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Nets left off NBA Christmas Day schedule, Knicks to play 76ers: Report

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Nets Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving
FILE – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) and Kevin Durant react against the Boston Celtics in the second half of Game 5 during an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in New York.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File

Two of the Nets’ rivals will be playing on Christmas Day, but the Brooklyn Nets will not.

The Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks are reportedly going to play in the coveted national spotlight, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. However, Brooklyn is noticeably absent from the multiple reports that surfaced on Sunday.

It’s not hard to guess why that is with the questions surrounding whether or not Kevin Durant would still be a Net when the season begins. There is also growing chatter that Durant could hold out of camp if he isn’t traded.

The Nets superstar requested a trade from Brooklyn just before free agency opened at the end of June. That has thrown the entire offseason for the Nets into flux and clearly has given the NBA pause at the idea of featuring a team that could be in some form of a rebuild on the national stage.

Brooklyn played last season in Los Angeles on Christmas Day and, as noted by NetsDaily, had appeared on national TV 26 times last year.

Nets National Outlook

Brooklyn has garnered plenty of national attention with Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving all playing in Brooklyn. That quickly came to an end when Harden forced his way out at the trade deadline and ended up in Philly.

It’s doubtful the NBA schedule makers have any more insight than the general public or media does on where things stand with Durant and the Nets, but the ongoing drama will likely keep them off the national television schedule.

The Knicks typically draw well despite their record and the Sixers have plenty of talent to interest a national audience. While Brooklyn could still have Kyrie Irving when the season begins, that too remains a bit of a question mark considering the uncertainty if he is dealt too.

Irving opted into the final year of his deal with the Nets, but rumors have persisted about him being traded as well.

Knicks and Sixers Get Exposure

Christmas has become the NBA’s biggest regular season day of the year, and usually features some of the most celebrated matchups of big-named players from around the league each year. 

The new-look Knicks, led by recently-signed point guard Jalen Brunson, will take on their Eastern Conference rival 76ers — who boast one of the most entertaining rosters in the NBA with future Hall of Famers Joel Embiid and James Harden. 

The Knicks also remain in talks to acquire Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell, which would potentially add even more star-power to the Christmas Day game. 

Last year, New York hosted the Atlanta Hawks at MSG, in a game where the Knicks won 101–87. 

Dec. 25 of this year falls on a Sunday, which means that the holiday usually dominated by NBA games will need to compete with the NFL — potentially lessening the importance of the day for the league’s TV ratings. 

Below is a full list of NBA games slated for Christmas:

  • Bucks at Celtics
  • 76ers at Knicks
  • Suns at Nuggets
  • Lakers at Mavericks
  • Grizzlies at Warriors

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