Other than the signature on the basketball (and maybe some office redecorating), don't expect sweeping changes from the NBA's commissioner-to-be Adam Silver when he takes over for David Stern next month.
"The league is operating at a wonderful state right now, so I want to be very cautious about making any changes," said Silver on Thursday at a press conference in London. "But invariably we will make changes over time."
One change inevitably that Silver will have to make is to appoint his successor as deputy commissioner, which he says will be come in the next few weeks.
Both Silver and Stern will be on hand to promote the league's latest edition of its Global Games, a regular season contest between the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets, which played in London's O2 Arena on Thursday.
As the professional sports leagues look for more ways to appeal to a global audience and tap into new revenue streams, international expansion has been a hot-button talking point, most notably with the NFL, with London being the most-likely landing spot. With the NBA being one of the most globally-appealing American sports, it would make sense for the league to look at expanding outside of North America (it has one franchise in Canada).
One major criticism of putting a franchise across the Atlantic is the logistics of traveling back and forth; London is five hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone. Silver's way of combating that would be to place an entire division in Europe to cut down on travel time.
"I think most likely if we were to come to Europe, it would be with a division rather than a single team for ease of logistics," he said. "It's something we're going to continue to look at."
With just a couple of weeks left in his commissionership, Stern has been mum on his post-NBA plans, only saying that he would likely spend time traveling to help the league continue to promote itself globally.
"I have decidedly refrained from making plans," he said. "I think on Feb. 2, I'm still going to be taking all of the junk that I moved out of my office." He did say that he would have "significant announcements" about his plans in the not-too-distant future.
And if Silver comes calling on his first day? "[My phone] is going to be busy."
Video from the press conference, which was carried by NBA TV, can be seen here.
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