The Nets and Lakers will open the NBA season as the favorites to win the championship and the history between players on both teams makes it one of the best rivalries in the league this year.
The NBA considered this when making its national television schedule for Christmas Day. The Lakers will play the Nets at STAPLES Center on December 25. Dafabet favors the Nets to win the NBA Championship with the Lakers, Bucks and Warriors behind them on the futures board.
As far a drama, there’s no better league than the NBA and while the Lakers and Nets don’t have much history between them, the star players on both teams do.
You can’t forget the breakup of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving after both teamed up in Cleveland to win a championship in 2016 and led the Cavs to three straight NBA Finals. Irving wanted to escape James’ shadow and was traded to the Celtics. He later called James, telling the Boston Herald, “I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips. I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.”
Last year, Irving took a perceived shot at LeBron though, when he said Durant was the first teammate he could trust to take the last shot of the game. James later said the comment, “kind of hurt me a little bit.”
And then there’s the breakup of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, after they led the Thunder to the brink of an NBA title. Durant left Westbrook and the Thunder to join the Warriors after they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Cavaliers in 2016.
Westbrook and KD reportedly were not close at the end of their time as teammates and Westbrook threw some shade at Durant after he left by posting a picture of cupcakes on his Instagram. Kendrick Perkins would call teammates who were acting soft, “cupcake,” and Westbrook and Durant adopted the term. Westbrook also said it was “cute” that Durant implied Thunder players were selfish after he left.
Finally, there’s James Harden and Dwight Howard, who were teammates on the Rockets from 2013 to 2016. Harden and Howard reportedly tried to get each other traded during their three seasons together and never got along. Howard finally decided to leave the Rockets in 2016 when he declined his $23 million option to sign with the Hawks. And don’t forget that Harden also played with Westbrook in the Thunder and in 2019-20 with the Rockets, before Westbrook requested a trade and was dealt to the Wizards.