Photo montage by Bild Zeitung

Alba Berlin and Brose Baskets Bamberg are battling Saturday night to find out who will win the 2010-11 German Basketball Bundesliga league champion. But the Game 5 winner will also move into the front-runner seat for the services of Dirk Nowitzki should play in Germany in the case of an NBA lockout.

German basketball is experiencing an absolute boom at the moment and a battle over the freshly-crowned NBA champion and NBA Finals MVP would be another huge boost in intrigue surrounding the league and hoops in Deutschland.

Of course the prerequisite to any consideration of Dirk playing in Germany – or even in Europe – is an NBA lockout.
But if there were an NBA lockout …

and Nowitzki were decide against playing in Spain or Greece – where he could likely earn millions more – and choose to play in Germany …

… then there are really only three teams that would come into question: (in alphabetical order) Alba Berlin, Bayern Munich and Brose Baskets Bamberg.

All three clubs have spent the past half year expressing their interest in signing the German Wunderkind – and all three took the opportunity this week to reiterate their desire to bring in Nowitzki.

Alba’s board of directors member Alex Schweitzer told the Berliner Zeitung on Monday that if there is an NBA lockout the club will not be looking to add a bunch of NBA players, saying: “We will only make an effort for one player, and that is Dirk Nowitzki.”

He continued: “We can win very, very much through that and will therefore attempt it in the case of a lockout.”

Bayern’s new personnel boss Marko Pesic confirmed to Sport1 Munich’s interest. “We would be idiotic if we said no,” said Pesic.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness has never shied away from big dreams on the football side of things and the Munich boss has already expressed a willingness to do the same for the basketball club, telling Blickpunkt Sport that in the case of a lockout: “Of course Dirk would be an issue for us. And we would make a run for him.”

Hoeness has already promised a budget which ranks among Alba and Bamberg atop the BBL.

Actually both Bayern and Alba have a chance at Nowitzki regardless of how Saturday’s Game 5 between Alba and Bamberg ends.

Bamberg’s only chance – actually the least of the trio – lies in defending their BBL title and returning to play in the Euroleague next season. That would give Nowitzki the attraction of playing in his home country – and less than 10 kilometers from his home city Würzburg – and playing in the best competition on the continent.

Bamberg boss Wolfgang Heyder of course has expressed an interest in Nowitzki but the question is if he has enough money to satisfy Dirk.

In that regard, Alba Berlin probably have the best chances – even if they don’t beat Bamberg for their ninth German title.

With the o2 World Arena in their back pocket – and the attraction of more than 12,000 fans per game (they drew 14,117 fans for Game 4 against Bamberg) – Berlin have a great connection to Euroleague and would easily receive a wild card invitation for the Qualification Round. And with a superstar like Nowitzki, it would be hard for any team not to reach the Euroleague Regular Season – the absolute minimum for Nowitzki.

And Berlin would likely have the most money to throw at Nowitzki, with the o2 World and the massiveness of the German capital and its media and business landscape.

“We always advertise how exciting and balanced the league is,” BBL CEO Jan Pommer told Die Welt daily after Game 4.

Well, just wait for the excitement if the NBA locks out its players and Alba manager Marco Baldi, Heyder and Hoeness go after Nowitzki.



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