In the first game of what's sure to be a season filled with speculation and rumors surrounding the future landing spot of All-World center Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic will visit the Oklahoma City Thunder in the primetime installment of the NBA's annual Christmas Day showcase.
While all the news and eyes will be focused on Howard, the Thunder have had a quiet offseason — save for Kevin Durant dominating the pickup and flag football circuit — but considering this still very young team made the Western Conference Finals last season, another year of playing together, especially with Kendrick Perkins helping along the development on the astonishingly athletic Serge Ibaka, should be enough to go even farther this year.
On the other side of the court, the Magic will have a dark cloud circling over their heads until Howard either finds a new home or, in a far less likely scenario, decides to stay put. They added Glen Davis by giving up Brandon Bass, in what can best be described as a lateral move, and re-acquired Jason Richardson. Until Howard's situation is resolved, however, it figures to be a major distraction.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, Dec. 25, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Okla.
TV: ESPN (National)