Cleveland Cavaliers fans who waited four years for the possible return of LeBron James will need to exercise some added patience when the season gets underway this fall. The NBA released its 2014-15 season schedule on Wednesday night, with the Cavaliers’ first game scheduled for Thursday, October 30 at Quicken Loans Arena against the New York Knicks, two nights after the official start of the season. That game will be broadcasted on TNT.
One night after the Cavaliers open up against the Knicks, they head to the Windy City to face their main Central Division rival, the Chicago Bulls. Chicago will also be the opponent for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day game on Monday, January 19.
The return of James, coupled with the likely arrival of Kevin Love has, not surprisingly, made the Cavaliers the darlings of the NBA’s TV partners. David Blatt’s team will be on either ABC (10), ESPN (5), TNT (10) 25 times during the regular season. That matches both the Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder for most national TV appearances, and is a far cry from the past four years, when the franchise’s video imprint was virtually non-existent.
Both of the contests against the Thunder will be feature television clashes: the first (on TV) will take place in Oklahoma City on Thursday, December 11, while the rematch in Cleveland will be the late ABC game on Sunday, January 25.
The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs will come to Cleveland on Wednesday, November 19 for a game to be featured on ESPN, with the two teams meeting up again in San Antonio on Thursday March 12 for a TNT scuffle. An early rumor had the Cavaliers possibly hosting the Spurs on opening night, but Gregg Popovich’s squad will instead host their in-state rival, the Dallas Mavericks that night.
One rumor that did pan out is that James and the Cavaliers will head to Miami for a Christmas Day matchup, the first meeting between the two teams since James announced his return to the Cavaliers last month. The contest will serve as the midway point on a busy holiday with five nationally televised games.
The schedule, which ordinarily is released two or three weeks earlier, was delayed due to the earth-shifting personnel movements that came during the free agency period.