Which team is headed for some unhappy times this season?
Our Summer Forecast rolls on with predictions for Team Turmoil -- the squad that will have some unsettling experiences in the 2014-15 season as voted on by our ESPN Forecast team.
Where will Kobe Bryant finish in the NBA's scoring record books? The chase begins again next season.
Bryant, who missed all but six games last season because of injury, enters his 19th professional season with 31,700 career points, good for fourth on the all-time list. Ahead of him? Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and the reigning champ, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).
According to ESPN Stats and Info, if the 35-year-old Bryant averages 20 points per game for the Los Angeles Lakers, he can pass Jordan for third place in the 29th or 30th game of the 2014-15 season. The Lakers' 29th game is against Jordan's Bulls, on Christmas Day in Chicago. (Drama!)
But what about the other two spots on the list? Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million extension last December, ensuring himself at least 164 more games to jack up his total. But will his health hold up? Will he be able to still score like he used to as he creeps toward 40?
For those answers, we turned to the Summer Forecast panel.
And what about his on-court success?
Playoff rematches, star players returning from injuries and a heavy dose of the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers are among the highlights of the NBA's early schedule, the full version of which was released Wednesday.
The always-anticipated Christmas Day schedule includes LeBron James' return to Miami as the featured game at 5 p.m. ET on ABC, a renewal of the Western Conference finals with the Oklahoma City Thunder visiting the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs and a rivalry game between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.
Perhaps the highlight of the schedule for players, though, is new commissioner Adam Silver's response to stars' request for a lengthier midseason break. Each team now will have a full week off around All-Star Weekend in February so players who take part in the events in New York still will receive some additional time off.
The season will open Tuesday, Oct. 28, with the traditional ring night ceremony as the Spurs host the Dallas Mavericks
Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson says Los Angeles is ready for the return of an NFL team.
And he thinks it will happen soon, according to Yahoo! Sports.
"I think for the first time, I truly believe we're going to get a team. Finally," Johnson said. "Everybody is on board. The city is on board. The business community is on board. The NFL is on board. Finally we have momentum. In the next couple years, at least in the next 24 months, I think one team will be coming. I don't know what team that will be, but I believe in the next two years we'll have a team."
Farmers Field, a proposed $1.5 billion downtown football stadium connected to an expanded Los Angeles Convention Center, is ready for construction. A competing stadium project proposed by real estate magnate Ed Roski in the City of Industry has been ready to push dirt since 2009, with little traction.
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and two high-ranking Raiders front-office personnel met with several city officials in July about the potential of moving his team from Oakland to San Antonio, the San Antonio Express-News reported last month.
"It would be great to have the Raiders back in L.A., I would love for that to happen," Johnson said. "But that's going to be up to Mark and the Raiders and the NFL. But I would love to have the Raiders back in L.A. where they belong.
"We just want a team, we want a team in the worst way."
LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will square off against former teammate Pau Gasol and the revamped Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day this season, according to multiple league sources.
It will be the Lakers' 16th straight Christmas Day game, dating to 1999, but the first they've played on the road since going to Miami to play Shaquille O'Neal and the Heat in 2006.
In another game on the calendar with reunion implications, L.A. will open the season against the Houston Rockets, according to sources. Bryant was injured for all four of the Lakers' games against Houston last season in Dwight Howard's first campaign with the Rockets after spurning L.A. in free agency last summer.
The NBA officially will release the entire schedule for the 2014-15 season Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET.
On Monday, we unveiled our projected Eastern Conference standings for 2014-15. Today, our Summer Forecast takes a look at how the Western Conference stacks up after a busy offseason. Will the defending champion Spurs finish with the West's best record again?
For our results, we surveyed our ESPN Forecast panel. We'll announce one team every half-hour (from 1 to 15), starting at noon ET.
During the next two weeks, we'll also roll out our predictions for the 2013-14 rookie of the year, best newcomer, worst newcomer, MVP, conference champions and NBA champion. In addition, we'll examine which teams will make the biggest turnarounds this season and which teams could be in for the most turmoil.
Without further ado, here's how the West will shake out in the regular season: