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Aussie Boomers in town for world champs camp

For Australian basketball's $4 million man Dante Exum, sitting beside a Canberra hotel pool is as far removed as it gets from the hype of NBA draft day. 

The 19-year-old slipped back into the country on Tuesday night, just two weeks after signing his rich rookie year contract with Utah Jazz.

''Dante-mania'' and Canberran Patrick Mills' NBA title with San Antonio were instrumental in the Australian Boomers securing their first naming rights sponsor in four years with global hospitality company Airbnb.

Mills and Spurs teammates Aron Baynes brought the NBA trophy to Canberra for the first time last week. Former Lake Ginninderrra College student Exum believes Australian basketball is entering a golden era. 

Despite the absence of injured stars Mills and Andrew Bogut, four NBA players are part of the Boomers squad in Canberra for its final camp before the World Cup. 

Among them is Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova, who looks set to play alongside superstar LeBron James next season.


Forward Cameron Bairstow will follow in Australian legend Luc Longley's footsteps after signing a three-year deal with Chicago Bulls this week.

Exum, already sponsored by Adidas and Red Bull before he has set foot on an NBA court, can feel an Australian basketball resurgence gathering momentum. 

"The excitement of me and Bear [Bairstow] getting drafted, Patty and Baynes with an NBA championship, there's so much buzz around the game and people wanting to get involved,'' he said. 

The point guard said he is settling into life at the Jazz and adjusting to sudden stardom, including his own character on favourite video game NBA 2K15. 

"It's been really good. Coach [Quin] Snyder has been introducing me into the program and it's exciting,'' he said. 

"Losing Patty [for the World Cup] is a huge loss but we pride ourselves on being the hardest workers on the court.''

Exum and Dellavedova will carry the point guard burden in the absence of Mills, who has had major shoulder surgery. 

Dellavedova will know officially if he will stay at Cleveland by the end of this week but the Cavaliers are expected to activate their option for the second year of his contract. 

The prospect of being one of James' wing men is tantalising for Dellavedova, 23. Cleveland has also been linked with Minnesota star Kevin Love and are one of the favourites to win the next NBA championship. 

"That's what I'm most excited about, seeing how hard LeBron works, what he does to prepare for a season and from game to game,'' Dellavedova said. 

"It's a team option for next season and they said they'd pick it up. It will become official as long as they don't cut me in the next three days. 

"It'll be interesting to see who ends up being in the team. There's been a lot of rumours about Kevin Love and I want that back-up point guard spot next season. 

"It really sucks Patty's hurt, I was looking forward to playing with him [at the World Cup]. 

"I still think we can do something special in Spain.''

Boomers assistant coach Longley bemoaned the Boomers sponsorship void, adamant their Olympic preparations ''would be compromised'' unless it was filled. 

Basketball Australia chairman Scott Derwin said the exploits of Exum and Mills was important in securing Airbnb, whose sponsorship will be announced officially on Thursday. 

He hopes it is a long term partnership and helps preparations for September's World Cup, where the Boomers will try to secure their first medal at a major event. 

"It's good to have a global company on board and it's a great boost for our national program,'' Derwin said. 

"What happened with Dante in the draft and Patty and Aron winning a title has inevitably helped get that across the line. 

"We've got the World Cup coming up and we have to do well in that for a whole range of reasons. It will assist with that.''