Kenny Smith, the former Houston Rocket, expounds on Association expansion:
While on the NBA Europe Live Tour, which featured NBA teams playing in Turkey, Italy, Spain and England, I pondered this question: Is it possible for the league to have teams that reside in Europe?
I've talked to commissioner David Stern on several occasions about this subject, and he contends that due to scheduling, logistical nightmares and time-zone changes, it is out of the question at this time. He also told me that the All-Star game would be too difficult to have in Europe because of the same reasons at this time. He always ends such statements with "at this time." (There's the hint.)
Do I think it's possible? Yes. There are a lot of variables, but if planned correctly, European expansion could and should happen.
I used to be one of those purists that thought basketball is our game and that European players are inferior. Am I right? Who cares? The real truth came from Bill Russell when I was complaining about foreign players and their inclusion. He said, as an African-American, I never should complain about inclusion. So I'm all for adding teams from overseas.
I agree that scheduling would be a huge problem. For example, if there were a team in Spain, it would have approximately an eight-hour flight to the United States. Then when it got here, it would have to deal with the time zone change, a seven-hour difference if it played on the West Coast. How could you give the team fair time to adjust?
The solution is simple: Add approximately six new franchises at once.
They would make up the new Euro Division, with teams based in Italy, Spain, France, England and Greece. Clubs from North America would have to spend two weeks of the regular season in Europe before the All-Star game and again after the All-Star game. To further accommodate this expansion across the Atlantic Ocean, the NBA would have to shorten the schedule to 70 games. (I feel it's worth shortening the season to add the global market to the league!)
I know the next comment from my former NBA purist brothers is: "The NBA is already watered down in talent. These new teams would dilute the league even more!" Do I really have to bring up the Olympics or world championships? Or the fact that American dominance is over?
We have seen Spain, Greece and other countries fare extremely well against our so-called best. The world has caught up. (OK, there – I said it!)
Growing up in New York City, this reminds me of the time when all of the hot rappers came from New York – Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Run-D.M.C., etc. Then someone realized that, damn, they're rapping in Cali, too, with N.W.A. and Ice-T. Even Coolio ain't half-bad. (OK, I'm overdoing it.) Then came the Dirty South with Outkast and Dungeon Family. Then the Midwest popped off with Bone Thugs and Common … you get my drift?
There is talent out there, and it's creeping into the NBA instead of making a splash all at once. Don't sleep! Do you really think a team featuring Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Dirk Nowitzki couldn't contend? Hell, the past two MVPs came from Canada and Germany. Yao Ming could be next.
So, come on – expand your mind and be global. The commissioner is. And trust me, you will be wearing that Team Italia fitted and the Greece throwback one day. Count on it.
And in the run-up to the beginning of the NBA regular season, a few choice comments from my Rotisserrie tip sheet, Rotoworld:
The Mavs have their own version of the 'Cuban Missile Crisis' going on as they try to prove that they are not soft. Howard's forearm to the back of Brad Miller's head and the fact that Jerry Stackhouse (who has never walked away from a fight) is starting are good examples of changes the team is making in an effort to send the message. If Mark Cuban was on a deserted island, locked in a house with 12 strangers or trekking across the world in a race with his ex-roommate, he might gain a little more street cred than he's getting with the dance thing.
The New York Post reports "the Knicks are monitoring the Kobe Bryant soap opera, but indications are they will not place Eddy Curry in any trade, making a deal near impossible."Knicks fans' suffering does not look to be ending any time soon. This report seems merely speculative, but if it is true it belongs in Ripley's Believe-It-or-Not.
Sacramento Kings reserve center Justin Williams has been accused by a Sacramento woman of sexual assault, a source told The Bee on Thursday, and the reserve big man has been given an indefinite leave of absence from the team as the investigation continues. The woman told police last week that she met Williams and another woman at a party and went with the couple to Williams' home. The woman said she did not drink before arriving at Williams' home and felt woozy after having a drink at the house. According to the source, who asked to not be identified because the investigation is ongoing, Williams and the other woman tried to have sex with the alleged victim in Williams' bedroom.
Update: The lawyer for Justin Williams, accused of sexual assault, says the sex his client and girlfriend had with a Sacramento woman was consensual:
"The truth is nothing happened that night that was not consensual, and we have proof of it," William J. Portanova said. "While some people may find it distasteful to think about it, it's a reality of 21st-century life." Police searched Williams' house on Wednesday and discovered evidence, but spokespeople for the police refused to say what was found.
Crap. More sex talk on this blog.