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.

Evan Fournier pokes fun at his ‘NBA 2K’ likeness

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 07:  Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 7, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.

Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.

At least they’re having fun with it.

Report: Sixers expected to waive Tibor Pleiss after trade with Jazz

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Tibor Pleiss #21 of the Utah Jazz controls the ball in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 30, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.

Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.

Jordan releases new Russell Westbrook ad, may include a shot at Kevin Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (L) and Russell Westbrook #0 look on during a press conference after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”

Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.

Kobe Bryant on how teams should see Warriors: “‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 03:  Retired NBA Champion, CEO, Kobe Inc., Kobe Bryant speaks onstage during 2016 Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton on May 03, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.

His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).

“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”

Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.

We’re going to miss Kobe.