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.