Not surprisingly, the Brooklyn Nets were not among the teams listed when the NBA announced its national TV schedule for opening week, Christmas and MLK Day.
The NBA teased the release of its 2018-19 schedule on Wednesday, announcing the national TV matchups for opening week, Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Brooklyn Nets won’t be part of any of that hoopla, to the surprise of only a few.
The complete schedule and national broadcast schedule are set to be announced on Friday.
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Fifteen teams will play in 11 nationally televised games over the first six days of the season, beginning with the TNT opening-night doubleheader on Oct. 16 with the Philadelphia 76ers on the road to face the Boston Celtics and the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors playing host to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
ESPN gets into the act on Oct. 17 with a doubleheader featuring the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans in Houston, followed by the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks as top overall pick Deandre Ayton and No. 3 overall selection Luka Doncic are scheduled to make their debuts.
TNT is back with two games on Oct. 18, LeBron James making his Los Angeles Lakers’ debut against the Portland Trail Blazers, preceded by the Chicago Bulls going to Philadelphia.
ESPN’s double-dip on Oct. 19 will include the Celtics visiting the Toronto Raptors and the Warriors going to face the Utah Jazz.
On Oct. 20, NBA TV will air the Raptors visiting the Washington Wizards and on Oct. 21, NBA TV is back with the Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers in L.A.
The opening date is the earliest for the NBA in 38 years, since the 1980-81 season opened on Oct. 10.
There are five games on tap for Christmas Day, starting with the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden to play the New York Knicks, followed by Oklahoma City at Houston, Philadelphia at Boston, the Lakers at Golden State and Portland at Utah. ESPN and ABC will have the coverage.
TNT will televise a tripleheader on MLK Day, with the New Orleans Pelicans visiting the Memphis Grizzlies, the Rockets at the 76ers and the Warriors at the Lakers.
That puts two of the four scheduled meeting between James’ new team and his old nemesis on the national slate, with a significant likelihood at least one of the other two will land on national TV as well when the full schedule is announced Friday.
For the Nets, it’s a bit disappointing to not have any time in the spotlight for the marquee dates, but it’s also very understandable.
Brooklyn is expected to be improved in 2018-19, but four straight losing seasons, three straight years out of the playoffs and a 69-177 record over the last three seasons doesn’t scream “must see TV” on Madison Avenue.
The Nets will land on national TV at some point this season — every team does at least once — but the over/under on total appearances probably shouldn’t be higher than 1½. This is a franchise on the road back to health, but the Nets aren’t there yet.
However, if Brooklyn can improve this season and attract a marquee name or two next summer, the bright lights may be shining on Barclays Center more frequently in 2019-20.