This time, the Cavs, led by new head coach John Beilein, will be in Orlando for a matchup against the upstart Magic on Oct. 23 — one day after the NBA season officially tips off with a doubleheader featuring the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers and the Toronto Raptors vs. New Orleans Pelicans.
Following the first game in Orlando, the Cavs will have two days off before their home opener at newly transformed Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which is set for Saturday, Oct. 26 against the Indiana Pacers at 8 p.m.
The Cavs are, again, not getting much national television recognition. After appearing twice on ESPN and five times on NBA TV last season — their first without LeBron James — the Cavs are set to make just one appearance on ESPN. Despite a handful of Thursday night games, they aren’t currently part of TNT’s beefy, revamped schedule this season either.
The lone ESPN game will be on the road versus the Washington Wizards at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8.
Over the last few days, reports surfaced about a handful of other national TV games for Opening Week, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Cavs, a staple of the league’s marquee slate for four years with James from 2014-2018, were notably left off that schedule once again, with one caveat.
Cleveland will host the New York Knicks at 5 p.m. on MLK Day. That matchup, however, will not be part of the league’s tripleheader, as TNT will instead broadcast New Orleans at Memphis — a showdown between the top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Cavs will be home and off for Christmas. They will host the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 23 and then get three days of rest before a road trip that begins in Boston on Dec. 27 and ends in Toronto on New Year’s Eve.
Even the two matchups against James aren’t compelling enough for TV execs. The first meeting versus the Lakers comes on Monday night, Jan. 13 in L.A. as part of Cleveland’s six-game road trip. It’s the first game of a Staples Center back-to-back, returning to that same venue for a showdown against the revamped Clippers 24 hours later.
James’ lone appearance in Cleveland is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 26.
The Cavs will play the Kyrie Irving-led Brooklyn Nets three times, with two of those matchups being held at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The first is Nov. 25. That could be Irving’s second appearance in Cleveland since demanding a trade in 2017. The only other home game vs. the Nets is April 13 — the home finale. Cleveland’s lone trip to Brooklyn will be Saturday, March 28 at 6 p.m.
The last game of the regular season is in Atlanta on April 15.
Other notables on the schedule:
— The NBA has gone to great lengths to space out the schedule. For the third consecutive year, there are no stretches with four games in five nights. There are, however, eight occasions when the Cavs will play three games in four nights. According to the NBA, back-to-backs are at an all-time low for the fifth straight year. The average per team is 12.4. The Cavs will play 14 sets of back-to-backs, including three home-road sets, three road-home sets, two home-home sets and six road-road sets.
— In an effort to present national TV games to the largest possible audience, the NBA worked closely with teams and domestic broadcast partners to schedule earlier start times for doubleheaders.
This season, 12 of TNT’s 31 doubleheaders and 22 of ESPN’s 36 doubleheaders will tip at 7:30/10 p.m. or 7/9:30 p.m. instead of the customary 8/10:30 p.m. That’s a total reduction of 42 percent from last season.
— The first five days of the season (Oct. 22-26) will feature 16 different teams playing 11 national TV games.
— The longest homestand for the Cavs is six games over 14 days. That stretch begins on Nov. 23 and goes until Dec. 6. The Cavs also have second five-gamer, which covers nine days from Feb. 29 until March 8. That features matchups with Indiana (Feb. 29), Utah (March 2), Boston (March 4), Denver (March 7) and San Antonio (March 8).
— The longest road trip is six games over 12 days. That trip, from March 10-21, includes trips to Chicago (March 10), Charlotte (March 13), Atlanta (March 14), Houston (March 17), Orlando (March 19) and Indiana (March 21). There’s another six-gamer, which comes in January and stretches from Jan. 9-18.
That trip, which starts in Detroit (Jan. 9), includes a brief stop out west, playing the Denver Nuggets (Jan. 11), Los Angeles Lakers (Jan. 13) and Los Angeles Clippers (Jan. 14) before heading to Memphis (Jan. 17) and then finally ending in Chicago (Jan. 18).
— The Cavaliers will play nine home games in January, their most contests at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in a single month for the season. They will play eight road games in December, their most away games in a single month during 2019-20.
— Another lengthy road trip awaits in April. This one covers five games in eight days before returning to Cleveland for two of the final three games at home. The roadie goes from April 1-8, beginning in Utah and ending with the Cavs’ lone visit to the Bay Area for a matchup against one-time rival Golden State.