Winderman: NBA schedule event highlights gulf between haves, have nots

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Thumbnail image for Nba_logo.pngWhat was that? No, seriously, what was that?

The NBA kind of, sort of, released its 2010-11 schedule Tuesday.

Well, not the entire schedule.

Well, not even the entire opening-week schedule.

And it also announced its holiday lineup, if the only holidays your heartless boss offers are Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Thanksgiving? New Year’s? Never heard of ’em (but the league was kind enough to inform the youngsters in Utah and Oklahoma City that their teams would be playing on Halloween).

If you haven’t noticed in recent weeks, the NBA has gone about creating a profound gulf between the haves and have nots. Actually, it’s more media-driven than anything, but it’s as if there are the Lakers and the Heat and a bunch of filler to get us to the first week of June.

So how does the NBA address that?

By staging a one-hour prime-time special on its cable outlet to announce a few nationally televised games a week before the entire schedule is released. (At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe, unless Craig Sager has one more outfit for NBA TV’s announcement of the league’s Groundhog Day schedule.)

For Lakers fans, Tuesday’s production was reasonably sating. Four Lakers games were announced, a robust five-percent appetizer of the overall schedule.

Orlando and Chicago also had four of their games announced.

For the Heat, Trail Blazers and Celtics, three 2010-11 games were announced.

But for fans of the Raptors, Nets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Pacers, Bucks, Hornets and Bobcats, it was all a big tease. Those fans have to wait another week for a single sniff of the upcoming schedule.

It’s almost as if the NBA was sending a message that they simple don’t matter.

But here’s where the entire production, the entire process fell flat:

Not a single San Antonio or Dallas game was released. Apparently, Tim Duncan has retired without telling anyone and Dirk Nowitzki left the Mavericks in free agency.

This is not how you treat your fans, by teasing them for a week.

No, this was not “The Decision.” That was pure torment for many.

But it also is not something that should have been delivered in its wake.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Report: Enes Kanter not yet permitted to travel to Mexico, where Thunder scheduled to play

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Remember when Turkey revoked Enes Kanter‘s passport?

That looms over the Thunder’s Dec. 7 game against the Nets in Mexico City.

Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

Without a valid passport, he is unable to travel to another country other than Canada, which allows entry from U.S. residents who have a Green Card. There is no such agreement with Mexico.

Kanter could receive a re-entry permit, a special document issued to citizens of other countries whose passports have been canceled for reasons the U.S. government deems unsuitable. The permit would allow Kanter to leave the U.S. for another country, such as Mexico, and still return. And the plan is for Kanter to acquire one before OKC’s game in Mexico City. Still, he is yet to receive a re-entry permit, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. There is, however, still ample time for that process to complete.

Kanter is a high-profile millionaire working for a billion-dollar company that has a vested interest in getting him to Mexico. He likely works this out.

Rumor: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving met in Miami

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LeBron James denied wanting to fight Kyrie Irving, but wanting to meet with his for-now Cavaliers co-star? That might be another story. Likewise, Irving – in light of his trade request – might not be eager to meet with LeBron.

But…

Tony Rizzo of ESPN Cleveland, as transcribed by Jackson Flickinger of King James Gospel:

“From very reliable sources. Plural. Kyrie and LeBron were in the same room over the weekend in Florida…Apparently these guys were in the same room and here’s the deal. I don’t know if there’s a thawing out process. All I do know is LeBron didn’t punch Kyrie the way Stephen A thought he would. I can report that. As for what they talked about or discussed…it was very cool. They didn’t get into any heated discussions.”

Did LeBron and Irving actually meet? Both were spotted in Miami, but maybe someone is just connecting dots that don’t belong connected.

Whether or not LeBron and Irving met, they might need to soon. Cleveland will have a tough time getting its desired return for Irving before the season, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert discussed the possibility of Irving returning. LeBron isn’t getting traded.

No matter the disconnect between the two, LeBron and Irving might have to figure out how to work together a while longer. It’d be nice if that process has already begun.

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

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About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

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LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.