Celtics-Heat on opening night of the NBA season

Published: Thursday, July 26 2012 10:34 p.m. MDT

NEW YORK — Miami's championship defense will begin where they won last season's title, and the first game for the Brooklyn Nets will be at home against their now-crosstown rival.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat will raise their title banner at home on Oct. 30 against the Boston Celtics as part of an opening-night tripleheader, meaning Ray Allen's first game with Miami will come against his former club and in a rematch of last season's seven-game Eastern Conference finals.

Also on opening night, Washington visits Cleveland (technically the season's first game, starting an hour earlier than the Boston-Miami matchup) and Dallas plays at the Los Angeles Lakers, Steve Nash's debut as Kobe Bryant's teammate.

"We all know this season is a very important one. We'd like to get back on top as a team," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said Thursday in London, where he and the Spanish national team were wrapping up preparations for the start of the Olympics.

The Nets, having now moved from New Jersey, will open the year Nov. 1 at home against the New York Knicks — whose Manhattan home is about 6 miles north of Brooklyn's Barclays Center. And NBA finalist Oklahoma City starts the season that same night, playing at San Antonio in a Western Conference finals rematch.

Jeremy Lin won't be in that Knicks-Nets opener — his return to Madison Square Garden comes Dec. 17. The Knicks play in Houston on Nov. 23.

As for the NBA finals rematches, both will get national-television treatment. The Thunder visit the Heat as part of a five-game slate on Christmas Day (to be aired on ABC), and the Heat will head to Oklahoma City on Feb. 14, a game to be shown on TNT.

The All-Star Game is in Houston on Feb. 17. The regular season ends April 17.

While Miami might be the site of the marquee matchup on Dec. 25, Los Angeles will get a Christmas doubleheader: The Lakers play host to the Knicks, and five hours or so after that game ends, the Clippers will get a visit from the Denver Nuggets.

Maybe the game's most storied rivalry resumes in February: The Lakers are in Boston on Feb. 7, and the Celtics go to Los Angeles on Feb. 20.

Top draft pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets start their season at home on Oct. 31 against San Antonio.

SUNS PRESIDENT STEPS DOWN: The Phoenix Suns say Brad Casper has resigned as president of the NBA team to focus on outside business ventures.

They say chief operating officer Jason Rowley will assume responsibility for the club's business operations as president and Lon Babby will continue serving as president of basketball operations.

Casper oversaw the Suns' business operations since October. He joined the Suns following a 5 1

2-year stint as president and CEO of the Dial Corporation and its successor, Henkel Consumer Goods Inc. He has been executive chairman of a Dallas-based sports nutrition company since March 2011.

The Suns say Casper also will focus on serving on the board of directors of Grand Canyon University.

MAVERICKS RE-SIGN WEST: The Dallas Mavericks re-signed free-agent guard Delonte West on Thursday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The 6-foot-3 West originally signed with Dallas as a free agent on Dec. 13. He averaged 9.6 points, 3.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 24.1 minutes in 44 games last season. He missed 21 games after fracturing and dislocating his right ring finger on Feb. 15 against Denver.

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