The Utah Jazz are one of three NBA teams set to host squads from Australia’s NBL during preseason play.
After inking Thabo Sefolosha and Jonas Jerebko, the Utah Jazz have more international flair than any other team in the NBA. So, it’s apropos that the Jazz band are one of just a handful of teams set to face squads from across the globe during the upcoming preseason.
According to reports, the Jazz will play host to the NBL’s Sydney Kings for an exhibition game on October 2 (the third day of the month for Aussies) at Vivint Arena. Meanwhile, Melbourne United will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Brisbane Bullets are set to face the Phoenix Suns.
A formal announcement about the games is forthcoming. According to ESPN Australia, Jazzman Joe Ingles will join NBL director Larry Kestelman and Kings coach Andrew Gaze at a press conference in Sydney.
The Kings were one of Australian hoops’ premiere clubs during the early 2000s. They secured an NBL title three-peat from 2003-05 and also played in the Grand Final in ’06 and ’08. More recently, they’ve struggled to recapture their former glory, finishing with a 13-15 record last season.
They’ll face a Jazz squad looking to bounce back from the departure of Gordon Hayward.
In addition to the NBA vs. NBL angle, the bout between the Jazz and the Kings will pit members of Australia’s national basketball team against one another. Ingles and Dante Exum will be key cogs for the Jazz next season, while the Kings are led by their Aussie Boomers teammates Brad Newley and Kevin Lisch.
Former Kansas standout Perry Ellis has also signed on with the Kings for next season.
Sydney has a quick turnaround following their date with the Jazz and the long flight home. On October 7, they’ll open the NBL season at home against the Adelaide 36ers. Incidentally, the 36ers trio of Nate Sobey, Mitch Creek and head coach Joey Wright were with the Jazz for summer league play.
Ingles, Exum and the Jazz will tip-off their regular season in Mid-October; opening night in the NBA is October 17.
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NBL leadership has been working to foster a relationship with the Association in recent years. While their teams will travel to the U.S. for this round of games, the day when NBA games are played down under could be fast approaching.