NBA: LeBron James to make Lakers home debut against Rockets on Oct 20, returns to Cleveland on Nov 21

LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers last month to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - LeBron James will make his home debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct 20 against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Centre arena, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on Friday (Aug 10).

The four-time league Most Valuable Player, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers last month to sign with the Lakers, and his new team-mates travel to Portland on Oct 18 for their regular-season opener.

The announcement comes two days after the league released its 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, US$153 million (S$210 million) contract with the Lakers in July, faced the Warriors in each of the past four NBA Finals as a member of the Cavaliers.

The Lakers' longest road trip of the season is a five-game, 12-day stretch from Feb 1-12 when the Grammy Awards are held at Staples Centre. They will 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 off-season for DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan returns with his new team to Toronto on Feb 22.

The league will stage its earliest opening to a season since the 1980-81 campaign began on Oct 10.

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