LeBron James and Stephen Curry are the headliners for the NBA’s annual Christmas Day marathon with the Los Angeles Lakers visiting the Golden State Warriors as part of a five-game slate.
The NBA released its official schedule on Wednesday, confirming rumored, if expected, primetime billing for the Warriors and Lakers.
Opening night on Oct. 16 — the earliest start to the NBA regular season since 1980 — will feature the Warriors’ ring presentation before a meeting with Kevin Durant’s former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Preceding that game will be the Philadelphia 76ers facing the Celtics in Boston.
James’ first regular-season game with the Lakers, another national TV spot on Oct. 18, is at Portland. ESPN reported Wednesday that James’ first game back in Cleveland with his new team will be on Nov. 21.
—The New York Knicks are still planning to sever ties with center Joakim Noah ahead of training camp, according to a report from ESPN.
The report says the Knicks will use their waive-and-stretch provision to cut Noah sometime after Sept. 1, provided they haven’t found a trade partner for the beleaguered 33-year-old prior to then.
Noah effectively was exiled from the Knicks in late January after he got into a verbal altercation with then-head coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice on Jan. 24 that required the two to be separated. That came a day after Noah yelled expletives at his coach upon being removed from a game against the Golden State Warriors. The sides announced a “mutually” agreed upon indefinite leave for Noah on Feb. 2, which he never returned from.
—The New Orleans Pelicans reached agreement with Jahlil Okafor on a contract for next season, according to ESPN.
The deal is reportedly partially guaranteed for next season and includes a team option for the following season.
Okafor, 22, was the third overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2015 NBA Draft. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in December. Last season, he averaged 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 28 games split between the Nets and Sixers.
—The Dallas Mavericks announced the signing of free agent guard Devin Harris to a contract worth the veteran minimum of $2.4 million.
The pact marks Harris’ third stint with the Mavericks. He was dealt to Dallas after being drafted No. 5 overall by the Washington Wizards in 2004 and stuck with the team until being traded to the New Jersey Nets in February 2008. Harris then returned to the Mavericks as a free agent before the 2013-14 season, serving as a strong bench option for the team up until being dealt to the Denver Nuggets in February.
Harris, 35, averaged 8.4 points, 2.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 71 games (one start) with the Mavericks and Nuggets last season.
—Field Level Media