LOS ANGELES (AFP) – LeBron James will make his Los Angeles Lakers’ home debut on Oct. 20 against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center arena, the National Basketball Association announced on Friday.
The four-time league MVP James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers last month to sign with the Lakers, and his new teammates travel to Portland on the 18th for their regular season debut contest.
The announcement comes two days after the league released their abbreviated schedule for its 73rd season.
On Wednesday, the league announced that for the 20th straight year, the Lakers will play on Christmas Day, travelling to face the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
James returns to Cleveland for his lone game against the Cavaliers on Nov. 21. The Lakers will play on national television 35 times.
James, who signed a four-year, $153 million contract with the Lakers in July, faced the Warriors in each of the past four NBA finals as a member of Cavaliers.
The Lakers’ longest road trip of the season is a five-game, 12-day stretch from February 1-12 when the Grammy Awards are held at Staples Center. They’ll play 13 back-to-back sets.
In other key contests, Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard will make his return to San Antonio on Jan. 3.
The Spurs dealt Leonard to the Raptors in the offseason for DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan returns with his new team to Toronto on February 22.
The league will stage its earliest opening to a season since the 1980-81 campaign began on Oct. 10.
for Sydney Kings
SYDNEY (AP) – NBA star Andrew Bogut has made a short but strong debut for the Sydney Kings in a pre-season match ahead of Australia’s National Basketball League season.
The center, who started his NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks and ended with the Los Angeles Lakers, played 15 minutes against the Japan national team Friday, scoring four points, claiming six rebounds and providing a match-high six assists.
Sydney, who won 77-57, conceded 19 points in the first half but 38 in the second when Bogut was on the bench.
“I was always just trying to ease into it,” Bogut said. “I haven’t played a game since January.
“When I played with the Lakers, I wasn’t getting a lot of minutes. It was my first organized hitout in seven months so I just wanted to go as hard as I could in the first half.”