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Timberwolves to Play Mavericks Twice in Abu Dhabi During 2023 Preseason

Two of the game’s brightest young stars in Anthony Edwards and Luka Dončić will face off in another installment of the NBA’s global initiative to grow the game.

Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves are going global this October.

The NBA announced on Tuesday morning the Wolves will play Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks on October 5 and 7 in Abu Dhabi, UAE to headline the 2023 installment of the “Abu Dhabi Games.”

“As the NBA continues its global expansion, the Minnesota Timberwolves are honored to be selected for The NBA Abu Dhabi Games,” Timberwolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson said in a statement. “Thank you to the NBA and the host city of Abu Dhabi for allowing us the opportunity to bring fans together through the game of basketball.”

The games are part of a multiyear collaboration between the NBA and Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi that also launched in January an expanded second season of the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, featuring boys’ and girls’ leagues each composed of 450 players ages 11-14 from schools across the UAE capital. As part of the activation, several former NBA stars will make the trip abroad to take part in the events surrounding the games.

Teams first began playing in Abu Dhabi last year, when Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks battled Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks in a pair of contests during the preseason.

Despite traveling to nearly 21 hours each way to and from the UAE, the Bucks still played in the standard five preseason games; Milwaukee had four days in between their opener on October 1 and first game in Abu Dhabi on October 6, and had just two days in between their second game in the UAE on October 8 and their penultimate preseason contest on October 11. As you can expect, the Bucks sat key players in that October 11 game, so expect something similar from the Timberwolves. Thankfully the trip abroad didn’t slow down the Bucks, who started 9-0 to begin the season after an 0-5 exhibition record.

The Abu Dhabi games will come on the heels of an international summer for the Timberwolves, who may see Kyle Anderson (China), Rudy Gobert (France), Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic) all suit up in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia from August 25 through September 10.