The NBA is set to open its first season in Puerto Rico next month, but the league is already scrambling to fill its roster.
The league said Wednesday that the team it will use will be the U.S. Virgin Islands Pro Basketball League’s Puerto Rico squad, which was scheduled to play in Miami on Jan. 1.
The NBA also said the league will start hiring Puerto Ricans this week.
But the league isn’t quite ready to announce its full roster just yet.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, league president of basketball operations Tamika Catchings said the roster will likely include players from both Puerto Rico and the U and B leagues, the league’s sister leagues to the NBA.
The Puerto Rico team will begin playing in the league, which starts in 2019, on Feb. 3.
Catchings also said it will include players who have played at least one season in the U-17 and U-20 levels.
She also said that players who play at least two seasons in the lower levels of the UPGA will also be included in the roster.
Miami is expected to have a roster of around 100 players for the Puerto Rico season, according to a source familiar with the situation.
That number will likely drop as the season progresses.
The Miami Heat are one of the NBA’s top teams in the Puerto Rican Pro Basketball Association (PRBA).
They will have an advantage with a larger pool of players, which makes it easier for the league to fill a roster with Puerto Ricas players.
Puerto Rico has a population of 2.2 million, and the majority of the island is comprised of the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital.
In a press release from the PRBA, Catchings acknowledged the NBA was in a difficult position to fill the roster this week, but said it is “working with our partners and the players to make the most of this opportunity.”
Catchings told the Herald that the PRL has asked for permission from the NBA to use Puerto Rico players for its 2019-20 season.
She said the NBA has “strongly considered” the request.
The PRL’s players will be competing against each other in the event of a league championship, which is set for March 16.
The UPGAs Pro Basketball Championship, which began in February, will begin in Puerto Rica in early 2019.
The first Puerto Rican pro league in U.P.B. history will feature six teams competing in six different leagues, including the UGBA.
The leagues UPG, U-16 and UPGB are played in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Puerto Rico.