The 2013 NBA regular season is closer than one might presume, as the sight of August brings us to to the tail end of free agency. With training camp on the horizon and players soon competing to make final rosters, a new year of basketball is approaching.
In a matter of hours, the question of "who plays who?" will be answered.
From clashes between superstars to holiday games that the world will be watching, the basketball community is clamoring in anticipation. With some of the league's best returning from a season of injuries, there's no question that there's reason for excitement.
According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sentinel, the NBA will put a temporary hold on the anxiety and announce the 2013-14 regular-season schedule on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
Here's when to watch and what you should be looking forward to.
Date: Tuesday, Aug. 6
Time: 6 p.m. ET
TV: NBA TV
What We're Hearing
Lakers versus Heat on Christmas
According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sentinel, the defending champion Miami Heat will travel to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day. This will be a significantly less star-studded event than in years past, but will still feature the ever-popular battle of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Or so we hope.
Jonathan Hartzell of NBA.com reports that Bryant has "shattered" the expected timetable for his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon. Bryant is now aiming for a November return, which would be roughly seven months after he suffered the career-threatening injury.
The only question, at this point is whether or not he'll be able to lead the Lakers on one last title run with their current core.
If Bryant truly is back, his clash with rival Dwyane Wade and fellow "best of all time" contender LeBron James will be a memorable one. Add Pau Gasol, who will finally return to being "the man" down low with Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum having departed, and you have yourself a highly-anticipated clash.
We can question this one all we want, but you won't find very many fanbases as large as Kobe's, LeBron's, the Lakers' or the Heat's—and that's why this game is reportedly happening on Christmas.
Clippers versus Warriors on Christmas
One of the fastest rising rivalries in professional basketball is between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. With both teams emerging from the ranks of the NBA's bottom-feeders and becoming title hopefuls, the tension between the two sides is now being displayed on a national stage.
Per Dan Woike of the Orange County Register, they'll neutralize the holiday spirit when they play on Christmas Day.
Something tells us these two teams will not be bearing gifts.
This rivalry has become personal, as both California teams seem to enjoy their own highs as much as they do the opposition's lows. Such was on full display when the entire Warriors bench celebrated a missed Blake Griffin jump shot as if Stephen Curry had hit a game-winner.
With Golden State fresh off of a season in which they won the season series by a count of 3-1, don't expect the Clippers to forget those events.
It may be Christmas, but this game will be a physical affair in which star power is trumped by shared on-court disdain. Interior battles could get ugly, the clash between Curry and Chris Paul will be relentless and Doc Rivers' clash with Mark Jackson is sure to be heated.
And it will all end with a Merry Christmas.