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Toronto Raptors

When notable stars return to play their old teams this NBA season

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Kawhi Leonard vs. DeMar DeRozan (NBA Getty Images)

Some of the NBA's most well-known players are representing new teams this season.

For LeBron James and DeAndre Jordan, they made the decision as free agents to leave the places they have considered home for most of their NBA careers. In the case of DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard, a blockbuster trade ended their time with the only teams they've ever played for.

Here's when them and other notable stars will return to play their old teams in 2018-19.

Kawhi Leonard returns to San Antonio

Date: Jan. 4

Kawhi Leonard had a lot of success during his time with the Spurs, but it didn't prevent him from demanding a trade from San Antonio this offseason. How will Spurs fans greet the two-time All-Star following his public breakup with the team that traded for him in the 2011 NBA Draft?

Blake Griffin returns to Los Angeles

Date: Jan. 13

As Blake Griffin will go down as one of the best Los Angeles Clippers of all-time, many were caught by surprise when the team dealt the former No. 1 overall pick to Detroit ahead of last season's trade deadline. Though he did play against the Clippers last season in what was just his fifth game as a member of the Pistons, that game took place in Detroit.

This will mark his first road game playing against the Clippers since the trade.

Tony Parker returns to San Antonio

Date: Jan. 15

In the 2001 NBA Draft, the Spurs used the 28th overall pick to select a 19-year-old French kid by the name of Tony Parker. After 17 seasons and four NBA titles, who would have thought Parker would ever suit up for anyone other than the Spurs?

The 2007 Finals MVP will visit the AT&T Center with his new team in what will surely be an emotional return.

DeMar DeRozan returns to Toronto

Date: Feb. 23

After being traded to the San Antonio Spurs this offseason, DeMar DeRozan will make his highly anticipated return to Toronto on Feb. 23.

DeRozan spent nine seasons with the Toronto Raptors and leaves as the franchise's all-time leading scorer.

Isaiah Thomas returns to Boston

Date: March 19

In a span of two and a half years, Isaiah Thomas went from the Boston Celtics' sixth man to a legitimate MVP candidate. In 2016-17, Thomas was the franchise's heart and soul, leading the team to the East's No. 1 seed and the conference finals through injury.

Thomas will likely have this game circled on his calendar as he did not play in Boston last season as a member of the Cavaliers or Lakers following his trade from the Celtics in the 2017 offseason.

DeMarcus Cousins returns to New Orleans

Date: April 10

The only move more surprising than LeBron James joining this Lakers this summer was DeMarcus Cousins signing a one-year contract with the defending champions. Depending on how he recovers from tearing his Achilles in January of 2018, expect the four-time All-Star to have a monster game against his former team.

Carmelo Anthony's return to Oklahoma City

Nov. 9, 2018 - Thunder 98, Rockets 80

Anthony: 2 PTS (1-for-11 FG), 5 REB in 20 MIN

Carmelo's lone season in Oklahoma City did not go quite as planned. Not only did the 10-time All-Star average career-lows in a number of statistical categories, the Thunder also suffered a first-round disappointment at the hands of the Utah Jazz.

After Anthony and the Thunder mutually agreed to part ways this offseason, a trade and subsequent buyout led to him joining the Houston Rockets.

Gordon Hayward's return to Utah

Nov. 10, 2018 - Jazz 123, Celtics 115

Hayward: 13 PTS (3-for-9 FG), 7 AST, 1 REB in 26 MIN

Gordon Hayward left the Utah Jazz as a free agent in the summer of 2017, but he suffered a season-ending injury in his first game with the Boston Celtics last season.

LeBron James' return to Cleveland

Nov. 22, 2018 - Lakers 109, Cavaliers 105

James: 32 PTS (11-for-20 FG), 14 REB, 7 AST

LeBron James shocked the world when he announced that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. Unlike DeRozan, LeBron has made his return to Cleveland as a visitor before, back on Dec. 3, 2010 after leaving to join the Miami Heat.

This one was less hostile than the last as James did fulfill his promise of delivering a title in his second stint.

DeAndre Jordan's return to Los Angeles

Dec. 21, 2018 - Mavericks 121, Clippers 125

Jordan: 11 PTS (4-for-6 FG), 22 REB, 4 AST

Three years after the free agency saga that saw DeAndre Jordan verbally commit to Dallas before changing his mind to remain in Los Angeles, the Texas native is now officially a Maverick. After spending nine seasons as a member of the Clippers, Jordan made his return to Staples Center as a visitor on Dec. 21.

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