Stern reiterates plan to expand, have regular presence in Europe

BERLIN -- NBA commissioner David Stern said Tuesday that the league is well-positioned to deal with any fallout from the global economic turmoil after cutting 80 jobs.

"In anticipation of a slowdown we had started cutting our work force a bit," Stern said before the New Orleans Hornets played the Washington Wizards in a preseason game at the O2 World arena. "It's our sense that we should be very prudent in our expenditures and our workforce because we have to see what the economy holds for all of us on a global basis."

"On a league-wide basis we are meeting all our financial goals. We are where we want to be," Stern added.

Stern again said that the league would stage a regular-season game in Europe before 2012, and also repeated a long-standing prediction that the NBA would someday expand to include franchises in Europe.

"Regular-season games are very much in our future in Europe, in either O2 Arena or O2 World," Stern said, referring also to the O2 Arena in London.

Besides the game in Berlin, the Hornets and Wizards will play again on Friday in Barcelona, Spain. That follows a two-game series between the New Jersey Nets and Miami Heat in Paris and London.

Stern said fan interest and new arenas in major European markets -- such as Rome, Barcelona and Madrid, Spain -- would be needed to bringing any permanent NBA franchise to Europe.

"I think that some commissioner will be presiding over expansion of the NBA into Europe some day in the future," he said. "Young fans here are very sophisticated in their knowledge of basketball, we just need to have more of them, and I think that will happen."

The NBA has a record of playing outside North America. The league has brought a number of preseason games to Europe and China and played a regular-season game in Tokyo in 1991.