The fourth annual Canada Series was officially announced today by the NBA, with five teams set to play games in our home and native land in the pre-season run-up to the 2015-16 season.
As expected, the Raptors will factor in heavily, playing three games in all. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves (a city both close to Canada, and home to Toronto-born Andrew Wiggins) will be featured in two games. Also in the mix: the Chicago Bulls, the Washington Wizards (assuming Paul Pierce wants to go through customs again), and the Los Angeles Clippers. A total of four games will be played as part of the series.
Here's the full schedule:
Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers - October 4 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Chicago Bulls - October 10 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg
Toronto Raptors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - October 14 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa
Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards - October 23 at the Bell Centre in Montreal
Tickets for all four games go on sale on June 6, so get ready. More information can be found here.
Now, some words from the most visible (and profane) man in Canadian basketball, Masai Ujiri:
"As the country's lone NBA team, we are honoured to again be part of the NBA Canada Series. The crowds last season in Vancouver and Montreal were enthusiastic and passionate about the NBA. We look forward to the same excitement for the Raptors in those two cities and our nation's capital."
Canada has come a long way from the days of the Vancouver vs. Toronto Naismith Cup (a series the Raptors won 4-1, so there). The league now features 12 Canadian born players, the second-most from any country. Wiggins just won Rookie of the Year. And while the Raptors are currently kind of a bummer, and the Grizzlies play in Memphis, Canadian basketball has never been stronger.
What do you guys think? Anyone from Winnipeg, Vancouver, Ottawa or Montreal getting fired up?