Opening night of the NBA season on Oct. 22 will reportedly feature a ring ceremony for the Toronto Raptors, the debut of No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson and the dawn of a superstar-studded Los Angeles rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers.
The Raptors will unveil their championship banner prior to opening the 2019-20 season against Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 22, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. While his former teammates are receiving their rings in Toronto, reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard will reportedly don a Clippers jersey in earnest for the first time when his new team faces the Lakers on opening night.
The meeting between the new-look L.A. teams will also feature the debut of Anthony Davis in purple and gold. He joined the Lakers in a trade that sent a host of draft picks to New Orleans, along with Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Jason Hart — all of whom will also play for their new team for the first time on opening night.
In all likelihood, the opening-night slate will not feature Paul George’s Clippers debut. The six-time All-Star, who orchestrated his exit from the Oklahoma City Thunder to L.A. in another summer blockbuster trade, has no clear timetable for his return after undergoing surgeries on both shoulders earlier this offseason.
Per Charania, Davis will make his return to New Orleans on Nov. 27, the same night Kyrie Irving will face the Boston Celtics for the first time since joining the Brooklyn Nets in free agency this summer. Leonard will likely get his championship ring upon returning to Toronto on Dec. 11. And Russell Westbrook, who was dealt to the Houston Rockets after George’s exit signaled a franchise rebuild, will play a road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first time in his career on Jan. 9.
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