Mark October 9 on your calendars, Magic fans. It marks the official opening of the 2013-14 season.
Orlando will host the New Orleans Pelicans at the Veterans Memorial Arena in downtown Jacksonville in their preseason opener, the team announced. The game will be at 7 p.m. and the rest of the preseason schedule will be released later on.
This will mark the Magic's third trip north to Jacksonville, with the last coming in 2008. That was technically a Heat home game, which the Magic won 100-92 with Dwight Howard scoring 26 points. At least Michael Biamonte will not be making this trip.
Jacksonville will obviously get a very different treat this time around as the Magic are not coming off their first trip to the second round in 12 years and beginning to start a season that saw them run to the NBA Finals. No, this is a team that will be welcoming a new top-two draft pick and still rebuilding with an eye more on the future than on the present in a lot of ways.
It is not even certain what veterans will remain on the team, who that draft pick will be (reportedly Ben McLemore's workout did not go as expected and Victor Oladipo is pulling ahead), or what the makeup of this roster will be by October 9.
These non-NBA city neutral site preseason games though are fun to mix up some of the monotony of the routine and expose new markets to the NBA. The Magic definitely want to stake some sort of claim to Jacksonville and attract fans down to Amway Center every once and a while.
Orlando will open training camp in Orlando on October 1. It cannot get here soon enough.