 40s) playing in a French league, and you can look no further than Kobe Bean Bryant for another example--his father Joe '' JellyBean" Bryant finished out his career in the Italian leagues. Given how readily the European players return to play for their national teams, I can easily see a player like Pau Gasol going back to Barcelona to be the cornerstone for the hometown franchise.

Financing and taxation will be potential issues, but to assume that the problems encountered by the Vancouver and Toronto franchises will be replicated with European teams may not be correct. Issues emanating from the relative strength of the ECU and the Canadian $ could be very different. International taxation issues do get more complex, but more complex than the maze of state and municipal tax authorities who take a cut of NBA players' earnings? Why couldn't a player in Barcelona just as easily declare himself a resident (for tax purposes) of a tax haven like Andorra?

I don't disagree with the issues that you're presenting, but I don't think they're impediments to the NBA going multi-national. When the money gets big enough, all the types of things mentioned here become details to be ironed out rather than impediments.

Murphy3
10-09-2003, 11:50 AM
I just can't imagine having any of the top notch US talent wanting to play for a european team.
and that reason alone is enough to put an end to any ideas of having a team in europe

LRB
10-09-2003, 12:40 PM
Originally posted by: MFFL

Originally posted by: LRB
I would much rather see the NBA start a development league in Europe.

I'll have to find where Cuban made his comments but the gist of it was that the league would license out the name "NBA" to a league of European owners. That way the NBA is not seen as trying to muscle aside the already existing clubs - those clubs would instead be upgrading to ENBA status.


That would work for me. I'd love to read the article if you can find the link.