Like we said in yesterday’s Smack, the NBA releasing its regular-season schedule shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but at the same time, it’s kind of hard to gloss over when there’s almost nothing else happening in the news. Dime’s Jeff Chen listed his Top 10 games to watch this season, but we’ve got a few more to add … Opening night, Oct. 27, will be headlined by Celtics/Cavs on TNT, followed by Clippers/Lakers, when Kobe and crew get their rings and the championship banner is unveiled. (You think Spike Lee won’t be there front-row to schmooze with his new favorite team? There’s a better chance Jack misses that game than Spike.) And if you get NBA League Pass, Wizards/Mavs and Rockets/Blazers is also on that night … And there’s lots of good stuff the next night, Oct. 28, the first real “full” schedule. Defending conference champ Orlando debuts at home against the Sixers, and if the T’Wolves have hired a head coach by then, his first game will be at home against New Jersey; Emeka Okafor immediately sees the benefit of playing with Chris Paul, as the Hornets open the season with an ESPN game at San Antonio. When was the last time Emeka played on national TV? At UConn?; Kings/Thunder will be a buckets-fest between Kevin Durant, Kevin Martin, Russell Westbrook, Tyreke Evans and James Harden; and Pistons/Grizzlies tip off the We Don’t Want Allen Iverson Classic, where Hasheem Thabeet meets Kwame Brown and hopefully isn’t staring his future in the face … Welcome to the NBA, Blake Griffin. The #1 pick’s first-week lineup has him at the Lakers (Pau Gasol/Lamar Odom), home for Phoenix (Amar’e Stoudemire), at Utah (Paul Millsap/maybe Carlos Boozer), home for Dallas (Dirk Nowitzki), and then home for Minnesota (Al Jefferson/Kevin Love). That’s rough. Then Blake has to go on the road and play the Space Jam aliens team by himself, before a time-machine matchup with Hakeem circa 1995 … The next chapter of Derrick Rose vs. Rajon Rondo — with “Rondo’s pimp hand vs. Brad Miller‘s face” on the undercard — is scheduled for Oct. 30 in Boston. Not to mention that mixture of KG, ‘Sheed, Perkins, Joakim Noah, Tyrus and Miller in the paint could lead to an all-out Royal Rumble … If things work out the way the Wolves hope, Nov. 6 will be the first Brandon Jennings vs. Ricky Rubio matchup on American soil. That same night, LeBron returns to MSG and the world’s biggest recruiting pitch kicks off again. LeBron then goes back to Orlando on Nov. 11, where he’ll get booed like crazy and the pre-game handshake/dap will be the most media-covered handshake since Belichick/Mangini … Christmas Day features five national TV games: Miami at New York, Boston at Orlando, Cavs at Lakers, Clippers at Suns, and Nuggets at Blazers … With most of the top free agents being taken care of — though we’re still waiting for A.I., David Lee, Ramon Sessions and Ray Felton — now some teams have to turn their attention to getting their current stars under long-term extensions. October 31 is the deadline for D-Wade and LeBron to re-up, as well as ’06 Draft first-rounders like Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and Rondo … With the Grizzlies locked into save-money mode, do you think they should let the deadline pass on Rudy Gay and take their chances when he’s a restricted free agent in 2010? And what should the Bulls do about Tyrus Thomas? … B-Roy and the Blazers reportedly verbally agreed on an extension last night, and we’ll let you know the financials when we hear them. Before that, you know somebody on the Blazers’ management side of the table had to bring up Roy’s old knee issues, and you know Roy’s side looked at them like they were crazy … White Chocolate is auditioning for the Knicks this week, which could signal the end of Nate Robinson‘s tenure with the team. We know Nate has his flaws, but would you really rather have a 33-year-old PG with bad knees who hasn’t played basketball in a whole year over one of the best athletes in the League who can play two positions and is your most explosive scorer? One of our writers thinks Chris Duhon needs to step up his scoring for New York to make a playoff run next year, but Duhon will have to morph into prime Steve Francis if Nate isn’t around to put up points … Your daily sign that Twitter is getting out of control: San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie got fined $2,500 by the team for complaining about the training-camp food on Twitter. Can you imagine if you had Twitter and mobile devices back when you were eating school lunch in elementary school? “Why is the mac-and-cheese yellow AND orange?” … “This pizza has no crust” … “Somebody forgot to mash my potatoes” … We’re out like Rudy’s extension …
Smack / Aug 5, 2009 / 1:39 am
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