Apparently there's a rumor going around, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, that the 2014-15 season will begin with the Spurs visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers, and not with the Spurs at home, receiving their rings in front of a national TNT audience, as each defending champ has done since 2002.
"It would absolutely make sense for the NBA to kick things off with James' home debut." writes Kevin Zimmerman for SBNation. And he's absolutely right. At least he's right if championing a single player over a team is what the NBA is going to continue doing.
A portrait of Austin Daye
The third in a series of profiles on each member of the 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs.
I can hear the boo-birds flapping their wings and warming up their voices now: "Oh, what a surprise. Another Spurs fan griping about how they never get enough respect. Your team raised the Larry O'Brien trophy just last month to universal acclaim. Many of the league's pundits are calling them favorites to repeat. Isn't that enough?"
Well, it's not bad, that's for sure. It's pretty great, in fact, but enough? When is anything ever enough for a fan? The Spurs won a championship. That's great, now we root for a repeat. Fans cheer, they support, most of all they want. What do they want? More.
More wins. More rings. More trophies. More acclaim. Generally, more of every good thing they can think of.
And one of the things I can think of is the joy of having the first game of the season be preceded by the league's champions receiving their rings on their home court -- fêted and praised and appreciated for their stunning and historic playoff run -- before putting the past season in the rear view mirror and focusing on the task ahead.
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?
With respect to Kevin Zimmerman, it would not make sense to break from recent practice by sending the Spurs on the road to start the season. After a Finals many described as being defined by team play -- after an opposing general manager has called the manner the Spurs won as the "greatest thing to happen to basketball in the last 10 years" -- making San Antonio visit Cleveland would feel like a step backward.
But the league can have it's Cavalier-flavored cake and eat it too. All it has to do is have a double-header to open the season and send the Miami Heat to play Cleveland. Then, while the first game is ending, the Spurs' ring ceremony can run on NBATV or elsewhere, followed by Oklahoma City at San Antonio. That way you have your heavy hitters from both conferences on a single night and everybody wins.
If that doesn't work for Adam Silver, then certainly the Spurs would be happy to host the Cavs and let Mr. James and his new team watch as San Antonio hoists their fifth banner into the rafters. After all, it'd give him something to shoot for.