Jazz, Raptors, Trail Blazers and Wizards to host NBL’s Cairns Taipans and the New Zealand Breakers in 2023 NBA preseason

MELBOURNE AND NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) today announced that the Utah Jazz, Toronto Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards will host the Cairns Taipans and the New Zealand Breakers for four preseason games in October, marking the fifth time in seven years that NBL teams will travel to the U.S. to participate in the NBA preseason.

The Taipans, who will be making their NBA preseason debut, will face the Wizards on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Capital One Arena, followed by a matchup against the Raptors on Sunday, Oct. 15 at Scotiabank Arena.  The Breakers, who last participated in the NBA preseason in 2019, will play their fourth and fifth NBA preseason games when they visit the Trail Blazers on Oct. 10 at Moda Center and the Jazz on Monday, Oct. 16 at Vivint Arena.  All four games are scheduled to be broadcast live for free on Kayo Freebies.

The Trail Blazers feature Australia Men’s National Team member Matisse Thybulle and former Breakers player Rayan Rupert, the 43rd overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, who helped the Breakers reach the 2023 NBL Finals.  Rupert is also the fifth NBL Next Star – the NBL’s player development program for top prospects – to be drafted directly from the NBL into the NBA, following LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets), R.J. Hampton (most recently with the Detroit Pistons) and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Josh Giddey and Ousmane Dieng.  Former NBL player Xavier Cooks, a two-time NBL champion and the 2023 NBL MVP, will face the Taipans as a member of the Wizards.

A record 10 Australian players were among the 120 international players on opening-night NBA rosters last season, and 14 players with NBL experience played in the NBA last season.  NBA games and programming reach fans in Australia on ESPN and NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service available on the NBA App.

Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program, has been held in Australia twice, including last year at NBA Global Academy in Canberra, the NBA Academy program’s hub for top athletes from outside the U.S.  Three NBA Global Academy graduates have been drafted into the NBA since the academy opened in 2018: Giddey, 2022 No. 8 overall pick Dyson Daniels (New Orleans Pelicans) and 2023 No. 47 overall pick Mojave King (Indiana Pacers).

Last year, the NBA and Fanatics opened the league’s first brick-and-mortar NBA Stores in Australia in Melbourne and Sydney.  The NBA and Basketball Magic, an Australian sports management company focused on basketball development for young players, also recently launched the first NBA Basketball School in Australia.  Located at the state-of-the-art facility at Cranbrook School in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, NBA Basketball School Australia is open to players of all skill levels across Sydney.

Fans in Australia can continue to shop for the latest NBA merchandise at NBAStore.com.au, the official online NBA Store in Australia.  For more information about the NBA, fans in Australia can visit The Sporting News Australia, download the NBA App and follow the NBA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  For more on the NBL, fans can visit NBL.com.au.

Executive Quotes:

NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger:

“With the Adelaide 36ers having defeated the Phoenix Suns last year, we know these four games will generate great interest and anticipation in Australia the U.S. and Canada.  The connection and relationship between the NBL and NBA are constantly growing and evolving, and these preseason meetings are a definite highlight in the calendar.  We can’t wait to see Cairns and New Zealand take on some of their very best in October.”

Cairns Taipans CEO Mark Beecroft:

“This is monumental for Cairns – not just for our club, but for our city.  We cannot wait to take the Taipans franchise to the U.S. and Canada for the first time.  Our team has a growing history of fostering NBA-quality talent, and we’re excited to have three players that will be declaring for next year’s NBA Draft participate in these games.  They will represent Far North Queensland well, as will the rest of our roster.”

New Zealand Breakers Owner Matt Walsh:

“We are excited to continue the tradition of participating in the NBLxNBA.  It’s an amazing opportunity for our players to play on basketball’s biggest stage against the best teams in the world.  The Breakers have become the benchmark globally for developing future NBA talent and we can’t wait to play against former Breaker Next Star Rayan Rupert.”

NBA Asia Vice President of Marketing Partnerships Francesco Suarez:

“We’re thrilled to continue the tradition of hosting NBL teams during the NBA preseason and look forward to four great games in October when the Taipans and the Breakers visit the Jazz, Raptors, Trail Blazers, and Wizards.  These games generate significant excitement and interest in Australia and New Zealand and showcase how much talent there is around the world.”

About the NBA
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a global sports and media organization with the mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball.  Built around five professional sports leagues:  the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League, the NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming available in 214 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 200 countries and territories on all seven continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2022-23 season featured 120 international players from 41 countries.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 2.1 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.

About the NBL
The NBL was founded in 1979 and is the world’s best basketball league outside of the NBA.  Currently composed of 10 teams (nine in Australia and one in New Zealand), game attendances, TV viewership, digital traffic and fan engagement have skyrocketed following new ownership in 2015.  NBL teams are located in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Cairns, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Wollongong.