NBA Rumors: Luka Dončić, Mavericks to Play 2023 Preseason Games in Abu Dhabi, Spain

Adam Wells

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 31: Reggie Bullock #25, Luka Doncic #77 and Spencer Dinwiddie #26 of the Dallas Mavericks smiles during the game against the San Antonio Spurs  on December 31, 2022 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

After making its debut in Abu Dhabi this preseason, the NBA will return to the city next season, with the Dallas Mavericks expected to be the feature attraction.

Per NBA reporter Marc Stein, Luka Dončić and the Mavs will play a game in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, along with a game in Spain against Real Madrid, Dončić's first professional team.

"Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been determined to arrange a preseason game in Madrid on behalf of his franchise player," Stein wrote.

Dončić began his career with Real Madrid. He played in his first professional game at the age of 16 in April 2015.

The 23-year-old emerged as a superstar in his second full season with the club. He became the youngest player ever to be named EuroLeague MVP when he won the award at 19 years old.

Real Madrid won three Liga ACB titles and the 2017-18 EuroLeague championship with Dončić on the roster. He was named EuroLeague Final Four MVP after averaging 15.5 points, five rebounds and three assists per game in two games.

After leading Real Madrid to the EuroLeague title, Dončić declared for the 2018 NBA draft. He was considered one of the top prospects in the class and was selected No. 3 overall by the Atlanta Hawks.

The Hawks traded Dončić's rights to the Mavericks for the rights to Trae Young. While both players have been terrific through their first four-plus seasons, it's hard not to say that Dallas came out ahead in the deal.

Dončić is on the shortlist of best players in the NBA right now. He is leading the league in scoring average (34.2 points per game), ranks fourth in assists (8.9) and is tied for 22nd in rebounds (8.7).

Per player efficiency rating, Dončić's 32.60 mark is the second-best in the NBA, behind only Nikola Jokić at 32.93.

Dallas has won six straight games and ranks fourth in the Western Conference with a 21-16 record.

The NBA signed a deal with Abu Dhabi in November 2021 to play games in the Arabian Gulf as it looks to expand its global reach. The Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks played two preseason games at Etihad Arena on Oct. 6 and 8.