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¡Viva la Liga G en México!

The NBA G League is expanding to Mexico City next year, perhaps a first step to sticking a full-blown NBA team in the metropolis.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Detroit Pistons Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Amid the league’s games in Mexico City this week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that a new G League team would be based there beginning in the 2020-21 season. This is a mammoth move forward for the NBA’s relationship with Mexico, extending beyond the ongoing slate of a couple of regular-season games there and various clinics and events. This is a real team in a real minor league with real potential to test out the logistics of in-season travel, logistics — heck, even the altitude effects. (Mexico City’s altitude is almost 50 percent higher than that of Denver. Mexico City is like the Mile And A Half City.)

The new G League team will be called Capitanes, as a current Mexico pro team is essentially switching leagues. It will be an unaffiliated team — so no sole NBA partner franchise — and gets the league one team away from 30 total. Capitanes will be drafting and signing players not attached to NBA rosters from the overall pool, but it won’t be getting development first-round picks or veteran rehab projects. One assumes that in the interest of boosting Mexican basketball there will be an element of giving Mexicans and Latin Americans in general on the NBA fringe a local opportunity to compete on one of the biggest stages in the sport.

This is either a little experiment to see if Mexico can join Canada as nice team-hosting neighbors, or it’s the start of something big for the league and for Mexican basketball fans. ¡Buena suerte!

Scores

Sixers 115, Celtics 109
Cavaliers 117, Spurs 109 (OT)
Mavericks 122, Pistons 111
Blazers 99, Nuggets 114

Schedule

Here’s the schedule of national TV games this weekend. Full schedule here.

Friday’s games:
Lakers at Heat, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Clippers at Wolves, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Saturday’s games:
Spurs at Suns, 5 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Nets at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Sunday’s game:
Knicks at Nuggets, 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Links

Prayers all the way up for David Stern, who had emergency brain surgery on Thursday. One of the most important figures in the modern NBA’s success, one of the most important figures in American sports, and a really decent human. Best wishes to his wife and family.

Wonderful piece by Michael Pina on how Bam Adebayo is redefining the position of NBA center.

I wrote up an idea to split the NBA season in two to increase the importance of the regular season and create some additional seeding intrigue.

Marc Spears on NBA teams’ partnership with the organization Represent Justice to connect players and coaches in conversation with incarcerated individuals and host games at correctional facilities. The Kings actually held the first event on Thursday at the famous Folsom Prison near Sacramento — Luke Walton actually suited up to play with a group of inmates while Trevor Ariza and Marvin Bagley III (among others) coached him up. Shouts to the Warriors, who have been doing this in recent years too.

In appreciation of Ja Morant’s dunk on the Suns.

The making of a high school superteam.

Huge road win in Boston for Joel Embiid and the Sixers.

15 players that NBA contenders should trade for.

40-point triple-double for Luka Doncic in Mexico City. And he spoke some (continental) Spanish to the crowd before the game. (He played in Madrid before being drafted.)

B-R-U-T-A-L loss for the Spurs against Cleveland.

Is Mo Bamba having a moment?

Dion Waiters has been suspended by the Heat for the third time this season. You got a punch card or something, man?

Jonathan Tjarks on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s continued evolution.

Be excellent to each other.