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Bulls, ex-Thunder coach Billy Donovan will see OKC twice in preseason

Donovan and the Thunder parted ways last season, allowing the Bulls to grab him. He’ll travel to his old stomping grounds for two games. The Bulls open preseason play Dec. 11 at home against the Rockets.

Friday brought a fresh reminder that strange times are ahead for the Bulls.

The NBA announced a shortened preseason schedule that has them hosting the Rockets on Dec. 11 and 13, then heading to Oklahoma City, the former stomping grounds of new coach Billy Donovan, for games against the Thunder on Dec. 16 and 18.

Training camp is scheduled to start Tuesday. The regular season tips off Dec. 22.

If the Bulls wanted preseason work, then they’re one of the luckier teams. The NBA gave each team at least two preseason games — one home and one on the road — but no more than four. The Bulls, who were one of eight teams left out of the Orlando playoff bubble, got the max.

That’s likely to be embraced, considering they have an entirely new coaching staff, a new system to learn and a new front office that’s looking to evaluate talent outside of intrasquad games at the Advocate Center.

A few other NBA preseason games will be of interest nationally:

  • The Raptors, who will be playing at least initially out of Tampa, Florida, because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions to and from Canada, will host the defending Western Conference champion Heat on Dec. 18.
  • On Dec. 15, coach Doc Rivers and his new team, the 76ers, will host the Celtics — the team he won a championship with in 2008.
  • The Nets should finally have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the floor at the same time when they host the Wizards on Dec. 13.
  • In a battle of Los Angeles, the Lakers will host the Clippers in back-to-back games starting Dec. 11.