Adam Silver dishes on NBA Cup, games in Paris

Adam Silver believes an in-season NBA Cup will be a welcome addition to the growth of the sport. Elsa/Getty Images

PARIS -- NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday shed light on his aspirations to create an NBA Cup to run through November and December.

The idea was first floated in 2016 but has gained traction in recent months with a proposal to cut the regular season to 78 games to make room for an in-season tournament.

Ahead of Friday's Milwaukee Bucks-Charlotte Hornets game in Paris, Silver told ESPN.com that whatever format emerges should be granted a berth over multiple years rather than treated as a one-off experiment.

"It's a fairly dramatic change from the way U.S. schedules have worked historically," Silver said. "So it's not the change we want to make lightly. And so we're deep into discussions right now with our 30 teams about the right way to innovate and integrate those kinds of changes into our regular season.

"In fact, as we went down that road, the thinking initially was we would only do it for our 75th anniversary, which is the 2021-22 season."

The preferred concept, to be settled through negotiations with owners and the NBA Players Association, will be placed before the NBA's board of governors in April although no vote will take place, Silver said.

Despite a less-than-fulsome embrace of the idea in certain quarters, there is enough of a consensus now, it appears, to take it as read that the all-new Cup is coming.

Questions remain, certainly.

With the NBA's own fan research suggesting the public would vote for fewer regular-season games, all that appears to remain is a sign-off on the presumed format of an initial group stage feeding into a knockout phase starting with the quarterfinals -- and how much prize money will be placed into the pot.

"The conversations with our teams have not been adversarial," Silver said. "It's not so much a question of counting heads in order to win a vote. Again, it's more a function of ensuring that we're taking advantage of the best thinking from our teams as we move forward."

Silver admitted he mines European sports for industry trends that might inform the future evolution of his organization.

A professed fan of English Premier League team Arsenal, Silver understands the global reach of both his league and soccer worldwide. The NBA, through the expansion initiated by his predecessor, David Stern, has helped basketball make huge advances.

"I'm jealous in certain ways of soccer globally," Silver admitted. "I think I say this based more on objective data that the two biggest team sports in the world are clearly soccer No. 1, basketball No. 2."

Among Silver's other announcements in Paris on Thursday is that the city will host another regular-season game next January.

"We haven't set the teams yet," Silver said. "We're in active discussions with a few teams about participating in the game here. I'd say we are oversubscribed already in terms of team interest in coming."

London, which had hosted games for the past nine years, is not out of the global rotation.

"I think it's a function of interest on the part of the team, the popularity of the particular players," Silver said. In certain cases, their connections to those markets.

"Here you have in Giannis Antetokounmpo a European player who's now our reigning Most Valuable Player. It's a team [Milwaukee] with the best record in the league.

"In Charlotte, you have a team which not only has a French player [Nicolas Batum]. I think [Hornets owner] Michael Jordan in particular was interested in returning here to Paris, where he was enormously popular as a player and had played himself a few times.

"We have many teams that would like to make these trips. I will say there's a little bit of a bias for Eastern Conference teams, which makes the travel a little bit easier when you're coming off the East Coast.

"We have taken Western Conference teams. And I think as we get more sophisticated in our scheduling, you can envision a team with an East Coast road trip, then flying to Europe and then returning directly to the West."