2018 NBA Schedule Rumors: LeBron James, Lakers to Open Season vs. Blazers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 15:  Head coach Tyronn Lue (L) of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks with LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers after a quarterfinal game of the 2018 NBA Summer League between the Lakers and the Detroit Pistons at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

LeBron James will reportedly make his Los Angeles Lakers regular-season debut Oct. 18 with a road game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer first reported the schedule update Wednesday.

James left the Cleveland Cavaliers last month to sign a four-year, $153.3 million free-agent contract with the Lakers.

It's the second time the 33-year-old Ohio native has left the Cavs, who selected him with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He previously exited Northeast Ohio in 2010 to sign with the Miami Heat and went on to win two championships while there. He returned to Cleveland in 2014 and won another title in 2016.

Los Angeles will hope he can match or exceed that success following his latest move.

James explained to ESPN's Rachel Nichols why he selected the Lakers over the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets, which are teams that would have likely been closer to championship contention with his arrival:

"I definitely thought long and hard about the possibilities of lining up alongside Ben [Simmons] and [Joel] Embiid, or lining up alongside [James] Harden and Chris [Paul]. I just felt like at this point in my career, the ultimate for me—just like when I went to Miami, everyone kind of looks at me joining a superteam, but if people look at it, I think Miami was [47-35] the year before I joined that team and you can look at the Lakers' record—so I like the challenge of being able to help a team get to someplace they haven't been in quite a while."

It's the first time in his career he'll play for a Western Conference team, and led by the Rockets and the two-time reigning champion Golden State Warriors, the West is stacked.

The Blazers figure to compete with the Lakers among the conference's second-tier teams, so opening night will provide a chance to make a statement for both LeBron's new squad as well as Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Portland.

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