Six NBA teams to host five NBL teams in 2018 NBA preseason
MELBOURNE AND NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) today announced that for the second consecutive year, NBL teams will travel to the U.S. to participate in the NBA preseason.
Five NBL teams, including the Adelaide 36ers, Melbourne United, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats and Sydney Kings, will play a total of seven games against NBA teams in the 2018 NBA preseason, including the Denver Nuggets, LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz, from Sept. 28 – Oct. 5. This marks the most games NBA teams will play against teams from an international league in a single preseason.
The first game will feature the Melbourne United against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sept. 28 at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers are led by Australian point guard and 2018 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and Brett Brown, head coach of the 76ers and former coach of the Australia men’s national team.
On Sept. 29, the Perth Wildcats will play Australians Joe Ingles and Dante Exum of the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Former NBA player Andrew Bogut and the Sydney Kings will then face the LA Clippers at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sept. 30, before the Phoenix Suns host the New Zealand Breakers at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Oct. 3.
The schedule culminates on Oct. 5 with three games: the Perth Wildcats vs. the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center; Melbourne United vs. the Toronto Raptors at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada; the Adelaide 36ers vs. the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
There were a record-tying eight Australian players on 2017-18 opening night NBA rosters, including Simmons, Ingles, Exum and Bogut. Seven Australian players and one New Zealander were on team rosters for the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
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Executive and Player Quotes
NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman: “The increased number of games symbolizes the continued strength of the NBL-NBA partnership and the growth of our league in Australia and New Zealand. These initiatives continue to position the NBL as the second best league and entertainment product in the world outside the NBA.”
NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy: “We are excited to build on our partnership with the NBL to expand the number of their teams participating in this year’s NBA preseason. There’s incredible momentum around basketball in Australia and New Zealand, and our fans can look forward to a tremendous slate of games showcasing some of the best talent the NBA and NBL have to offer.”
Sydney Kings Center Andrew Bogut: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to play for the Sydney Kings against the LA Clippers. This is also a great opportunity to showcase the NBL against some of the best players in the world at a time when the league and Australian and New Zealand basketball is thriving.”
Sydney Kings Head Coach and five-time Olympian Andrew Gaze: “We loved going to play in the NBA preseason last year and for five teams to now have that opportunity this year is another feather in the cap of the NBL. We can’t wait to take on the LA Clippers and I’m sure Australian and New Zealand basketball fans will be just as excited about these games.”