OVERSEAS ALL STAR A LONG-TERM OPTION

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has hinted regular season games in London are here to stay – but All Star is not an immediate option.

Maybe one day, however. Speaking in Toronto ahead of Sunday night’s All Star Game, Silver admitted the increasingly vocal debate about player fatigue might be the chief obstacle in taking the showpiece overseas for the first time following its first excursion outside the United States.

Finding extra room in an already crowded could lay the idea to rest, even if The 02 Arena and the UK capital have all the resources required, in addition to public support from city officials.

“If we travel overseas for All-Star, given our experience with largely preseason games, but some regular season games in Europe as well, players will need additional time to readjust their sleep patterns and to get re-acclimated when they come back to the States,” Silver said.

“So at the same time, one thing that we’re very proud of as a league that we have reduced the number of back- to-backs and reduced the number of four games out of five nights. So the problem is if we leave the country for All-Star, it puts pressure on the rest of the schedule.

“Now, having said that, one of the things that we’re continuing to talk to the Players Association about is the length of the season, the length of the preseason, when it is we should start the league, when it is that we should ultimately finish and get the draft in.

“So having an All-Star Game internationally has to be part of those larger discussions. It’s something we’d love to do one day. It’s not going to happen in the next two, three, four years, but I think down the road it could be a really exciting element for the NBA.”

For now, it is likely to remain regular season contests in London and Mexico City with the preseason covering more of the global map.

In due course, the possibilities are wider, Silver adds.

“The question is would we consider expanding the number of regular season and preseason games we play. Yes, that’s something we continue to look at. Again, there’s been so much new attention focused on the science around traveling across time zones, the impact of fatigue on our players. We just want to be very careful on how we approach it. I certainly think it’s worked very effectively to play regular season games in London, building some time off for the players once they return. I think our preseason schedule has worked out very well in Asia and Europe.

“Mexico City is a market that we’re particularly focused on, because, again, it does not require obviously crossing time zones in order to play in Mexico City. And the flight to Mexico City, especially from the southwest is not that much different than going to a lot of NBA cities. So I think Mexico City in particular is a market in the short term we’ll be looking to do more in.”

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