Silver says NBA considering G League team in Mexico

Basketball fan David Martinez, of Monterrey, poses with a cardboard cutout of Oklahoma City Thunder's player Russell Westbrook before a regular-season NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets in Mexico City, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The Brooklyn Nets will also take on the Miami Heat Saturday in their second regular-season game in the Mexican capital. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

MEXICO CITY — The NBA is considering putting a G League team in Mexico, a potential way to gauge the feasibility of an NBA franchise there.

Commissioner Adam Silver also announced plans to launch an NBA Academy in Mexico's capital during a news conference Thursday night before the Brooklyn Nets played the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Both plans demonstrate the importance of the Mexico City market to the league's desire to further grow in Latin America. The Nets' games against the Thunder and Miami Heat this week are during the 25th anniversary of the NBA's first games in Mexico.

Silver says a G League team would essentially be a 31st team in the league, with the NBA hoping to soon have all 30 of its clubs owning and operating their own minor league affiliate. He says a Mexico City team would be operated in partnership with the league office.

No plans are definite, and he said other Mexican cities could also be considered if the G League team does move south of the border.

"We have a preference for coming to Mexico City," Silver said, "because as we look down the road, frankly to see whether there would be an opportunity to even dream about putting an NBA franchise here in Mexico City, we believe it makes sense as a first step to have a development league team here and to work out some of the issues to better understand what it would mean to have a team in Mexico."

Silver added that the league was exploring the cost involved in a Mexican G League franchise.

The NBA Academy Latin America will be a training center for top male and female prospects from Latin America. Scheduled to open this winter, it will be the NBA's seventh training center.

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