As was the case during the 2013-14 campaign, the NBA has added international games to its schedule for next season. They will be played in Mexico City and London, respectively.
Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves will square off in Mexico City on Nov. 12, and the Milwaukee Bucks will play the New York Knicks at The O2 in London on Jan. 15.
Those two regular-season meetings are set to follow a slate of international preseason contests in October, per the AP. The other matchups will reportedly feature the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs, who are all scheduled to play in either Brazil, China, Germany or Turkey.
Last year’s preseason exhibitions were played in Turkey, Spain, England, Brazil, Taiwan, China and the Phillipines. Considering that the 2013 season’s collection of international games was so expansive, there’s reason to believe the new schedule is currently incomplete. The dates for 2014’s preseason games have yet to be announced.
However, the two regular-season affairs for next season echo those that were on the schedule during the 2013-14 campaign. On Jan. 16, the Nets dispatched the Atlanta Hawks in London, 127-110. Joe Johnson led the way against his former team by draining six of eight three-pointers en route to 29 points.
The Dec. 4 meeting at Mexico City Arena between the Spurs and Timberwolves, however, failed to go off without a hitch. After the arena experienced a generator malfunction—causing the building to fill with smoke—the game was postponed. The league rescheduled the Western Conference meeting for April 8 at the Target Center in Minneapolis—a 110-91 T-Wolves win.
The scene earlier tonight in Mexico City, where the arena was evacuated about an hour before Spurs-Wolves tipoff. pic.twitter.com/GtrqDZ1Oeg— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 5, 2013
The scene at the Spurs/Wolves game in Mexico City right now. Heavy smoke, arena has been evacuated. pic.twitter.com/ZPM1lsfEJ6— Brett Poirier NBA (@BrettNBA) December 5, 2013
These global games continue a longstanding tradition meant to bring the NBA product to an international audience. The first international exhibition was played more than 30 years ago on Sept. 7, 1978, in Tel Aviv, Israel, per NBA.com.
Also, former commissioner David Stern displayed a staunch commitment to international audiences during his tenure. He even said last year on ESPN radio's "SVP & Rusillo" that there would “for sure” be NBA teams based in Europe 20 years from now.
While that doesn’t appear to be feasible in the near future, the NBA plans to continue its mission to deliver its product to a wider audience.
“These regular-season games will bring the excitement and incredible competition of our league to more fans in Europe and Latin America,” commissioner Adam Silver said, per the AP.