Chaos-full Nets demoted by NBA schedule headliners

The NBA released its 2022-23 schedule – and announced it was relegated to the Nets.

After a disappointing season and disrupted by trade demand from Kevin Durant, the Nets are conspicuously absent from the Christmas Day marquee table for the first time since 2020, and their national television appearances have been cut in half.

No more headlining

The Nets were featured 26 times on ABC, ESPN and TNT last season, but this season that number has been reduced to just 13. And because decision-makers are clearly unconvinced that Durant will top a star-studded list or that the Nets will be legitimate contenders for the championship, they’ll go from five ABC games to one.

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

Compared to the Nets’ 13 national TV appearances, Stephen Curry and defending champion Warriors have 18. NBA finalists Celtics – who swept the Nets in the first round – are tied with LeBron James and the Lakers with 16 national TV games .

It’s the latest proof – as if anyone needed more – that the Nets are no longer a guaranteed national draw for the time being. They only have the only ABC appearance with seven games on ESPN, five more on TNT and ten on NBA-TV. Their only ABC appearance comes on Saturday, January 28 against the Knicks during the NBA’s new Rivalry Week.

Here are some more takeaways from the Nets’ schedule:

Back to the bay

The Jan. 22 game at the Golden State would likely be Durant’s first game in front of Warriors fans since leaving for Brooklyn in June 2019, but it’s not currently scheduled to be televised nationally. If Durant isn’t traded before then and is still a net, the game could still pick up later.

Speaking of backs…

After trading James Harden for Ben Simmons, the young All-Star has still not played for the Nets thanks to a back injury that required surgery. He’s finally on track to make his long-delayed Nets debut on Oct. 19 against New Orleans and Zion Williamson, who also missed all of last season.

It would be the first time Durant, Simmons and Kyrie Irving have gone to court together.

Turnpike rivalry

As it stands, Simmons’ first game in Philadelphia on November 22 could be the most anticipated return barring a Durant deal — and possibly even one. The game will be broadcast on TNT. When the 76ers hosted the Nets last season, there was plenty of poison and venom, and Simmons didn’t even play, wearing street clothes because of his back injury.

The Nets, who traded Harden to Simmons at the close last season, will host the former MVP on NBA television on Feb. 11.

Travel

The Nets have a whopping 14 back-to-backs this season, but at least they don’t have to deal with any of those grueling circus trips. Their two longest road swings each span five viable games: the first begins Jan. 17 in San Antonio and ends Jan. 25 in Philadelphia, and the second from March 7 in Houston to March 14 in Oklahoma City.

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