You don’t matter to me anymore. You’re not important. And frankly, you bore me.
That is what the NBA told the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, when the league and its pimped-out television networks revealed the 2018-19 broadcast schedule.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. The league loves Cleveland — as long as LeBron James is in town. Hence, the Cavs get two games on ESPN, and one, of course, is when LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers pay their lone visit Nov. 21.
Other than that, leave us alone, the NBA is telling the Cavs. We have more important things to do.
As for the actual schedule, yet ANOTHER post-LeBron era begins Oct. 17 at the Toronto Raptors. Then the Cavs play at the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Cavs’ home-opener is Sunday, Oct. 21. Yes, the Cavs open at home on a SUNDAY during NFL SEASON. Apparently, the league wants to keep it a secret.
Along with the two ESPN games, the Cavs will get five on NBA TV. They have zero appearances on TNT.
The league will tell you that the Cavs have “seven” national TV games. But the ones on NBA TV are simulcast. And this website is “national,” too. Doesn’t mean that anyone would watch the Cavs play on it.
Nor will the Cavs be playing on Christmas Day. That hasn’t happened since 2013-14 — the year before LeBron returned.
Big shocker there, huh?
As revealed earlier in the week, James will again be a part of the Christmas festivities — with the Lakers hitting the road to take on the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. It will mark the fourth straight year James will face the Warriors on Christmas. (The Cavs played the Heat on Christmas of 2014.)
As for the Cavs, they return just about every key player except for James — with Kevin Love expected to be the focal point of coach Tyronn Lue’s offense. Also back are J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Korver, Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson and Ante Zizic.
Rookie Collin Sexton is also expected to be a major part of things, and assuming he plays well enough at training camp, will be an immediate starter.
But none of those guys seem to matter to the NBA. The Cavs have made four straight appearances in the Finals — and that doesn’t matter to the NBA, either.
No one is saying that the Cavs will be as good without James.
Well, except for Lue and the players. They believe. They won 50 games in the easy Eastern Conference last season. Every team in the East should believe it can potentially hit that mark.
The Cavs do. They think playing team-first basketball, with an offense built on passing, motion and shooting can take them places. They believe not having the circus-like atmosphere that comes with having a celebrity on the team may actually offer some relief and remove the pressure. They know iso-ball will be a thing of the past . It has to be. It’s their only chance.
But it’s true, the Cavs are excited about their season — even if the league office and TV networks clearly are not.
Will the city and the team be as riveting without James? Most definitely not.
Will there still be a city and team? Most definitely. Just not if you ask the very league in which the Cleveland Cavaliers play.