(Reuters) – Tim Duncan and the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs will host the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 28 as part of a triple-header to launch the 2014-15 season, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on Wednesday.
The Spurs will be presented with their championship rings before tip-off, with Kobe Bryant and the new-look Los Angeles Lakers set to host the Houston Rockets and the Orlando Magic visiting the New Orleans Pelicans in the night’s other games.
On Oct. 29, Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will visit Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, before the league’s most valuable player Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder taken on the Trail Blazers in Portland later that day.
Perhaps the most anticipated game in the opening week of the NBA’s 69th season will feature 10-time All-Star LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the New York Knicks on Oct. 30.
This will be James’ first game back with the Cavaliers since the league’s biggest draw turned his back on Cleveland to play four seasons with the Miami Heat, leading them to four NBA Finals, including two titles.
When James announced his decision to return home last month, the Cavaliers were immediately listed as 4-1 favorites to win the 2014-15 NBA championship, despite never previously having won a title in 44 years of existence.
The other game scheduled for Oct. 30 will feature Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers at home to the Thunder.
Christmas Day will serve up several blockbuster games, starting in New York at 12 p.m. ET when the Knicks host the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden.
Next up will be the Spurs at home to the Thunder in a rematch of the 2014 Western Conference Finals before James and the Cavaliers travel to Miami to take on the Heat.
Also on Christmas Day, the Lakers will visit the Bulls and former Lakers forward Pau Gasol before Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors visit the Clippers in Los Angeles.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)