Taipans, Breakers earn NBA pre-season tickets

Andrew Cornaga/AAP PHOTOS

Cairns Taipans boss Mark Beecroft has labelled his NBL team's chance to play two NBA teams in pre-season fixtures as "monumental" for the club and city.

The community-owned club will make the trip for the first time, set to play the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors in October in the fifth NBL excursion to North America in seven years.

The Breakers, who last participated in the NBA pre-season in 2019, will play the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz.

NBL teams have punched above their weight on previous visits, with the Adelaide 36ers notching an incredible win over heavyweights the Phoenix Suns last year.

The link between the leagues has strengthened with the resurgence of the NBL, 14 players with NBL experience featuring in NBA games last season.

"This is monumental for Cairns – not just for our club, but for our city," Beecroft said.

"We cannot wait to take the Taipans franchise to the US 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."

Reigning NBL MVP Xavier Cooks is with Washington while Portland boast Boomer Matisse Thybulle and former Breaker Rayan Rupert.

Rupert was the fifth NBL Next Star to be drafted directly from the NBL to the NBA.

"It's an amazing opportunity for our players to play on basketball's biggest stage against the best teams in the world," Breakers owner Matt Walsh said.

"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."


* Taipans v Wizards, Capital One Arena, October 11

* Breakers v Trail Blazers, Moda Center, October 11

* Taipans v Raptors, Scotiabank Arena, October 16

* Breakers v Jazz, Vivint Arena, October 17.