x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bulls' Del Negro expects league to expand to Europe

Vinny Del Negro, the coach of the Chicago Bulls, expects the NBA to expand to Europe within the next few years.

Vinny Del Negro, the coach of the Chicago Bulls, expects the NBA to expand to Europe within the next few years. Del Negro thinks, that despite the logistical problems, that the popularity of basketball means that the move is inevitable. "With the way it's growing, whether it's next year, in five or 10 years or whenever, I wouldn't be surprised to see teams in Europe," he said. "Travel is going to be the difficult part. I think you're definitely going to have good enough players. If you play on the east coast and you fly from New York to LA it's a four- or five-hour trip. New York to London is very similar."

The time difference between the US and Europe is at least five hours, and flights from the east coast of the US take seven hours. "I know it's something the NBA is continually looking at and that's for them to make those decisions," he added "We have great accommodation, but it's a couple of days of travel, the time change is a huge factor. "There's a lot of things that go into it and a lot of things that need to be done."

The NBA have also said they are exploring the possibility of playing pre-season games in the Middle East next year, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai among the cities being considered. akunawicz@thenational.ae