The NBA created a conundrum for Northeast Ohio sports fans with its schedule release on Monday, setting the return of the Lakers’ LeBron James to Cleveland for March 26, the date of the Indians’ home opener against the Tigers.
The 2019-20 season opens Oct. 22, with the Cavs’ debut on Oct. 23 at Orlando. The Cavs open on the road for the second consecutive year and just the fourth time in the past 16 seasons. Their home opener is Oct. 26 against the Pacers.
A $184 million transformation of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, a new coach in John Beilein, three first-round draft picks and the 50th anniversary of the franchise wasn’t enough to get the Cavaliers much exposure. They will appear on national television just once, that in a Nov. 8 game in Washington against the Wizards that will be carried by ESPN.
The world champion Raptors come to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Jan. 30, with the Warriors visiting on Feb. 1. Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 20 brings the Knicks to town for a 5 p.m. game.
The Cavs’ schedule includes 14 back-to-back games, including three home-road and three road-home sets. Their longest homestand will be six games over 14 days from Nov. 23-Dec. 6. The Cavs have two six-game road trips, from Jan. 9-18 and March 10-21. The January swing includes games against the Lakers and Clippers Jan. 13 and 14, respectively.
After the March 8 home game against the Spurs, the Cavs will play five of their final 18 games at home. Their last home game is April 13 against the Nets, with the regular season concluding April 15 at Atlanta.