NBA Expansion to Europe?

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The New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks will play a game in London on Thursday afternoon, the fifth NBA regular season game to be played there. But if NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gets his wish, games in Europe could become an everyday occurrence.

Talking with the Guardian, Silver said he doesn’t just want one team in Europe. He wants four. Which seems like the only way to go, if you’re thinking about logistics.

“My sense is that the NFL is a little bit ahead of us in terms of their timeline for having a franchise based in London. There are some aspects of their schedule that make it easier — they play once a week, they have fewer games,” Silver told the Guardian this week. “It will be easier logistically for them to pull it off. It would be difficult for us to have one team in Europe. We’d have to put both feet down. That would mean having four franchises in Europe.”

The NFL, which plays three regular season games in London every year, has targeted 2021 as the year it would like to see a permanent team in Europe, which is filled with sizable soccer stadiums that can easily be converted to the American brand of football. But NBA-ready basketball arenas are in short supply for now, which is one impediment to Silver’s plan. But according to the Guardian, such stadiums are under construction in England, Germany, France and Spain.

“We’re not there yet. I know that as much growth as we’ve seen, we have a long way to go before we can sustain four franchises in Europe,” Silver told the Guardian. “On the other hand, I believe it’s our manifest destiny to expand.”

Silver made sure to add that any expansion to Europe is still years away.

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