In January, the Phoenix Suns
faced the San Antonio Spurs
in Mexico City. The NBA will
return with two more games
in Mexico in December.
At Home and Overseas, the NBA Draws Interest in the Sport
By Greg Echlin
During last year’s NBA off-season, the Kevin Durant free-agent sweepstakes and Team USA’s Olympic gold medal created plenty of buzz. But this year’s developments—with trades, signings
and all the hype around Los Angeles Lakers draft pick
Lonzo Ball—have raised the decibel level even higher.
PHOTOGRAPH: EFE VIA USA TODAY SPOR TS
The start of play should bring still more excitement. Several teams are preparing for games in new
arenas or finalizing plans for new homes in the seasons to come. And the league continues its growth
overseas, with international games planned in China, Mexico and London during the preseason and
regular season ahead. Meanwhile, the 2016–2017
season will see a scheduling shift aimed at limiting
the number of back-to-back games that players have
to endure—a change that required moving up the
start of the season by a full week.
NBA teams that are serious about competing for
a championship—and matching the standard the
Golden State Warriors have forged—knew they had
to step up. In many cases they did. Oklahoma City
grabbed Paul George from Indianapolis and Carmelo
Anthony from New York, Chris Paul shifted from the
Los Angeles Clippers to the Houston Rockets, and
Jimmy Butler went from Chicago to Minnesota. But
nothing topped the summer headlines more than
Kyrie Irving’s desire to be dealt from the Cleveland
Cavaliers and the eventual blockbuster swap with the
Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas.
Suddenly the games featuring established stars
in new homes take on a different light. The NBA’s