With the official unveiling of the Los Angeles Lakers schedule for the 2018-19 NBA season, it confirmed a previous report that LeBron James will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
The matchup at Quicken Loans arena is set for a 5 p.m. PT tipoff and will be nationally televised by ESPN. The game is one of a league-leading 43 that the Lakers will play in front of a national audience (ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, TNT).
The Cavs will make their annual visit to Staples Center nearly two months later, Jan. 13, 2019.
James’ return to Cleveland presumably will be much more tempered and amicable than when he faced the Cavs for the first time after signing with the Miami Heat. The reaction to this summer’s free agency decision was already improved over the previous instance.
In the final days and weeks leading up to July 1, the Cavaliers and Lakers appeared to separate themselves from the pack as the likely landing spots for James. Unlike when he bolted for Miami and returned to Cleveland, James this time announced his decision early on in the process.
Despite the appearance, James said he completed his due diligence before coming to terms with the Lakers on a four-year contract. While that deal takes him through his age-36 season, James has not ruled out playing for the Cavaliers prior to retiring.