The NBL will stay out of Victoria and New South Wales for round two but hopes to return to those states in the coming rounds.
The league released round two of its rolling schedule on Tuesday after COVID-19 cases in Victoria, New South Wales and Greater Brisbane forced them to only schedule games in Adelaide and Queensland for round one, which tips off on Friday night.
The NBL season will tip off on Friday.Credit:Getty Images
Normally the NBL season would be past its halfway point but the pandemic has forced the league to delay its start several times.
Games could return to Victoria as early as round three but league officials are anxiously watching locally acquired cases before committing to anything. The Sydney Kings and the Wollongong-based Hawks would love to return home for games in round four or five but their home fixtures will depend on cases and travel restrictions on the state.
Victoria will host all nine sides for a month after the Australian Open finishes so the league can catch up games and play out its first NBL Cup competition.
NBL chief executive Jeremy Loeliger said he hoped to return to the nation's two biggest states soon.
"We're pleased to be able to announce the next round of our schedule and stage the first home game in Perth for the NBL's reigning champions, the Perth Wildcats," Loeliger said.
"Fans across the Tasman can also look forward to watching the New Zealand Breakers open their season against Adelaide. Cairns will host two games against Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane will play its second home game against The Hawks.
"We will continue to assess the situation over the coming weeks and be guided by the advice of the states as we schedule more games as part of our rolling schedule this season.
"As soon as restrictions ease we hope to be in a position to be able to also schedule games in Victoria and New South Wales."
Western Australia's decision to close its borders to several states and demand 14 days' quarantine meant the Perth Wildcats couldn't play in round one, but they will return for round two, hosting South East Melbourne Phoenix in Perth on January 24.
The Phoenix have been based in Hobart for the past two weeks so can travel into WA. They will also visit the Adelaide 36ers in round two, while Melbourne United will face the Taipans in Cairns on January 25.
The NBL has also confirmed its last round-one game. The good results from Brisbane over the weekend allow for the Brisbane Bullets to host the Hawks in Brisbane on Saturday, though the league had originally listed the Bullets game as 'to be confirmed' as it waited on advice from Queensland health officials.
NBL round two
Adelaide 36ers v South East Melbourne Phoenix, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, 7.30pm AEDT
Brisbane Bullets v The Hawks, Nissan Arena, 7.30pm AEDT
Adelaide 36ers v New Zealand Breakers, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, 7.30pm AEDT
Cairns Taipans v Sydney Kings, Cairns Pop-Up Arena, 8pm AEDT
Perth Wildcats v South East Melbourne Phoenix, RAC Arena 5pm AEDT
Cairns Taipans v Melbourne United, Cairns Pop-Up Arena, 7.30pm AEDT
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