Sports

Chaos-filled Nets downgraded from NBA schedule headliners

The NBA launched its 2022-23 schedule — and revealed it has relegated the Nets.

Coming off a disappointing season and disrupted by Kevin Durant’s commerce demand, the Nets are conspicuously absent from the marquee Christmas Day slate for the primary time since 2020, and their nationally televised appearances have been minimize in half.

No longer a headliner

The Nets had been featured 26 instances final season on ABC, ESPN and TNT, however this season, that quantity has been slashed to simply 13. And as a result of decision-makers clearly usually are not satisfied that Durant will probably be main a star-studded roster or that the Nets will probably be authentic championship contenders, they’ll go from 5 ABC video games to at least one.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
Getty Images

By comparability to the Nets’ 13 nationwide TV appearances, Stephen Curry and the defending champion Warriors may have 18. The NBA finalist Celtics — who swept the Nets within the first spherical — are tied with LeBron James and the Lakers with 16 nationwide TV video games.

It’s the newest proof — as if anyone wanted extra — that the Nets are not a assured nationwide draw, till additional discover. They have simply the lone ABC look, with seven video games on ESPN, 5 extra on TNT and 10 on NBA TV. Their single ABC look will probably be Saturday Jan. 28 versus the Knicks in the course of the NBA’s new Rivalry Week.

Here are some extra takeaways from the Nets’ schedule:

Back to the Bay

The Jan. 22 recreation at Golden State would presumably be Durant’s first recreation in entrance of Warriors followers since he left for Brooklyn in June 2019, nevertheless it at present isn’t slated to be on nationwide tv. If Durant isn’t traded earlier than then and continues to be a Net, the sport may all the time be picked up later.

Speaking of backs …

After buying and selling away James Harden to get Ben Simmons, the younger All-Star nonetheless hasn’t performed for the Nets, due to a again harm that required surgical procedure. He’s lastly on tempo to make his long-delayed Nets debut on Oct. 19 in opposition to New Orleans and Zion Williamson, who additionally missed all of final season.

It could be the primary time Durant, Simmons and Kyrie Irving all take the court docket collectively.

Turnpike rivalry

As it stands, barring a Durant deal — and probably even with one — the most-anticipated return may be Simmons’ first recreation again at Philadelphia, on Nov. 22. The recreation will probably be on TNT. There was loads of venom and vitriol when the 76ers hosted the Nets final season, and Simmons wasn’t even enjoying, he was in road garments due to his again harm.

The Nets — who traded Harden for Simmons on the commerce deadline final season — will host the previous MVP on Feb. 11 on NBA TV.

Travel

The Nets have a hefty 14 back-to-backs this season, however no less than gained’t need to cope with a kind of arduous circus journeys. Their two longest highway swings will every span a workable 5 video games: the primary beginning Jan. 17 in San Antonio and ending Jan. 25 at Philadelphia, and the second from March 7 at Houston to March 14 at Oklahoma City.

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