EuroLeague wants to keep best young players in Europe. Shocker.

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In a stunning development, the head of the EuroLeague would like to find a way to keep that continent’s best players over there and out of the NBA for as long as possible.

Shocking a league executive would be guided by blatant self-interest. That would never happen here in America.

EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu spoke with Sports Illustrated and talked about how the EuroLeague team’s don’t really want to rent American star players — he’s right about that — but also talked about trying to inject his issues into the NBA labor discussions.

Bertomeu told SI.com that he met with NBA commissioner David Stern approximately a year and a half ago to discuss ways to help prevent young Europeans from moving to the NBA prematurely.

“We made a proposal once we knew that negotiations [with the players’ union] had to take place,” Bertomeu said. “We presented a document of elements that could be included in the negotiations between the NBA and the players’ union.

“We can’t give too many concrete details. But part of the proposal included a formula that included the elements of age, rookie salaries and how the rookie salaries computed into the salary cap. It was designed to create an incentive for the players to stay in Europe.”

The NBA owners may like this idea — what they want to do is reduce the risk in their draft. They might back a system that keeps players developing overseas longer before they are drafted, thereby reducing that risk (Manu Ginobili came over at 25 fully developed, owners like that kind of thing). It’s the same reason there is an age limit in the NBA — the owners would prefer to have player develop more before the draft and do that development on someone else’s dime. NBA teams sort of do this now by drafting young Europeans in the second round and stashing them overseas.

As for what’s best for that player to earn a living… not at the top of the owners priority list. Or the EuroLeague’s CEO.