After a summer of blockbuster trades, exciting draft picks and diplomatic controversies, basketball takes center stage again as the NBA returns next week.
The 2019-20 regular season tips off on Tuesday, October, 22 when the Toronto Raptors host the New Orleans Pelicans in the first nationally televised game of the season.
In terms of opening matchups, things could hardly be more intriguing. The Raptors will receive their rings and will get to raise the championship banner to the rafters for the first time, while number one overall pick Zion Williamson will make his NBA debut for the Pelicans.
The former Duke star is a generational talent and the level of excitement and expectations surrounding Williamson is something the league has not seen since one LeBron James made his debut in 2003.
Speaking of the four-time MVP, LeBron will feature in the second game of opening night when the Lakers take on the Clippers in an all-Los Angeles affair.
In a summer heralded by statement signings, the two Los Angeles franchises have arguably pulled off the biggest of coups.
The Lakers have added Anthony Davis to partner LeBron, while the Clippers have secured Kawhi Leonard—the reigning NBA Finals MVP—and Paul George.
The latter, however, will be out until at least November as he continues to recover from a shoulder surgery.
The Clippers are in action again on Thursday night when they travel to San Francisco to face Golden State in the Warriors’ first regular season game at the new Chase Center.
When does the NBA season start?
The 74th season of the NBA begins on Tuesday, October 22, when the defending champions Toronto Raptors host the New Orleans Pelicans.
The other game scheduled for opening night sees the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Los Angeles Clippers in the first meeting between two teams that enter the season with huge expectations on their shoulders.
Another 22 franchises are in action on Wednesday, with the Philadelphia 76ers hosting the Boston Celtics in one of two nationally televised games.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Golden State Warriors host the first NBA game in their new arena in San Francisco when they welcome the Clippers.
The upcoming season marks the fourth year under the current broadcast contract with ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV.
NBA TV will air 107 games, with ESPN and TNT carrying 83 and 67 respectively, while ABC will broadcast 19 matchups.
FOX Sports and NBC regional networks will provide local coverage throughout the season.
Live stream will be available through the four broadcasters’ digital platforms, which includes apps on Apple and Android devices as well as via connected TVs.
Similarly, NBA TV’s game pass will be available via connected TVs and on mobile devices.
Live stream will also be available via fuboTV and DirecTV.
TV schedule (all times ET)
Tuesday, October 22
- New Orleans Pelicans @ Toronto Raptors—8 p.m., TNT
- Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers—10:30 p.m., TNT
Wednesday, October 23
- Chicago Bulls @ Charlotte Hornets—7 p.m.
- Detroit Pistons @ Indiana Pacers—7 p.m.
- Cleveland Cavaliers @ Orlando Magic—7 p.m.
- Minnesota Timberwolves @ Brooklyn Nets—7:30 p.m.
- Memphis Grizzlies @ Miami Heat—7:30 p.m.
- Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers—7:30 p.m., ESPN
- Washington Wizards @ Dallas Mavericks—8:30 p.m.
- New York Knicks @ San Antonio Spurs—8:30 p.m.
- Oklahoma City Thunder @ Utah Jazz—9 p.m.
- Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns—10 p.m.
- Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers—10 p.m., ESPN
Thursday, October 24
- Atlanta Hawks @ Detroit Pistons—7 p.m.
- Milwaukee Bucks @ Houston Rockets—8 p.m., TNT
- Los Angeles Clippers @ Golden State Warriors—10:30 p.m., TNT
The Clippers are 15/4 favorite ahead of the Lakers at 5/1, while the Milwaukee Bucks follow at 13/2. The Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers follow at 9/1, while the Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors are a 14/1 at 15/1 outsiders respectively.