NBA tour continues in Europe

Updated: October 3, 2010, 11:31 AM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- NBA teams currently in Europe will go on with their planned preseason activities amid heightened terror concerns, but the league has promised to take "appropriate" security measures.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves are in London preparing for their preseason opener on Monday at the O2 Arena. The New York Knicks were to play Olimpia Milano in Milan on Sunday.

Officials for both the Lakers and Timberwolves said the organizations and the NBA have been in close contact with authorities to assess the risk situation, but that the players have not been told to change their habits or sightseeing plans.

The State Department issued a travel alert on Sunday for Europe that advises U.S. citizens living or traveling there to take more precautions about their personal security.

"The NBA is staying in contact with the U.S. embassy, the CIA and Scotland Yard," Lakers spokesman John Black said. "They are keeping us informed of the situation."

In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Sunday, Mike Bass -- the NBA senior vice president for marketing and communications -- said the league is "taking all appropriate security measures" for the trip.

NBA commissioner David Stern was set to hold a planned news conference in Milan later Sunday before the Knicks game.

In London, both teams practiced as scheduled on Sunday at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in south London. Some Timberwolves players were set to mingle with Londoners in a fan zone set up on the south bank of the Thames River later Sunday, while Kobe Bryant and his Lakers teammates were attending the Premier League game between London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.

"Players who go out, they're giving them some additional security," Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said. "But has anything been addressed with everybody? No, not yet."

The trip is part of the NBA's annual European preseason tour. After the opening games, the Timberwolves and Knicks will play each other in Paris on Wednesday. The Lakers will travel to Spain to play Barcelona on Thursday.

Lakers center Pau Gasol said he had no plans to spend his time in London sitting in a hotel room.

"I've been out of the hotel as much as possible," Gasol said. "It's a great city to be out and walk around in, and experience things. It would be a crime to stay at the hotel."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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