The NBA has agreed to a partnership with Liga Nacional de Basquete, the top domestic professional basketball league in Brazil, reports Grantland.com.
The arrangement will reportedly see the two leagues sharing best practices, marketing strategies and player development techniques. The NBA will also likely send employees to Brazil and pay some amount to the league.
The partnership is part of the NBA's efforts to increase its presence globally, as well as to enhance cooperation between it and FIBA leagues, which generally consist of the top domestic leagues across the world.
This is a stand-alone arrangement, but it falls within the larger context of the NBA’s quest for global sporting dominance and potential interest in eventually unifying the sport at the highest level under one set of rules. That may not ever happen, but it is an idea with some traction at NBA headquarters and elsewhere around the world.
Top NBA officials are on record about the possibility of adopting several FIBA rules, including the more liberal basket interference policy and a ban on live-ball timeouts late in games.
The report also says the NBA is intrigued by FIBA's 40-minute game length. The league has discussed decreasing its game length from its current 48 minutes and had the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics play a 44-minute preseason game earlier this month to experiment with the shorter game.
The NBA has worked to increase its international presence for many years. International team played NBA teams in a record nine preseason games on North American soil this year, and five preseason games were played across Berlin, Istanbul, Beijing, Shanghai and Rio de Janeiro.
The league has also played regular season games in other countries. Two are planned for this season, with the Houston Rockets playing the Minnesota Timberwolves in Mexico City on Nov. 12 and the Milwaukee Bucks playing the New York Knicks in London on Jan. 15.
- Ben Estes