Basketball: NZ Breakers forced to relocate to Tasmania due to COVID-19

The NBL has announced the New Zealand Breakers will temporarily move to Hobart on Friday due to a new wave of COVID-19 cases in Victoria. 

Joining the New Zealand side in Tasmania will be the South East Melbourne Phoenix, as the league takes precautions as the season tip-off nears. 

NBL said the decision was made in the best interest of the clubs and to keep the players and the league safe. 

"Given the current situation in Melbourne we have decided it's prudent for both clubs to relocate to Hobart and they will be accommodated and train there under strict COVID protocols," NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said. 

"This will give us time to assess and work through the next steps required as we prepare for the forthcoming NBL season. 

Melbourne has seen a new wave of COVID-19 cases appear and the state government has acted quickly, shutting the border to New South Wales and placing restrictions on private gatherings.

"We hope the current restrictions and resulting border closures will be eased as quickly as possible but we will need to stay flexible in our approach and we will continue to be guided by the advice of the relevant state health authorities," Loeliger says. 

 "We are also working to move both the Sydney Kings and the Hawks from their current location in Albury given the ongoing situation in New South Wales. 

Melbourne United is currently in Cairns where it is scheduled to play preseason games against the Taipans tonight and this Saturday.

The NBL had planned to host a hub in Melbourne from February 20 for a month-long blitz of 36 games but that is now in jeopardy.

The Breakers are due to start their season on January 13 against Melbourne United, with a venue still to be confirmed.