The Dallas Mavericks have one of the biggest international superstars in basketball in Luka Doncic. The Slovenian-born three-time All-Star loves representing his country, and he starred for Real Madrid as a teenager before coming to the NBA. He is one of the most famous people from Slovenia, and he is massive in Spain and across Europe. All of that makes the Mavs the perfect candidates to head abroad whenever the NBA is trying to expand its brand.
According to Marc Stein, the NBA plans to stage another preseason game in Abu Dhabi next season with the Mavericks taking part. He notes in his Substack (subscription required) that it could be part of a two-game trip that features a contest in Spain against Luka’s former club Real Madrid. Both contests would be massive ticket sellers and revenue boosters if they go on as planned.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has itched to get Doncic a game against his former club, and the league planning the team’s trip to the United Arab Emirates could be the perfect opportunity. The Mavs made a preseason trip overseas during Luka’s rookie season. Here is a look back at that before diving into who the Mavericks could play in Abu Dhabi.
Rumors: Dallas Mavericks to play a preseason game in Abu Dhabi
In 2018, just months after Doncic was drafted, the Mavericks headed to China for two preseason games against the Philadelphia 76ers. It was fan's first chance to see Luka play in a Mavericks uniform against another NBA team. Dallas split the two games, and Doncic scored 27 combined points over the two exhibitions.
The opposition is also likely to have an international superstar on their team when the Mavericks head to Abu Dhabi. The Bucks played the Hawks in the UAE during this year’s preseason, so the obvious opponent would be the Denver Nuggets featuring Nikola Jokic. The NBA could opt for a bigger draw like the Lakers or recent rival Suns as the opposition.
This is a developing story that is not finalized yet. It appears the Dallas Mavericks will head to Abu Dhabi in October, but no word yet on when or who they will face in the preseason exhibition.