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Spicy West highlights NBA schedule

The Associated PressNBA fans will get a smorgasbord of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, the All-Star laden lineup of the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets and the up-and-coming Boston Celtics as part of the league’s national television schedule.

The NBA released its TV schedule for the first week of the season, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Wednesday, and all are prominently featured.

James Harden and the Rockets will appear three times on national television in the opening week of the season, while Lakers, Warriors and Celtics will be featured twice.

The highlight of the coveted Christmas Day games is James facing a familiar foe — Stephen Curry and the Warriors — for a fourth straight year, only this time James will be wearing Lakers’ gold and purple rather than the familiar wine and gold colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Warriors, who added center DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason, feature a lineup with five current NBA All-Stars.

The other Christmas Day games include Kyrie Irving and the Celtics hosting the young, but talented Philadelphia 76ers. The Rockets, who came within a game of knocking off the Warriors in the Western Conference finals last season, will host the Oklahoma City Thunder, while Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks visit the New York Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers visit the Utah Jazz.

The featured MLK day games include a Warriors-Lakers rematch — this time in Los Angeles — while the 76ers host the Rockets, and Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans visit the Memphis Grizzles.

A look at some of the games on the league’s national TV schedule:

The NBA season begins Oct. 16 with TNT televising the 76ers at the Celtics and the Thunder at the Warriors.

Source: Okafor, Pelicans agree

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two people familiar with the situation said free-agent center Jahlil Okafor has agreed to a two-year contract with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The people spoke to the AP on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced. They say the contract includes a team option in Year 2.

Philadelphia made 200-centimeter Okafor the third overall pick out of Duke in the 2015 NBA draft. But Okafor’s production fell considerably last season from the nearly 15 points and six rebounds he averaged through his first two seasons with the 76ers.

He appeared in only two games with Philadelphia last season before being traded to Brooklyn, where he played about 13 minutes per game as a reserve, averaging 6.4 points.

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