Trevor Gleeson disappointed Wildcats not playing NBA teams

The NBL captured banner headlines across Australia when it made its biggest announcement in recent years to confirm that three teams would head over to the U.S. and take on NBA teams in pre-season action.

The news that Sydney Kings, Melbourne United and Brisbane Bullets will play the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns respectively was met with widespread praise and excitement among fans but still there was a measure of dissent, with one question, in particular, being asked of NBL officials.

Why are Perth Wildcats, the two-time reigning champions, not involved? Why are three teams who failed to make the latest NBL post-season representing Australia in these most prestigious "friendlies"?

NBL executive chairman and owner Larry Kestelman told ESPN at the announcement that "it was important to cover off the key markets with the biggest populations and biggest followings".

"Perth was someone as champions we wanted to see going ... it proved a little bit hard with their season and schedule."

Wildcats officials also told ESPN the opportunity for the team to play an NBA pre-season game in the U.S. was "informally raised" by the league "earlier this year".

"However, given the timing of the games and the unknown financial cost, the decision was made that it wasn't in the best interest of the organisation," the Wildcats told ESPN in an email.

"The Wildcats are firmly focused on the 2017-18 NBL campaign, and preparation for every regular season home game is of the utmost importance."

Perth coach Trevor Gleeson, meanwhile, told ESPN that he was disappointed the Wildcats were not involved.

"It would have been nice to send the championship team over like what happened back in 1995 -- Perth Wildcats played the Houston Rockets in London -- you had to win the championship to qualify for that event."

Still, Gleeson was full of praise for the league and what it had achieved in arranging the glamour fixtures.

"Great exposure for the league to play the NBA guys, and definitely a feather in the cap and exciting times," he said. "It's good for basketball and helps the profile of the NBL on the world stage."

The Wildcats and their fan base can take solace in the fact their early season schedule won't involve incredible amounts of travel to and from the States and hence the playing group will able to prepare fully for their opening three-game home stand as they seek to become just the third team to pull off the three-peat.

"We're pretty confident that the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that we've put together are the right ones," Gleeson said of early preparations for the 2017-18 NBL season.

"But [we won't know for certain] until we start to put them down and put them together and [see] how they connect with each other and run that synergy off of each other.

"We've got a good pre-season now to iron out any areas, and hopefully we'll come strong together for the start of the season."