With the 2018-19 Los Angeles Lakers season quickly approaching, the NBA will release its national television schedule for the first week of the regular season, Christmas Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
As LeBron James and the Lakers will reportedly face the Golden State Warriors on the road on Christmas Day, all of the attention is on who they will play on Opening Night.
For the last couple of the seasons, the storied franchise has usually opened against the Los Angeles Clippers or Houston Rockets.
However, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, James will reportedly begin his Lakers career against the Portland Trail Blazers on the road:
LeBron James and the Lakers open their season on October 18 on the road against the Blazers, per league sources.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) August 8, 2018
It is a rather interesting season opener as the Lakers have struggled against the Blazers in Portland. As the Blazers finished with the third-best record in the Western Conference before being swept in the first round of the playoffs last season, the Lakers will immediately get an idea on where they stand.
With only seven players returning from last season’s roster, the consensus is it will take time for the Lakers to come together. For head coach Luke Walton and company, the challenge will be managing all the big personalities in the locker room if they ultimately do get off to a slow start.
After five years of rebuilding, Los Angeles is looking to become championship contenders in James’ first season. While the 33-year-old has shown patience by signing a four-year, $153 million contract in free agency, there are high expectations for him to eventually deliver the team’s 17th championship and first since the 2009-10 season.