NBA Commish Talks Possibility of Euro Expansion

Ballers could be making the Euro trip on a regular basis soon, if NBA commissioner David Stern follows through on rumors reported to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S Ian Thomsen.

David Stern, London mayor Ken Livingstone

(London mayor Ken Livingstone is optioned to the Celtics to help their thin bench.)

Essentially, this sounds like one of the ideas that gets dumped around by most sports around every All-Star (or Pro Bowl) weekend, when there’s not much else to actually talk about.

Thomsen writes that the proposal would “create five new teams in major markets to form a “European” division within the NBA,” with teams competing for the league’s championship and all the teams having to travel to play games across the Atlantic.

European initiatives got kind of sidelined with the development of “NBA China,” a league with major Asian backing, but Stern’s rationale for possible Euro expansion is attached to the development of NBA-size arenas along with the numerous small-time associations that control pro ball in Europe.

“Say you put five teams there in NBA buildings and see what happens,” the NBA source said of plans to expand to Europe. “Because then it’s out of the hands of the governments; it’s an American company with American divisions operating in Europe.”

This will hit snags with the players, obviously. Money may be a factor (with the Euro doing better than the dollar), but mostly because of the travel. Teams coming in from Europe or heading to Europe to play are going to be horrifically jet-lagged; to compensate, the 82-game season would have to last a bit longer than it already does.

So, yeah, it’s the possibility of more games before the All-Star break that you likely may not care about.