Wembanyama, Spurs confirm that they’re headed to France next season

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Victor Wembanyama sounds like he expects to be playing an NBA game — or two, perhaps — in his native France next season.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich confirmed Sunday night that the Spurs are heading to Paris next season, something that former Spurs guard Tony Parker revealed to French reporters several weeks ago.

“We’re going there,” Popovich said. The comment about Paris came after San Antonio topped Brooklyn in Austin, Texas, in what was a home game for the Spurs.

Added Wembanyama, the French star and overwhelming favorite to win the NBA’s rookie of the year honor this season: “I’m looking forward to it very much.”

The NBA hasn’t announced which teams will be playing in Paris next season; it has long been expected that San Antonio and Indiana would be the teams selected. At the All-Star Game last month, Commissioner Adam Silver said Wembanyama “would very much like to see” the Spurs playing in France next season.

“I can say that we will be back playing a regular-season game again in Paris,” Silver said last month. “There’s some discussions ongoing about which arena we will play in. Stay tuned in terms of the Spurs playing in Paris.”

Also unclear: if it’ll be a one- or two-game trip for the Spurs.

Parker said at this year’s NBA Paris Game between Brooklyn and Cleveland that he expects the league to play two games in France next season. Wembanyama appeared to make reference to that possibility as well when asked on Sunday night about the prospect of playing in France with the Spurs.

“Obviously, it’s going to be probably the game or the games where it’s going to be very important for me because of course it’s me coming back (to) where I come from,” Wembanyama said. “It might be in my city or around the city. It’s going to be very special.”

The NBA has played three regular season games in Paris since 2020, all of them taking place in January. The league hasn’t revealed when it’ll announce the slate of international games for next season. Silver has said that Mexico City — which has played host to 13 regular-season games over the years, 10 of those coming since 2017 — is expected back on the NBA slate for 2024-25 as well.

“The chances are very high,” Silver told reporters in Mexico City earlier this season.

Wembanyama is also expected to play several games in France this summer, representing his country in the Paris Olympics.


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