Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has approached the National Basketball Association (NBA) in a tentative effort to add the club’s basketball team to the NBA’s Eastern Conference, according to Spanish news outlet El Confidencial.
Real Madrid Baloncesto, who play in both Liga ACB and the EuroLeague, are the most successful basketball team in Spanish and European history, with a record 10 EuroLeague titles and 34 Spanish League championships.
They have been linked with a move to the NBA since former president Ramon Calderon first raised the possibility in 2006. However, no progress has ever materialised on the matter, with a lack of practical solutions to the travel distances causing an impasse in the plan.
Perez has mentioned on multiple occasions that he remains in contact with NBA bosses regarding the possibility of an expansion, with his latest discussions said to revolve around the possibility of the creation of a European extension to the league.
Perez said: “The NBA wants to create a European confederation, but Real Madrid is the only club that wants to enter.
“I have asked them to include us in the Eastern Conference, but at the moment it is not possible, imagine that all the Spaniards who play in the NBA are on our team, we would go and play several games in a row, it would not be complicated.”
The expansion concept has long been mooted by NBA chiefs, though commissioner Adam Silver admitted that such a move is not feasible at the moment when he discussed the subject two years ago in 2016.
He raised a variety of issues, including “the impact of travel on players or the income that a team has to generate in order to compete in the NBA.”
Silver added: “It is true that popularity has grown and that the venues are getting better, but there is still a way to go, we will continue to study it, but it does not fit into our short-term plans.”
He discussed the plans again in 2017, explaining: “The planes are not fast enough to integrate the current scheme of our regular league.”