Rayan Rupert was drafted by Portland earlier this year. Picture: nzbreakers.basketball

Two NBL teams will head to the United States and Canada ahead of matches against the Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers.

The Cairns Taipans and New Zealand Breakers will be the NBL teams attempting to replicate the Adelaide 36ers’ success over the Phoenix Suns a year ago.

It will be the Taipans first NBL x NBA trip, and they’ll face the Wizards on October 11 at Capital One Arena before taking on the Raptors on October 16 at Scotiabank Arena.

The Breakers, who last went to the NBA pre-season in 2019, will take on the Trail Blazers on October 11 at Moda Center and the Jazz on October 17 at Vivint Arena.

The Australian connection is ever present, with Boomer Matisse Thybulle at the Trail Blazers and former Breaker and Next Star Rayan Rupert, who was Pick 43 in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Former Sydney Kings star Xavier Cooks is at the Wizards.


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Taipans CEO Mark Beecroft said it’s a massive opportunity for his franchise.

“This is monumental for Cairns – not just for our club, but for our city,” he said.

“We cannot wait to take the Taipans franchise to the U.S. and Canada for the first time.  

“Our team has a growing history of fostering NBA-quality talent, and we’re excited to have three players that will be declaring for next year’s NBA Draft participate in these games.  

“They will represent Far North Queensland well, as will the rest of our roster.”

Breakers owner Matt Walsh said it’s an exciting chance for his team to return and face the best in the world.

“We are excited to continue the tradition of participating in the NBLxNBA,” he said.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for our players to play on basketball’s biggest stage against the best teams in the world.

“The Breakers have become the benchmark globally for developing future NBA talent and we can’t wait to play against former Breaker Next Star Rayan Rupert.”

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