The process of creating the NBA schedule, which was released earlier today, begins in earnest in early July, Gene Li, the NBA’s Senior Director, National Broadcast Lead, tells Katie Heindl of Uproxx. The league starts collecting open arena dates from teams in the fall, but the process of putting games on the board doesn’t get underway until after the draft and the early days of free agency.
An emphasis in recent years has been reducing the amount of air travel that teams have to endure. In total, there are 50,000 fewer travel miles in this year’s schedule and there are 88 instances with no travel, where road teams either play the same opponent twice in a row or they stay in the same city and face the Knicks and Nets or Lakers and Clippers.
“In the past we actually had reservations about doing those,” Li said. “We weren’t sure how the teams would feel, both competitively and having the same opponent visit your market for two nights, but with these past two seasons and the small sample size, we’ve seen that there really isn’t a downside from a competitive standpoint. So we’ll keep monitoring that for the seasons to come, but we’re glad it’s working out, that the teams like it and that it’s had that positive impact on travel.”
There’s more news from around the basketball world:
- The ESPN staff picked out highlights from this season’s schedule, including Ben Simmons‘ return to Philadelphia on November 22 and Rudy Gobert‘s return to Utah on December 9. Zach Harper of The Athletic also includes those matchups on his list of the most anticipated games of 2022/23.
- One of the NBA’s most hallowed records is likely to fall this season as LeBron James is on pace to overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time scoring leader. An ESPN story examines the timeline for James, who is 1,325 points behind and will need 49 games if he maintains his career scoring average of 27.1 PPG. L.A.’s 49th game is January 25 against the Spurs, but ESPN notes that injuries prevented James from reaching the 49-game mark until the Lakers’ 67th contest of last season. That will take place March 10 against the Raptors.
- James took to social media to dispute a report that Oregon has “emerged as the front-runner to land a commitment” from his son, Bronny James, writes Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian. Bronny will be a senior at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California, and LeBron has expressed a desire to play on the same team with him in the NBA. “He hasn’t taken 1 visit yet and has only had a few calls with coaches and universities,” James tweeted. “When Bronny makes his choice you’ll hear it from him.”