This could also have been the title of a very interesting blog post made by Mark Woods on the website of the British newspaper the Guardian.
Mark comes up with a few very good thoughts that I can totally agree with.
We can look forward to the establishment of the London Pearly Queens, the Moscow Mules, the Berlin Wallers and the Madrid Bulllfighters within the next decade, jetting back and forth to North America as an integral part of an expanded Eastern Conference. Nice theory. In practice, for several reasons, a disaster.
First of all, congratulations for the nice names that you found for the eventual franchises. But the more important point comes next.
Firstly, as Richard Scudamore has rapidly learnt, you don’t just wander into other countries and set up shop without permission from the locals.
As he correctly explains afterwards, Basketball in Europe is growing despite several organizations and conflicts. However, by setting up a new division over here, the NBA should go and get the consent of the local entities. Which it will probably not do and advance in their typical bulldozer way and creating what they want and how they like.
Discussing the travel issues and the eventual problems of being drafted by the Moscow Mules instead of the LA Lakers are also being raised. He cites then Ray Allen about this issue who does not see a problem there but adds that
Allen, however, is one of the more cosmopolitan creatures in the NBA, by virtue of spending part of his childhood in the Suffolk market town of Saxmundham. He is the exception, not the rule.
Finally, the last and most important point in my opinion is the following. What about the different laws in Europe. Establishing franchises over here, they would probably be created under European rights. So under EU law mostly. Some people may remember Jean-Marc Bosman and the so called Bosman rule that allows professional sports players to move freely from one team to another and abolishes the nationalities. By applying some kind of salary cap to a European team would be a rule to be broken the same way as it was in the Bosman case.
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement – brokered between league and union – which governs player signings and movement, currently depends on a legal foundation which effectively binds those involved in return for luxuriant salaries and perks.
It is not dissimilar to the transfer system employed in football 30 years ago, where the players were beholden to their clubs. Where they signed their lives away on the dotted line. If there is one reason why the NBA’s expansionism is doomed to fail, it is due to Jean-Marc Bosman. One suit filed in the EU courts, and the entire premise of the league comes crashing down. Stern may see the pounds and euros available. As a lawyer, he will eventually see sense and let Europe be.
Let’s hope that David Stern reads this and thinks of this and prevent us from the Europe division. I don’t need it.