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Monday, October 28, 2013
Updated: November 4, 2:01 PM ET
Uni Watch: 2013-2014 NBA preview

By Paul Lukas
ESPN.com

Kobe Bryant
When Kobe Bryant comes back from his Achilles injury, he will be donning this black uniform.

If you believe in wearing your heart on your sleeve, you're going to love the NBA this season.

Remember those sleeved jerseys that the Warriors wore last season? Expect to see more sleeves in 2013-14 -- a lot more. The Warriors already have added a white sleeved jersey, the Clippers have a new sleeved alternate jersey, the Suns' new uni set includes an orange alternate with sleeves, and there's plenty more where those came from: According to one report, at least 20 teams will wear sleeved uniforms at least once this season, including all 10 teams that will be playing on Christmas Day. This season's All-Star Game will be a sleeve-o-rama as well.

Uni Watch
What's behind this full-court press for the sleeved look? Most of the chatter in the uni-verse has focused on two possibilities:

• Lots of fans don't look good in a tank top, or just don't like wearing tank tops, so sleeved jerseys open up an attractive new avenue for merchandising and retailing.

• If the league ever follows through on its long-threatened plan to add corporate advertising patches to NBA uniforms (a plan that was put on the back burner but may be revived when Adam Silver replaces David Stern as NBA commissioner in February), a sleeve would be a convenient spot for an ad patch.

The retailing angle is definitely true, although it remains to be seen whether fans will want to spend big bucks for jerseys that look like glorified T-shirts. As for the advertising connection, that seems more of a reach. If ads ever appear on NBA jerseys (and the strong hope here is that they never do), the most likely spot is the upper chest, because that is what's most visible when a player steps to the free throw line. A sleeve wouldn't provide as much exposure.

Believe it or not, however, there are some uni-related developments this season that don't involve sleeves. With the season set to tip off Tuesday night, here's our annual team-by-team rundown of what you can expect to see on the court (teams that aren't listed haven't announced any changes):

• The Bobcats will be rebranded as the Hornets next season (here's what Uni Watch readers would like them to look like), so they're not bothering with any uniform changes this year. But it's worth noting that they've added an advertising patch to their practice jersey.

Carmelo Anthony
No, it's not a Halloween special. The Knicks will wear this orange jersey on occasion this season.
• The Cavaliers will retire Zydrunas Ilgauskas' No. 11 on March 8. Also: The team has put the names of its premium season-ticket holders on the court apron.

• The Clippers have a new sleeved alternate uniform. In a nice touch, the little nautical flag symbols on the shorts spell out "LAC" -- a shout-out to the franchise's old San Diego Clippers days, when the shorts had flags that spelled out "Clippers."

• The Heat have kept the same basic logo throughout their history, but have nonetheless managed to wear more uniforms than just about any other team. This year, they're celebrating their title by wearing gold-trimmed jerseys for their home opener Tuesday against the Bulls, plus they're adding two new alternate designs -- one red and one black. The red one is similar to the uniform they wore last Christmas, although it has some additional piping. Meanwhile: Heat players may wear nicknames on their jerseys for a game against the Nets, although those plans haven't been formally announced.

• The big news for the Knicks is that they've added an orange alternate uniform (here's a bit of video footage). The little news is that Tim Hardaway Jr. has added a "Jr." to the name on his jersey.

• Just when you thought the whole "Let's try a black uniform!" trend had peaked, the Lakers come out with a black alternate uni (and you know they're serious about it, because they had Kobe Bryant wear it for his recent Sports Illustrated cover shoot). They're also expected to have a white sleeved jersey, although they haven't officially unveiled it yet.

•  The Nets will have a sleeved alternate at some point this season, but no sign of it yet. They may also wear nicknames on their jerseys for a game against the Heat. Meanwhile, earlier this month, they retired Jason Kidd's number, which seems like an odd thing to do during a preseason game.

San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs' new camouflage jerseys are in deference to their home city of San Antonio, which is known as "Military City U.S.A."
• No uniform changes for the Pacers, but Indiana has nonetheless broken new visual ground by becoming the first NBA team to put sponsorship advertising on the edge of the court.

• If your franchise just changed its name, wouldn't you want that name to be prominently featured on your new uniforms? Seems logical enough, but the Pelicans (formerly the Hornets) apparently don't see it that way. Not only that, but the "New Orleans" lettering on the front is smaller than the lettering for the players' names on the back. Very odd approach.

• The Pistons have a new alternate uniform featuring Detroit's nickname (and no sleeves!). Not bad, right? You can see the schedule of when they'll be wearing it toward the bottom of this page.

• Nothing new this season for the Raptors, but big changes are reportedly afoot.

• Welcome news out of Philadelphia, where the 76ers' blue alternate uni has been redesignated as the team's primary road uni, replacing the red uniform. A long-overdue move.

• The Spurs have a new camouflage alternate uniform, which they'll wear on Nov. 13 and Feb. 28. Additional info here.

• Everything old is new again in Phoenix, where the Suns have taken their old Charles Barkley-era design and updated it to create this excellent new uni set. Lots to like here, especially the sweet home whites. The only fly in the ointment: The weird butt striping on the shorts.

• The Timberwolves are marking their 25th season with a jersey patch.

Eric Bledsoe
It's back to the past for the Phoenix Suns.
• The Warriors, who shook things up with a sleeved gold jersey last season, have now added a white sleeved jersey, which they'll wear for Saturday home games. And in what might turn out to be the most unusual uniform of the year, Golden State is also exploring the possibility of a special jersey for the Chinese New Year (which, in case you're wondering, takes place on Jan. 31 -- a road date for the Warriors, although they have a home game the night before).

• Smart move by the Wizards, who have changed their center jersey stripe so that it no longer wraps around to the back. Should make the back uni numbers much easier to read.

• No photos yet, but the uniforms for the 10 teams playing on Christmas Day will have -- of course -- sleeves. They'll also have uniform numbers on the left sleeve, instead of on the front of the jersey.

• No photos yet of the All-Star Game uniforms either, but they, too, will have -- you guessed it -- sleeves. Again, look for the uni numbers to be on the sleeves, not on the chest.

• The league presumably will have a full slate of throwback and Noche Latina games. No details yet on any of that, however.

• You can see some of this season's warm-up jackets here.

• Ever wonder how the coaches choose their suits and shoes? Check out this article.

• Several teams have updated their court designs. You can see some of the new layouts here.

 That's it for now. Did we miss anything? Hope not, but it has been known to happen. If you know of additional NBA uniform news that wasn't covered here, don't be shy.

Paul Lukas will preview this season's college basketball uniforms next week. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.