Report: LeBron James returns Dec. 2

Updated: August 4, 2010, 3:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

How will LeBron James be received when he goes back to Cleveland as a member of the Miami Heat?

A national television audience will find out when the Heat make the first of two visits to the Cavaliers on Dec. 2, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported. The game will be on TNT.

James and new teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will make their regular-season debut Oct. 26 against the Boston Celtics, the NBA announced on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Lakers will host the Houston Rockets in the other opening-night game on TNT. The Rockets hope to have Yao Ming back in the lineup after he missed last season with a foot injury.

The Heat will open at home Oct. 29 against the Orlando Magic and visit the defending champion Lakers on Christmas Day.

When James returns to Cleveland, the city where he played seven seasons before leaving as a free agent last month, the reaction could be ugly. Many Cleveland fans were enraged when James announced on July 8, on national television, that he was leaving for Miami. Owner Dan Gilbert fired off a scathing letter promising the Cavs will win a title before James does, and the oversized banner of James near Quicken Loans Arena was pulled down shortly thereafter.

The Cavs will also host the Heat on March 29, according to The Plain Dealer. Cleveland will visit Miami on Dec. 15 and Jan. 31, according to multiple media reports.

Miami's season opener in Boston will also be nationally televised by TNT.

The Heat will enter their regular-season opener with a substantially overhauled roster, while the Celtics also made changes and re-signed stars Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

The league officially released its opening week, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Day schedules Tuesday night on NBA TV.

The Christmas schedule will again feature five games, highlighted by the return of the Heat-Lakers matchup that was regularly played Dec. 25 after Los Angeles traded Shaquille O'Neal to Miami in 2004.

Boston will visit Orlando on Christmas for a rematch of the East finals. The remainder of that day's schedule includes Chicago at New York, Denver at Oklahoma City and Portland at Golden State.

Orlando gets two high-profile games in the first four days of the season. The Magic host No. 1 overall pick John Wall and Washington on Oct. 28 to open their new Amway Center, then travel to Miami the next night for the first of four meetings with their state and Southeast Division rival Heat.

The Magic and Celtics will meet again on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Lakers will host the rising Thunder, who took them to six tough games last season in the first round, later that night.

The full NBA schedule will be released Aug. 10.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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