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August 23, 2019

Knicks have just three national TV games next season

August 13, 2019

When it comes to national network interest, the Knicks are at a low point.

New York was not only bypassed for a Christmas game, it was also scheduled to play just three games on national television next season.

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Coming off a league-worst 65 defeats and without a proven star after striking out in free agency, it’s hardly a surprising development, but it is disappointing for a marquee franchise. The number of national TV games (defined as broadcast on ESPN, TNT or ABC) has dropped every year for the Knicks since the Derrick Rose season in 2016-17, going from 22 to 8 to 5 and now 3.

In the three national TV games this season, the intrigue is largely about the opponent — Nov. 14 at home against Kristaps Porzingis and Dallas (TNT), Dec. 26 at Brooklyn and Kyrie Irving (Dec. 26) and Jan. 10 for Zion Williamson’s MSG debut with the Pelicans (ESPN) which just seems like rubbing it in. Apparently the networks are taking a wait-and-see approach with RJ Barrett.

Porzingis and the Mavericks come to MSG early in the season. (LM Otero/AP)

The Knicks season will start on Oct. 23 with the Marcus Morris Game.

It will be in San Antonio with a budding rivalry for reasons of the court. In July, Morris reneged on his contract with the Spurs so he could sign with the Knicks on a one-year, $15 million deal. The move was viewed as unethical and reportedly ticked off San Antonio.

Sources confirmed an SNY report that some within the Knicks organization felt the Spurs had acted improperly by wooing Porzingis while he was still on New York’s roster. It’s unclear if the Spurs had actually contacted Porzingis, but they were among the teams who pursued the Latvian in a trade.

Morris, meanwhile, agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Spurs but changed his mind. He parted ways with his agent, Rich Paul, who had encouraged his client not to back out of the San Antonio agreement, sources said.

New York’s second game on Oct. 25 is at Barclays Center against the Nets, the team that beat out the Knicks for top free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. The Knicks’ home opener is a day later against the Celtics and their newly-signed center, Enes Kanter.

Here are other highlights of the Knicks schedule:

  • Just six days before Porzingis comes to the Garden, the Knicks face their former All-Star in Dallas (Nov. 8).
  • LeBron James and Anthony Davis come to the Garden with the Lakers on Jan. 27, two days after Kawhi Leonard and Clippers are in town.
  • The Knicks never have a road trip longer than four games this season, but it gets weary in December in January with a stretch of 11 out of 15 games on the road (including at Portland, Golden State, Denver, Lakers, Clippers, Brooklyn, Miami and Utah).
  • The Knicks face every Eastern Conference team four times except for the Hawks, Pacers, Bucks and Magic, whom they play three times each.

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