March 3, 2011

Care for some tea? Triano scoffs at NBA across continents

Ok that's not completely fair.

Triano's latest talks with reporters showed a rather displeased coach biting his tongue when it came to questions regarding the team's upcoming game in London. He didn't like the idea of the Raptors and Nets having to play a regular season game after a 5 hour flight in a different time zone,  a different arena and a different culture while the other 28 teams don't have to set foot on another continent.  Although coach was understandably a little irked that this trip changes the team's regular routine, his point is generally mute.

It goes without saying, the Nets will face the same challenges and therefore the game favors no team and the 2pts awarded at the end of the game will resemble the 2pts from any other win this season.  The only disadvantage would be if both teams had to quickly fly back and play on the road, but as a courtesy, the league is giving the Raps and Nets a four day break after they return from London and both teams will play their next three games at home.  In any case, neither team is even in the playoff hunt and being relevant for a weekend might be a nice change...

But that's not the point.  Triano's comments nudged opened up the conversation on the possibility of a global NBA and how it might be received.

Commissioner David Stern has been hinting at this global NBA concept for a few years now and tomorrow's game in London is the first step in his master plan.  Its reception will likely be used as the starting point to gauge the NBA's future overseas.
Just the thought of a continent hopping NBA is so dicey and has so many angles it's difficult to know where to begin ones analysis.

For starters, it's a complete contradiction to the idea put forth by Stern that several teams may need to contract because of plummeting revenues and an arguably thinning talent pool.
Then there's the coaches nightmare or keeping players focused and game ready in a different atmosphere across several time zones.
Trades would take on a whole new meaning as going from California to New York isn't quite like being dealt to the UK, Greece, Italy, etc... A lot of strain on the families no doubt.
Finally, there's the generally uncertainty that a continent ruled by football/soccer can support an NBA franchise long term.

Stern certainly has the mindset of a business man looking to tap all markets interested in his product, but his product hasn't been known to be very accepting of other markets.  In fact, the Raptors make for a great example in this case.  The league's only team north of the boarder has famously had a very hard time recruiting free agents in the past, finding europeen players much more accepting of the Canadian environment. Recently, former face of the franchise Chris Bosh was quoted as saying "I didn't want to go there" and "you could tell you're somewhere different. You could feel it, you could look at it, you can smell it."  As a result the Raps have more international players than any other team in the NBA and yet its only a 4 hour drive to Detroit or Cleveland.

How do you think the Americans are gonna take playing in countries that use multi colored money? It's different, you can feel it, look at it, smell it....

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