MEXICO CITY – The NBA’s G-League is expanding to Mexico City.
The official minor league of the NBA will add its 29th team in the 2020-21 season. Capitanes, which has been a professional team in the Mexican League for years, will be joining the G-League, commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday before the Mavericks-Pistons game.
“This is truly a historic milestone for the NBA,” Silver said. “This demonstrates our commitment to fans in Mexico and Latin America. The NBA G-League has long focused on growing the game in Mexico and Latin America. Having a team in Mexico City is an important step in realizing that vision.”
The Mavericks-Pistons game Thursday, along with the Suns and Spurs playing Saturday, are the 29th and 30th NBA games to be played in Mexico. The league’s presence south of the border has grown over nearly three decades.
The G-League has been involved, too, with the Texas Legends having a working relationship with the city of Monterrey. Eduardo Najera, the best Mexican-born player in NBA history, has worked extensively with the Legends.
As of now, Najera is not involved in the Mexico City G-League team, but that could change,
Silver said that eventually bringing an NBA team to Mexico is on the league’s radar, although he added the NBA is not in expansion mode at the moment.
Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban said he was very much in favor of bringing a G-League team to Mexico City, despite his concerns about the legendary traffic problems here.
“I think it’s a great way to see how it all works out, see if there are any issues or whatever,” Cuban said. “I think it’s great. Mexico City is great. It’s kind of like a warmer version of Toronto. It’s a global city. It’s got everything. And it’s a lot closer for us.”
Who needs oxygen?: It seemed like a fair question at the time, but Rick Carlisle swatted it down like Kristaps Porzings rejecting a weak drive to the basket.
Why in 7,300-feet elevation like Mexico City not have oxygen to use on the bench?
He had a simple answer.
“My understanding is that it doesn’t really help, for whatever reason,” Carlisle said. “To get truly acclimated, you have to come here two weeks early.
“My understanding is that oxygen, while it sounds like a great thing, doesn’t really work. And if it did, don’t you think every NBA team would have oxygen on the sideline in Denver and Utah. There’s no rules against it, to my knowledge, but if it was effective, I think teams would use it. But my understanding is it’s not.”
Drummond answers the call: The Mavericks had a very smooth visit to Mexico, all things considered.
Not so for the Pistons, who were concerned Andre Drummond, the NBA’s leading rebounder, would miss the game after an allergic reaction after the team arrived on Tuesday.
“He’s allergic to avocado,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “The first day we got here, he had some. The next day, his eye was all swollen. I thought he’d gotten ahold of some bad tequila or something. But he doesn’t drink tequila. But he had a bad reaction.”
Drummond was able to get his contact lenses in and proceeded to wreak havoc on the Mavericks in the paint.
Briefly: Carlisle on having Eduardo Najera on the trip with the Mavericks. “He’s not playing, but if he was, he’d have six good hard fouls for us if we needed them.” . . . There were roughly 500 media credentials issued for the NBA Mexico Games . . . The Mavericks have played the most games in Mexico, seven. Both the Suns and the Spurs each have played in Mexico six times.
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