The Golden State Warriors will see an old friend on opening night and LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in an NBA Finals rematch on Christmas, two of the highlight games of their title defense.

The NBA released its schedule Wednesday, a more player-friendly model that addresses Commissioner Adam Silver’s directive for additional player rest by slashing the times teams have to play four times in five nights to an average of one per team.

NBA senior vice president of operations Kiki VanDeWeghe called it the best schedule he had seen, adding that the league was “very, very mindful of player rest and recuperation, and the idea of putting the best product on the floor each and every night.”

The season begins Oct. 27 with three games, including the Warriors hosting New Orleans, the team they eliminated in the first round before the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry, who was one of Steve Kerr’s assistants last season.

Chicago hosts Cleveland earlier on opening night in its first game under Fred Hoiberg, who was hired after the Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau.

Most teams begin Oct. 28, including the newlook San Antonio Spurs making their debut with LaMarcus Aldridge and David West at Oklahoma City, which could welcome Kevin Durant back to regular-season action after his 2014-15 season was cut short by injury.

Later that night, the top two picks in the June draft square off when No. 1 Karl-Anthony Towns and Minnesota visit the Los Angeles Lakers, who could put No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell into a backcourt with a returning Kobe Bryant.

The Christmas slate again features five games, with the NBA Finals rematch sandwiched in the middle. Also, Miami hosts New Orleans, Chicago visits Oklahoma City, Houston welcomes San Antonio and the Lakers and Clippers continue their Staples Center rivalry.

The extended All-Star break the NBA introduced last season returns, with a week off around the Feb. 14 game in Toronto, and there are other tweaks that should benefit players.

There are just 27 instances of teams playing four times in five nights, and no team faces more than two four-in-five night stretches. Back-tobacks were also trimmed to an all-time low of less than 18 per team.


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