NBA schedule released: Leonard returning to SA Jan. 3
Kahwi Leonard wrote a thank you letter to San Antonio Spurs' fans on Wednesday.
The tone might not be so friendly when he returns to town for a Jan. 3 contest as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
Leonard's return to San Antonio after his adversarial departure after seven seasons will be one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the 2018-19 season. The NBA formally released its full schedule on Friday after releasing snippets of it earlier in the week.
Leonard developed into a star with the Spurs, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award twice as well as NBA Finals MVP in 2014. But a quadriceps injury limited him to nine games last season and a gulf widened between him and the organization that proved incapable of being patched up.
Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors on July 18 and the key piece acquired in the deal -- All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan -- has his own beef.
DeRozan was bitterly disappointed to be included in the deal to San Antonio after he said he received assurances from general manager Masai Ujiri that he wouldn't be dealt. But the Raptors' all-time scoring leader figures to receive a warm welcome when the Spurs visit Toronto on Feb. 22.
The NBA previously announced it will begin the season on Oct. 16 with a TNT doubleheader featuring the Philadelphia 76ers visiting the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder visiting the champion Golden State Warriors.
LeBron James' first game as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers is an Oct. 18 road tilt against the Portland Trail Blazers. His first home game at the Staples Center is Oct. 20 against the Houston Rockets.
James returns to Cleveland on Nov. 21 when the Lakers visit the Cavaliers.
The Christmas Day lineup breaks down like this: Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks, Thunder at Rockets, 76ers at Celtics, Lakers at Warriors and Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz.
The Orlando Magic will play back-to-back games in Mexico City, facing the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 13 before meeting the Jazz on Dec. 15.
The Knicks and Washington Wizards square off on Jan. 17 at The O2 arena in London
Last season's top two rookies square off on TNT on Dec. 27 when award-winner Ben Simmons and the 76ers visit second-place Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz.
The regular season will conclude on April 10.
--Field Level Media(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)