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NBA commissioner may be open to contraction

The Sports Xchange

NBA commissioner David Stern apparently is open to the idea of reducing the number of francises in the league at some point in the future, ESPN.com reported Sunday.

Stern said during an ESPN.com podcast that both the league and the players have shown some interest in contraction of the NBA, which currently has 30 teams. However, the subject will not be addressed until after an agreement is reached in the current collective bargaining negotiations.

"[Contraction] is not a subect that we're against," Stern said on the podcast. "In fact, when you talk about revenue sharing, a number of teams have said that if you have a team that is perpetually going to be a recipient, aren't you better off with the ability to buy them in? Because between the revenue sharing and the split of international and the TV money, we could almost buy them in with their own money.

"The players actually have been heard to suggest that as well, which was interesting because that means they are suggesting that we eliminate 30 jobs, or the potential for 30 jobs. So we've said to the players, you know, 'Give us the right to contract, let's agree upon what the basis will be. Let's make this deal and then let's continue to look at that subject.'"

Stern explained that he could not force a franchise to fold by himself and that a plan would need to be developed.

The New Orleans Hornets, the Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats are the teams most often mentioned when it comes to contraction.

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