The new season of the National Basketball Association season is some two weeks away and like most fans, I, too, am very excited to get the festivities going especially after an eventful offseason, marked primarily by weighty player transfers.
Recently got a copy of the full schedule of the 2017-2018 season from the NBA and I did not waste much time marking some of the play dates I am looking forward to seeing.
Right off the bat on opening day on Oct. 17 (US time) is the clash between the reigning Eastern Conference champions Cleveland Cavaliers and runner-up Boston Celtics.
These two practically stole the limelight during the offseason for the dealings they made between one another and with other teams.
They swapped star players with Kyrie Irving going to Boston in exchange for fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas along with Jae Crowder.
If that is not drama enough, both teams are coming in souped up with Cleveland now having former league most valuable player Derrick Rose and Jeff Green in the group.
Boston, meanwhile, has added All-Star Gordon Hayward from the Utah Jazz to join Irving as well as talented rookie Jason Tatum.
Also on opening day is the defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors against the Houston Rockets that will see the debut of All-Star Chris Paul in a Rockets red uniform.
On Oct. 19, the New York Knicks will visit the Oklahoma City Thunder that will have Carmelo Anthony facing his former team for the first time after being traded recently from Gotham.
Teammate and fellow All-Star Paul George will get his chance on taking on his old team when OKC visits the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 13.
Philadelphia is one of the teams I am eyeing this season because I want to finally see last year’s top overall pick Ben Simmons play his first official NBA game along with this year’s top pick Markell Fultz and “The Process” Joel Embiid. They debut on Oct. 18 against the Washington Wizards.
Kevin Durant and Golden State reengage his former team the Thunder and reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook on Nov. 22 with “Russ” bringing along “Melo” and “PG.”
On Oct. 26, DeMarcus Cousins plays in Sacramento for the first time since being traded to New Orleans last season and he himself said he cannot wait to play in his former home for he has a lot in his chest that he wants let off. Interesting, right?
And, of course, there is the Christmas Day schedule that will be bannered by the rematch between Golden State and Cleveland. Not much has to be said about this save that it is going to be slam bang.
Also on that date will be Philadelphia versus New York, Washington against Boston, Houston versus OKC, and the Jimmy Butler-led Minnesota Timberwolves against Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The thing about this list of mine, this is just some of the many actually in the first three months of the season.
NBA season once again, guys. Should be fun.
Michael Angelo S. Murillo has been a columnist since 2003. He is a BusinessWorld reporter covering the Sports beat.