Kevin Durant’s move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors has unquestionably been the biggest move of the NBA’s 2016 offseason. Not surprisingly, the 2014 MVP and his new team have been handed several of the most prominent places in the league’s 2016-17 regular season schedule, released on Thursday afternoon.
Durant will make his home Warriors debut on opening night, October 25, vs. the San Antonio Spurs in the second game of a TNT doubleheader. In addition to serving as Durant’s debut, that contest will be San Antonio’s first game without the now-retired Tim Duncan on the roster in 19 seasons.
While that matchup will certainly capture a great deal of attention as fans look to see how Durant will fit with Stephen Curry and his other new teammates, it’s arguably mere prelude to the two biggest contests of the NBA season.
Those come several months later, as previously reported. Durant and the Warriors will travel to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas in a massively anticipated NBA Finals rematch. Roughly six weeks later, Durant will face Oklahoma City for the first time as a visiting player on February 11. That will be the third of four games between the Warriors and Thunder. The first comes on November 3 at Oracle Arena.
The defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers will unsurprisingly be a center of attention throughout the season, as well. The Cavs will receive their championship rings and raise their first-ever title banner on opening night when they host the Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and the new-look New York Knicks on TNT. In addition to that marquee Christmas matchup with the Warriors, the Cavs will play in Oracle Arena for the first time since winning last June’s NBA Finals Game 7 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 16.
The NBA will take over TV sets again this Christmas with its typical five-game schedule headlined by that big Warriors-Cavaliers rematch. The rest of the schedule includes a noon ET opener between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls visiting the San Antonio Spurs after the game in Cleveland, the young and promising Minnesota Timberwolves playing at Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, and the Los Angeles Clippers facing the Los Angeles Lakers in an official home game for the latter at the mutually shared Staples Center.
The Lakers will kick off the post-Kobe Bryant era on October 26 at home against James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Spurs fans will get their first look at a team without Tim Duncan when they host the New Orleans Pelicans on October 29.
Perhaps the biggest non-Cavs-or-Warriors game in the early weeks of the schedule involves the return of Dwyane Wade to Miami when he and the Bulls face the Heat on November 10. Expect a warm welcome for the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Bulls fans will have the opportunity to see their old stars when Rose, Noah, and the Knicks visit the United Center on November 11.
If the regular season isn’t your thing, don’t worry — the NBA postseason will begin on April 15.
Check out more details of the schedule at NBA.com and each team’s official site.
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