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The NBA and the Euroleague announced yesterday they would be launching their most extensive cooperation to date, with four NBA teams heading to Europe for a competition against top European clubs in October 2006 and 2007.

The four NBA teams will compete in five European countries, with Israel likely to be among them.

The event will culminate with a final event in a fifth European country featuring a competition between two NBA teams, the Euroleague champion and runner-up.

"This is the NBA's most ambitious European basketball competition," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. "Years of steady, positive relations between the NBA and the Euroleague have covered diverse aspects of sports organization, and this partnership will continue to cultivate the success of basketball in Europe," said Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu. "This partnership will help to continue the tradition of basketball excellence and achievement, contribute to the growth of the sport and benefit European fans by offering them another chance to enjoy great basketball."

The NBA's last visit to Europe was in 2003 for the NBA Europe Games, which featured a preseason game between that year's NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies, at Bercy Arena in Paris, France.

San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker returned home to his native France for the first time with his NBA team before a sellout crowd.