The Boston Globe floats a rumor that the NBA could kick off the 2014-2015 season by having the defending champion San Antonio Spurs start on the road vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron's first game back in a Cavs uniform.
Rumor has it that the NBA's season-opening game on TNT will be San Antonio at Cleveland, the first home game for LeBron James in his return to Cleveland and the first game for the defending NBA champion Spurs. The NBA schedule is expected to be released next month
I'm sure Spurs fans will take this in their usual non-defensive, mature way... oh, wait.
If the league wants to shift its focus from southern Florida to northern Ohio, that's fine. But why should the Spurs have to be the visiting team and play second-banana for LeBron James' homecoming? They're the champs. Haven't they earned the right to host the season's first game? Wouldn't it be a shame for them to put together one of the most dominant postseasons the NBA has ever seen (winning their 16 games by a greater combined margin than any other champion in league history) only to have to put off their banner ceremony until after playing the league's newly-crowned marquee team on their home court?
Even if the rumor's not true, just leaking it is a marvelous way to send the Spurs' fanbase, placated by the championship like a dog getting its bone, back to frothing at the mouth about a lack of respect. And I'll admit, it's weird that a championship team should ever have to start on the road, though it's happened before, and it's weird that it would be against a brand new team.
James is clearly the story, there's no denying that. But if you put LeBron James on opening night with the Cavs, it's hard to find a way to keep San Antonio on opening night. You could split it and have the Spurs open vs. a West opponent in the late game, but that won't start until 10:30 ET, 9:30 local. Then you have the banner ceremony. So you're talking 9:45 local time.
It likely will be Spurs-Cavs wherever it is, and given that the Cavaliers are young, inexperienced, and own't have played with James beyond a handful of preseason games, that's probably not going to go well for Cleveland, no matter where it is. We'll keep you updated on all the schedule news as it begins to leak.