As Kobe Bryant rehabilitates his torn Achilles tendon, there will undoubtedly be a date circled on his and the Los Angeles Lakers' schedule: A Nov. 7 trip to Houston to meet the Rockets and center Dwight Howard.
The NBA is expected to release the schedule in the next several days, but Yahoo! Sports has learned the Lakers and Rockets will meet for the first time within the season's first full week at Houston's Toyota Center.
There's belief that Bryant could be ready to start the season, but he still has hurdles to complete in his rehabilitation process from the injury he suffered in mid-April against the Golden State Warriors.
Howard left the Lakers in early July to sign a four-year, $88 million maximum contract, and his departure left no doubt about the acrimony between the two stars. After Orlando traded Howard to the Lakers a year ago, his season in L.A. was filled with tumult, and ultimately led him to join the Rockets.
With Howard joining James Harden and a strong supporting cast in Houston, the Rockets have become legitimate NBA championship contenders.