By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
The Oklahoma City Thunder are heading back to Europe this fall as part of the NBA’s Global Games. They’ll play two pre-season games in October against Euroleague Basketball teams Real Madrid and FC Barcelona Lassa.
OKC previously played a pair of European preseason games in 2013 against the Philadelphia 76ers in Manchester, England and against Fenerbahçe Ulker in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Thunder will tip off against nine-time Euroleague Champion and 33-time Spanish League Champion Real Madrid on October 3rd at the Barclaycard Center, before travelling to Barcelona to face 18-time Spanish League Champion and two-time Euroleague Champion FC Barcelona Lassa on October 5th at the Palau Sant Jordi.
That game should be particularly interesting because Thunder draft and stash prospect Alex Abrines, named a EuroLeague Rising Star last season, plays for Barcelona.
There’d been some talk earlier that the Thunder would try to buy out his contract with the Spanish club and being him over to the NBA for this coming season but a lot of that chatter has died down lately.
“Coming off one of the most exciting Western Conference Finals in recent memory, the Oklahoma City Thunder is an ideal team to bring the excitement and passion of the NBA directly to our European fans,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Sliver in a statement released by the league. “
“The Thunder’s matchups against two heavyweights of European basketball will show off the best of our game while also providing a focal point for a wide range of grassroots basketball activities in Madrid and Barcelona.”
Thunder GM Sam Presti also weighed in on the matchups saying, “As the Thunder continues to build its legacy in sport, these games against FC Barcelona Lassa and Real Madrid give us an opportunity to compete against two clubs rich in tradition, and I’m looking forward to our players, coaches and staff experiencing these contests. We see it as an honor for our organization to play in exhibition games like these that help expand the game of basketball.”
Summer League Starts Saturday
With so much attention focused on the NBA’s free agency period which begins Friday morning at midnight some fans might be overlooking the start of Summer League action.
The Thunder’s squad actually opens play in the Orlando Summer League Saturday morning against the Dallas Mavericks. You can see the game on NBA-TV.
The Thunder have not officially released their roster but point guard Cameron Payne and forwards Josh Huestis and Mitch McGary are expected to play. Former OU star Ryan Spangler has been signed to the summer league roster and will be in action.
Rookie forward Domantas Sabonis, whom the Thunder acquired in a draft night trade with the Magic, will not play in Orlando, he’ll be spending time with his country’s Olympic team.