We interrupt the usual Free Agent one-liners from me to take advantage of what happened earlier in the week.
The NBA released a partial schedule for next season, and once again, they cornered the Holiday season with goodies that we all love.
Let's look at the bite size of each of game on the initial release.
October 26 (October 27 in the Philippines): NBA Opening Night on TNT
Rajon Rondo gets his wish, to test the Miami Heat this early in the season. The Grown-Ups (with probably now includes Shaq) against the Dwayne and the Wades. And yes, you can bet your bottom dollar Marv Albert is covering all Miami games on TNT.
The other half features Championship Ring Night at Staples with Trevor Ariza looking at a what-could-have-been season as he sees Ron Artest receive his ring. Oh, and reports say that Yao Ming might be ready to go for this one. Here's hoping that he's fully healthy.
October 27 (October 28 in the Philippines) Opening Night for ESPN NBA Wednesdays
1st half of the doubleheader features probably the two studs of the World Basketball Championship team that will be playing in Istanbul (not Constantinople) later this month, Derrick Rose of the Bulls and Kevin Durant for the Thunder. This also features the head coaching debut of Thibs.
2nd half of the doubleheader also features a debut as well. Finally, Blake Griffin will get to play his 1st ever NBA game. Hopefully, he won't be experiencing an injury plagued career like the other rookie who missed the season he was drafted in due to injury, Greg Oden. This also is the Clipper coaching debut of Vinny Del Negro, who managed to poach one of his current assistants from Nate McMillan's old staff.
October 28 (October 29 in the Philippines): Opening Night for Thursdays on TNT
The first game features the debut of the new Amway Center. And oddly enough, it's John Wall and the Wizards against the Orlando Magic. I am sure someone can conjure up stories from the first game there. Whether Gilbert will be playing on either side is a question in itself.
The second game features two teams with a new refurbished look. Jazz lose Boozer and gain Jefferson. Suns lose Amar'e and gain Hedo. The interesting subplot will be whether Steve Kerr will be handling broadcasting duties for this one. Hopefully it includes an interview with Sarver.
October 29 (October 30 in the Philippines) Opening Night for ESPN NBA Fridays
The debut of ESPN NBA Fridays begins with the inter-state rivalry with Orlando and Miami. Orlando's depth will be up against the might of the Wades' studs. You can also consider this as the Jason Williams' Bowl. Hopefully, we can see the fruits of Hakeem on Dwight.
The other game features the Western Conference Finals rematch between the Lakers and the Suns. Hopefully, the three-man booth is still alive and kicking. Meanwhile, Cleveland lost another one. Still unknown if Dan Gilbert will do another Comic Sans. Then again, they are all subject to the Sarver's whims.
December 25 (December 26 in the Philippines): the Christmas Day bonanza on ESPN and ABC
You think about how different sports corner particular days of the year for their own. For basketball, it has been Christmas Day. It also serves the launching pad for ABC's national coverage of the NBA every season. This year, 5 delicious games stretching for 12 hours will captivate the baller in you.
Day kicks off with the Bulls against the Knicks on ESPN. The expert on D (Thibodeaux) against the SSOL mastermind (D'Antoni). Speaking of the Knicks' head coach, he has some free time on his hands. Hope he can figure out a way for the Knicks to exert effort on defense. Or even get any kind of return from Eddy Curry.
ABC kicks off their coverage with the rematch from the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston and Orlando. Sure, Kendrick Perkins will not be around, but wasn't Cleveland's reasoning to get the Big Aristotle was specifically for their rematch against the Magic that never happened because someone allegedly decided that he wanted to go to South Beach?
The highlight of the day follows, the team people are already talking dynasty with when they haven't played a minute together yet (Miami Heat), goes up against the defending champs (Los Angeles Lakers), who are quietly assembling a roster that is set up for a dynastic run.
After the ABC doubleheader, ESPN continues with their own doubleheader. First game features a tantalizing duel between Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. Melo's decision not to sign the extension yet seems very very famillar. It will not be as headline grabbing like someone did, but it will be something worth monitoring. Amar'e must be on to something.
And the last game of the day is a throwback to the 70s, Portland and Golden State will be facing off. Interestingly, all games were won by the Blazers back then. We know what's good in Rip City, but other than Stephen Curry, chaos reigns and we really have no idea what the new owner (Joe Lacob) wants to do yet.
January 17 (January 18 in the Philippines): Martin Luther King, Jr. Day special on ESPN and TNT
The ESPN matinee features the Bulls against a young and talented Memphis team that is really lacking on maturity and veteran mettle. With this matchup, by then, we would have figured out who they really are. Someone needs to take over and turn into the alpha dog. Enter OJ Mayo.
The first part of the TNT prime time doubleheader has the Christmas Day rematch between Boston and Orlando. Nope, Kendrick will still be unavailable for the Grown-Ups. The other part of the doubleheader has the rematch of the 1st round matchup between the Lakers and the Thunder. They had a wonderful and captivated the nation, showcasing the Thunder for the world to admire and enjoy. Could be said that they provided the toughest test other than Boston for the champs. And of course, Jedi Master Kobe showing the new Padawan Kevin how it's done after the old padawan turned into the dark side.
Speaking of the new Sith Lord, everyone's favorite Lebron / Cleveland stalker, Brian Windhorst, has secured the Cleveland-Miami playdates, considering that the complete schedule will not be released until August 10, and that no Cleveland games were among those that the NBA partially released. December 2 is supposed to be on TNT, as it will be the Rude Homecoming. Now that is must-see TV, if only for what could possibly happen, good or bad.