19 October 2019 – The new NBA season, which will be the 74th in the league’s history, will start on 22 October with a record number of Croatian players involved.
Never has Croatia been represented as it will be this season in the world’s best basketball league with seven players taking part. This is more than the world runners-up Spain will have. Last season there were six Croatians in the league.
Croatian players in the 2019-20 NBA season:
Bojan Bogdanović – Utah Jazz
In July this year, Bogdanović signed a 4 year, $73 million contract with the Utah Jazz, making him the all-time highest-paid Croatian athlete. The 30-year-old shooting guard and small forward previously played with the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, and Indiana Pacers.
Dario Šarić – Phoenix Suns
Šarić was traded to the Phoenix Suns this season. He played for Minnesota Timberwolves after a successful rookie season with Philadelphia 76ers.
Ivica Zubac – Los Angeles Clippers
Zubac and Michael Beasley were traded to the Los Angeles Clippers from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Mike Muscala. Zubac became a key member for the Clippers during the final stretch of the season, eventually reaching the playoffs for the first time in his career with them.
Mario Hezonja – Portland Trail Blazers
The former Orlando Magic and New York Knicks forward signed a two-year, $3.7 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in the summer.
Dragan Bender – Milwaukee Bucks
The 2.16 m forward signed a deal over the summer with the Milwaukee Bucks. He was at the Phoenix Suns from 2016 and is still only 21-years-old.
Ante Žižić – Cleveland Cavaliers
Žižić was selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, by the Boston Celtics and was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He will miss the opening four weeks of the season with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Luka Šamanić – San Antonio Spurs
Just 19-years-old, Šamanić was the 19th pick of the 2019 NBA draft, after being selected by the San Antonio Spurs. Šamanić has represented Croatia multiple times in FIBA events, leading his team to a gold medal at the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship Division B in 2017, while earning most valuable player honours.