LeBron James’ return to Cleveland as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers is scheduled for Nov. 21, according to a report from Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
That would be just a little more than a month into a season that will be full of buzz for James and the Lakers — with James moving to the tougher Western Conference following eight straight trips to the Finals in the East. That, of course, included the past four as a member of the Cavaliers.
The NBA released portions of its national television schedule Wednesday, and it is already known that James and LA will open Oct. 18 at the Portland Trail Blazers. They tip off their season at home two nights later against the Houston Rockets, and visit Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.
The Lakers will later host the Warriors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was the Cavs who played the Warriors on both Christmas and MLK day in each of the past three seasons.
Meanwhile, things are quite different for the post-LeBron Cavs when it comes to nationally televised games and general buzz from the drive-by journalism of the national media.
The NBA is expected to release its entire national TV schedule on Friday, which will likely only result in more games for the Lakers … and probably only a handful for the Cavs.
Several league sources said that while the entire league schedule has yet to be revealed, and remains in the tentative stages, the Cavs are in line to open the season against the Indiana Pacers, last year’s opponent in the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Minus James, the Cavs return just about every key player from last season’s Finals team, with Kevin Love expected to be the focal point of coach Tyronn Lue’s offense. Also back are J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Korver, Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson and Ante Zizic.
Rookie Collin Sexton is also expected to be a major part of things.
Most, if not all, of the Cavs’ games will be televised by FOX Sports Ohio. Every team must make at least one national television appearance, either on TNT, ESPN or NBA TV.