January 8, 2019 / 12:26 AM / 4 months ago

NBA: Lakers, Nets to play China preseason games in October

FILE PHOTO: Dec 23, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts during the first quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers will play a pair of exhibition games against the Brooklyn Nets in China later this year ahead of the 2019-20 National Basketball Association (NBA) season, the league said on Monday.

The Lakers, 16-time champions, and Nets will play in Shanghai on Oct. 10 followed by a game in Shenzhen on Oct. 12, extending the trend of NBA squads competing in China.

The games will mark the Lakers’ second trip to China following their initial visit in 2013 while the Nets will be playing in China for the third time after visits in 2010 and 2014.

Since 2004, 17 NBA teams have played 26 games in Beijing, Guangzhou, Macao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei.

The Lakers have not made the playoffs since 2013 but will surely be a draw given a roster that currently features three-time NBA champion James.

Nets minority partner Joe Tsai, who bought 49 percent of the team last year, is the executive vice chairman of the China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba and was named to the NBA China board of directors last October.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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