New York: New Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt will face his former club, reigning Euroleague champion Maccabi Tel Aviv, to open a record-setting nine-game international pre-season tour announced Tuesday by the NBA.
Israel`s Maccabi Haifa and Brazil`s Flamengo will also travel to North America in October and the nine games against NBA clubs are the most played by international teams in North America during any pre-season run.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, who defeated Real Madrid in the Europleague final under Blatt, must now go against Blatt and his new charges, including NBA superstar LeBron James, star guard Kyrie Irving and top forward Kevin Love.
Six-time European champion Maccabi Tel Aviv launches the international games at Cleveland on October 5 and visits the Brooklyn Nets two nights later.
Reigning Brazilian champions Flamengo, who play in Rio de Janeiro, will visit Phoenix on October 8, Orlando on October 15 and Memphis on October 17 in their first games against NBA opposition.
Maccabi Haifa, the reigning Super League champion, opens at Washington on October 15, visits Portland two nights later, plays at Sacramento on October 18 and concludes its North American tour at Toronto on October 22.
In addition to hosting international clubs, nine NBA teams will play seven pre-season games this year in six nations beyond the US and Canadian borders.
Last season, the NBA featured a record 92 players from outside the United States, a group from a combined 39 nations.