Basketball: NBA stars to play in new Euro super league

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The Independent Online

Top US-based stars who play in the National Basketball Association will feature in a European super league to be formed in the next 10 years.

The move will strengthen the talent available to the teams, which are likely to be based in major cities such as London and Milan. It will also bring greater publicity than having only indigenous players.

Adam Silver, the NBA's deputy commissioner, outlines his plans for the European league in an interview with The Independent on Sunday today. Silver said: "Ultimately, we want to plant a flag in Europe, have a group of teams in Europe. Fans in Europe would want to see a rotation [of US stars playing]."

The NBA have been testing the potential of extending their franchise into Europe with a series of pre-season friendlies. The latest was between Chicago Bulls (starring Britain's Luol Deng) and Utah Jazz at the O² Arena last Tuesday.

Ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London, when basketball is likely to be a major attraction, the NBA are working on plans to play a series of regular-season games in the capital.

Silver said two options are under consideration. One team could be based in the UK for a small part of the season and effectively treat matches as home games; or several teams could be brought over to play a series of matches.

The second choice is more likely, as teams play on average between three and four games per week. Basing several teams in the UK for a few matches would be logistically simpler.

"Some time between now and 2012 we will have a regular-season game in London. It will probably be a series of games, but we're still figuring out schedules," said Silver.