Stern thinking about putting teams in China, not North America

WASHINGTON -- NBA commissioner David Stern sees more of a need for new pro basketball teams in China than in North America.

''I think 30 teams is a nice, round number, and I would not be recommending to the NBA owners to expand,'' Stern said before Game 4 of the first-round playoff series between the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers.

''We will see in the next couple of years, coming out of the Beijing Olympics, the possibility of some joint venture between the NBA and someone in China about an NBA-sponsored and -branded league in China.''

Stern added that ''an NBA of China'' is closer to happening than what he called a 20-year plan for having five franchises in Europe, and that, ''domestically, we have enough teams.''

On the topic of a new building for the Orlando Magic, the commissioner said there was a recent ''midnight handshake'' and that ''they're working to finalize the deal, but with a very robust contribution from the team, there are now plans for a new arena.''

Stern has said that Orlando would be a candidate to host All-Star weekend with a new building. lists the San Antonio Spurs as a +400 favorite to win the NBA Championship.


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