As was expected, the Cavs were massively demoted from the national scene when the NBA's entire schedule was released on Tuesday. After averaging more than 30 national TV dates on ESPN and TNT over the last four years, the Cavs will have just two games on those networks this year. Their total national television guarantee is three games, with one game set for NBA TV.
For comparison sake, the lowly and annual bottom-dwelling Los Angeles Clippers were scheduled for 12 national television appearances based on excitement over the return of Blake Griffin from injury.
James' new team, the Miami Heat, are scheduled for 29 national TV games -- including James first game in Cleveland since leaving in free agency. As The Plain Dealer reported last week, it will be Dec. 2 at The Q.
It is what it is. I live in the Cleveland/Akron area so I'll get all the Cavs games, no problem. But if you lived out of state and followed the Cavs, you could get away without having NBA League Pass since LeBron and company were on TNT seemingly every other week.
Windhorst does a nice job of breaking the scheduling quirks (more back-to-backs, a long home stand, etc) and I recommend reading the whole thing.
However, Windy writes this in his notes: The Brazilian National team won its Super Four Tournament, a warmup tournament for the FIBA World Championship, over the weekend in Brasilia. But Cavs big man Anderson Varejao didn't play over concerns with his back.
Varejao suffered from back spasms on and off for the last six weeks of the Cavs' season and was limited in the playoff series with the Celtics because of the injury. According to a source, Brazil held Varejao out mostly as a precaution. Brazil is scheduled to start the World Championships in Turkey in two weeks.
This scares me. You could make a pretty strong case* that Andy's back is what hurt the Cavs the most against the Celtics in last years second round matchup. The fact that his back is still bothering him has to be a concern (though I wonder how active Andy has been if he's with the Brazillian national team).
* If Andy is healthy, he's A) take some of Antawn Jamison's minutes, B) take some of Shaq's minutes and C) be able to run (and finish) the pick and roll with James. Without Andy's defense and young legs, the Cavs were pretty limited with regards to their bigs (especially since Coach Mike refused to play J.J. Hickson for some unknown reason).