The National Basketball League is reportedly exploring options to introduce Asian-based teams to the competition as part of its expansion.
Speaking to News Corp, NBL general manager Jeremy Loeliger claimed expansion could occur as early as next season with possible new franchises coming from the Philippines capital Manila and Shanghai, China.
The NBL previously introduced Singapore Slingers to the league in the 2006-07 season, however high costs associated with logistical issues led to their withdrawal just two seasons later.
Loeliger stated any possible expansion in to Asia won’t happen unless the league was confident it would benefit all parties.
“The discussions are very well advanced, and commercially and logistically I am very confident we could make it work,” Loeliger told News Corp.
“We need to jump through a certain number of procedural hoops to make sure we do it in a way that everyone is happy with … come to a definitive view of what that team might look like, how it would be owned, where it would be based.
“And it is inevitable that once we introduce more teams … we will have to play more games.”
The league is pushing hard to build close relationships within the country and the China Basketball Association (CBA).
As early as May this year the NBL have been eyeing off integrating a franchise from China, with hopes one could be integrated within two years. That early proposal was going to have a team based part-time on the Gold Coast.
Two CBA team’s – Zhejiang CB Golden Bulls and Tianjin Ronggang – travelled to Australia to participate in the NBL’s relaunched pre-season tournament in September, which featured all eight NBL franchises.
On the eve of the 2016-17 season tip-off, the league signed a comprehensive broadcast and streaming deal into China. All matches were to be streamed live on the Alibaba owned Youku, and sports website Sina Sports.