The offseason is long and can be painful, but now it is over. Preseason NBA basketball begins at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday, with four games spread throughout the day, three of them broadcast on NBA TV. Here's a look at the slate.
Thunder at Fenerbahce Ulker, 9 a.m. ET, NBA TV
Kevin Durant and company are in Istanbul to tip off the NBA Global Games, an exhibition tour through Europe, Asia and North America. Fenerbahce is one of the top teams in Turkey, and at least one of its players -- former Nugget and Raptor Linas Kleiza -- will be familiar to the Thunder. Fenerbahce also lists naturalized Macedonian Bo McCalebb (from the University of New Orleans) and Nets prospect Bojan Bogdanovic, a Croatian national. Other names that hardcore NBA fans might recognize include Wolves draft pick Nemanja Bjelica and Emir Preldzic, whose rights are currently owned by the Wizards. No Russell Westbrook for the Thunder, of course, who will pick up where they let off last spring with the Reggie Jackson experience.
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Bulls at Pacers, 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Derrick Rose will return to action after missing all of the 2012-13 season with recovery from ACL surgery as the Bulls trek to Indianapolis. The Pacers have a big return too in Danny Granger, who played only five games last year while recovering from his own major injury. These teams expect to battle for Central Division supremacy once the regular season begins, but for now this is primarily all about Rose. Bulls fans have been looking forward to this moment for like 18 months.
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Pelicans at Rockets, 8 p.m. ET
Dwight Howard's Houston debut comes against the new look Pelicans, who will be missing Eric Gordon as Monty Williams tries to figure out his new Rolls Royce backcourt starring Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. Howard and James Harden have enormous expectations this season, so it'll be interesting to see how they cooperate on offense and how much defense Dwight can offer up. But then again, it's preseason. Defense doesn't need to be very good, because no one can shoot in the preseason.
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Warriors at Lakers, 10 p.m. ET, NBA TV
This game's actually at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario out in the Inland Empire. The C.B.B. normally hosts concerts, minor league hockey and women's 7-on-7 football. (Ontario's home team in the latter is called the Los Angeles Temptation.) But the arena is run by AEG, the operator of STAPLES Center and a partial owner in the Lakers, so this is an opportunity to remind everyone there's an arena in Ontario. This will be your first opportunity to see Andre Iguodala playing alongside Stephen Curry and David Lee, and will also be our first opportunity in roughly four years to see an Andrew Bogut who claims 100 percent good health. Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman and Xavier Henry will make their Lakers debuts.
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