The NBA will roll out the 2019-20 regular-season schedule Monday, including the official reveal of the league slate for opening week and Christmas Day.
NBA TV will break down the schedule as part of a special on the network starting at 3 p.m. ET.
The 2018-19 season tipped off Oct. 16, 2018, with a pair of games. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported the NBA would start this year on Oct. 22 "to prevent opening night from occurring too early moving forward each year."
The switch also provides players competing in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup a little more downtime before shifting their focus toward the NBA. The World Cup runs from Aug. 31 through Sept. 15 in China.
Opening week and Christmas Day are two of the most anticipated occasions on the NBA calendar, arguably surpassed only by the playoffs and All-Star Weekend. Because of that, the league routinely wants to highlight its best teams and biggest stars.
For the most part, the drama is largely gone in terms of the opening night and Christmas matchups.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Los Angeles Lakers will play the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Toronto Raptors will get their NBA title defense started against the New Orleans Pelicans.
ESPN's Adrian Wojanrowski, Tim MacMahon and Malika Andrews shared the tentative encounters on Dec. 25:
- Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets
- Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors
- Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
- Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers
Charania, citing sources, also reported on several games slated for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 20:
- Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
- Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Everyone expected a battle for Los Angeles to be earmarked for one of the premier dates; that they're featured in both speaks to how all eyes will be on the City of Angels.
The Lakers completed their protracted pursuit of Anthony Davis by acquiring him in July, though they were unable to land Kawhi Leonard. Instead, Leonard convinced Paul George to request a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder and join him on the Clippers.
The Lakers and Clippers haven't had much of a rivalry because the latter franchise was moribund for so long. When the Clippers finally turned things around, the roles effectively reversed as the Lakers became one of the NBA's worst teams.
Now, the two teams are jostling for an NBA title.
Fans can count on seeing some of the other big offseason movers and shakers during opening week and Christmas.
Even the Golden State Warriors are more interesting than they've been in a while as they grapple with Kevin Durant's departure and Klay Thompson's torn ACL. It will be odd seeing the Warriors in more of an underdog role as they attempt to win the Western Conference for a sixth successive season.
Almost every decision the Rockets made in recent years was geared toward a possible playoff matchup with the Warriors. Houston lost to Golden State in seven games in the Western Conference Finals in 2018 and then fell in six games in the second round last year.
To see these two paired on Christmas isn't surprising, even if the new-look Warriors are unlikely to be the same kind of measuring stick for the Rockets.
In the Eastern Conference, no confrontation is likely to have postseason implications more so than the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bucks largely maintained the status quo. They re-signed Khris Middleton, George Hill and Brook Lopez but completed a sign-and-trade to send Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers. The Sixers swapped Jimmy Butler for Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat and added Al Horford to take some pressure off Joel Embiid inside.
The Raptors are bound to take a step backward after losing Leonard and Danny Green. As a result, the Sixers and Bucks are arguably the East's two best teams. The winner on Christmas Day will land a solid salvo before the playoffs.