If the NBA knows one thing, they know drama. Following a season in which the lockout gutted 16 games, Kevin Durant emerged as the league’s second best player & LeBron James fulfilled at least the initial piece of his prophecy, the league gets ready to do it all over again this fall.

In the first year of Life After The Ring for LeBron James, he and his Miami Heat teammates raise up their 2011-12 NBA title banner in the faces of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics. Should be pretty interesting to see how the C’s take to new Heat member Ray Allen after he pretty much gave the squad a glorified resume near the end of their 7-game Eastern Conference Final war.

Elsewhere, the Nets will open up their new stadium and new life in BK two nights later against their Manhattan counterparts in the New York Knicks. And so, the battle of NYC shall begin with Deron Williams & Joe Johnson leading the BK Nets against Melo, Amar’e, Tyson Chandler and the Jeremy Lin-less Knickerbockers.

Speaking of Jeremy Lin, he’ll begin his Rocket existence in Detroit of all places, not getting a chance to relive his Linsanity days in the Garden again until December. The Heat & Thunder won’t renew their battle from last season’s NBA Final until Christmas Day, Steve Nash won’t return to the Valley of the Sun in Phoenix until January 30th and the Clippers square off against the Lakers on the first Friday of the league year.

[via NBA]