Some of Australia’s finest local basketballers are set to get the opportunity of a lifetime in being thoroughly rumbled by NBA rookies and bench players in a groundbreaking series of matches set to be officially announced this morning.
The NBL‘s Sydney Kings, Brisbane Bullets, and Melbourne United have reportedly all struck a deal to travel to the US and compete against a string of high-profile NBA teams in a series of pre-season warm-up matches prior to the start of the 2017-18 NBA season.
It’s understood that the Kings will be taking on the Utah Jazz on October 3rd (Australian time) at the Jazz’s formidable home court of Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Following that, United will clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and the Bullets will take on the Phoenix Suns at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Arizona.
The clash between the Kings and the Jazz comes right on the eve of the new NBL season, with the Kings facing a tough turnaround to get back to Australia in time for their season-opening clash against Adelaide on October 7th. Both the United/Thunder and Bullets/Suns games will take place once the 2017-18 NBL regular season has already commenced. The NBA regular season is set to tip off later that month on October 17th.
The announcement of this series of games, in all seriousness, represents a major step forward for the game in Australia and comes after a long and dedicated effort by league administrators to establish a working relationship between the NBL and the NBA.
Australian ballers Joe Ingles and Dante Exum are current members of the Utah Jazz roster, and could see court time while taking on the Kings as the Jazz prepare for a Gordon Hayward-less campaign.
Broadcast information for the games is yet to be confirmed.