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ESPN bumps Lakers-Rockets for Suns-Timberwolves, Cavaliers-Wizards for Pacers-Trail Blazers

Dec 27, 2013, 9:15 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant dives for a loose ball during their NBA game against the Chicago Bulls in Los Angeles Reuters

The Lakers gave Kobe Bryant a no-negotiation contract extension – in the exact opposite manner of this, to be clear – for many reasons.

One of them was undoubtedly the amount of money Kobe’s star power generates for the Lakers.

Regardless of how good Kobe is in the coming years or how good the Lakers are after spending what remains of their cap room, Kobe makes money for the team. Case in point, Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

Los Angeles and Houston are obviously bigger markets than Phoenix and Minnesota. And, as their Christmas game with the Heat showed, the Lakers can still compete with teams like the Rockets.

But Kobe will still be injured Jan. 8, and with him sidelined, the appeal is obviously much lower.

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The Cavaliers and Wizards also lost their ESPN matchup Feb. 7, according to J. Michael of CSN Washington.

Cleveland and Washington didn’t do too much wrong to get booted. As both teams hoped, they’re squarely in the playoff race, though in the Eastern Conference, that means both have losing records.

Instead, the Pacers and Trail Blazers, who will get the Feb. 7 ESPN game, just made their matchup irresistible. Each team leads its respective conference, and though few are predicting an Indiana-Portland NBA Finals, the regular-season bout should definitely draw viewers.

  1. fnc111 - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Phoenix is the fifth largest metropolitan market in the country and a helluva team to watch. Pure LA homerism by the writer. No wonder only a few teams are ever allowed to win a title.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      Feldman is Michigan based, maintains a Pistons blog.

      • Kurt Helin - Dec 27, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        He doesn’t live in Michigan anymore. for the record.

    • Dan Feldman - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      “Phoenix is the fifth largest metropolitan market in the country.”

      No, it’s not. And it’s also smaller than both Los Angeles and Houston.

      • 00maltliquor - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM

        Get ’em!

      • jw1991 - Dec 27, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        tbh those facts don’t even matter at the end of the day the lakers with or without Kobe are more appealing to me and a majority of NBA fans then the Suns and Wolves….Houston alone, I mean Howard, Harden….

      • azcards - Dec 28, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        So according to Dan Feldman, only the BIG markets deserve to have games on National Television. That is New York (Not New Jersey), Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Philadelphia. Yeah those would grab the ratings this year. Except for the Clippers, only the hard core fan of that team is watching those games. No one is watching the Lakers on TV this year outside of LA (and probably not even most of LA).

    • redbaronx - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      @fnc111 – Phoenix is #5?? Hmmm…..New York, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington… I didn’t even need to look at the Census Bureau Dan Feldman provided to you. There are several more that are larger than Phoenix on that list too.

      And you can stop with the conspiracy theories of “few teams are ever allowed to win title”. Lets face facts. Phoenix hasn’t been in contention because of the front office. Phoenix was close for years with Steve Nash and probably could have won a title if they kept Joe Johnson and weren’t so enamored with Mike D’Antoni. They let Johnson walk, kept D’Antoni who is obviously a weak minded coach (see his cop outs in NY and LA) and the front office kept making bad moves that weakened the team.

      Also, being in a big market doesn’t guarantee success. Just look at the Knicks and Wizards who haven’t won a title in 40 years, and they’re both top 5 media markets. Then look at San Antonio…

      People have to stop crying about conspiracy theories and realize that mismanaged teams are….drum roll….mismanaged! What a surprise!

    • redbaronx - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      @fnc111 – Phoenix is ranked 14. Minny is 16th largest market.

      LA is #2. Houston is #6. And Houston is a potential contender. Just a baffling decision by TV execs to bump LA vs. Houston for Phoenix vs. Minny.

      For the record I’m from DC and I have no dog in this fight.

  2. flyrocket31 - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Great now i cant watch the Rockets on ESPN and i dont have Comcast/ Xfinity…

  3. 00maltliquor - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    That’s just stupid. I bet people still want to watch that game with or without Kobe over those other games.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      No big deal, prefer Stu and Billy Mac to ESPN’s announcers anyway.

      • 00maltliquor - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        REAL. TALK.

        I wasn’t gonna watch it on ESPN anyways.

      • unxpexted1 - Dec 27, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        i can’t lie, ESPN has the worse NBA coverage nowadays. I’ll take stu and mac online on fuzzy strreming internet

    • azcards - Dec 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      yeah I want to watch Xavier Henry and Pau Gasol over Kevin Love, Eric Bledsoe and the up tempo Suns any day of the week. C’mon man, No one really wants to see the Lakers get blown out this year. They don’t deserve to be on National TV just cause they are the Lakers. The Houston Rockets do but not the Lakers.

      • unxpexted1 - Dec 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        The lakers have beaten the rockets and the clippers, and hung tight against miami on christmas day. They aren’t great by any stretch but lets not act like they are just getting blown out in every game. They are 3 point shooting team so when they’re falling they can at least have a punchers chance in most games.

  4. unxpexted1 - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    The IN vs POR game i can understand…..but is the suns vs twolves that much better of a game then Lakers vs Houston..a lakers team who beat Houston in the first game?

  5. censormynameandmycomments - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Hahaha. Did you seriously just go look that up to make sure your casually dismissive “obvious” statement was right? Phx might be 6th, not 5th, but fnc111 is still right, you’re clearly biased.

    • redbaronx - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      @censormynameandmycomments – Look again! Phoenix is not 6…they’re 14th on that list! I really don’t think YOU should be talking about Dan Feldman being biased. Obviously facts play no role in your “thoughts”.

      Also, just to drive the point home – LA (2) + Houston (6) markets are much bigger than Phoenix (14) and Minny (16) by several orders of magnitude.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      It’s the 12th largest by this measure.

      13th by this measure.

      14th by this measure.

      14th according to Nielsen.

  6. ericskins44 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Sometimes the media doesn’t know as much as they think they do. Wizards vs Cavs would be a great game to televise. John Wall is a stud and the wizards are starting to hit stride. I believe his is in consideration for best PG in the game but nobody would know cause if your not from Washington area you would never know. Kyrie Irving is also exciting to watch and the Cavs play some good basketball. That’s O.K. cause when one of the two teams knock off your pretty boys don’t say I told you so

  7. money2long - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    im surised i havent seen this more often. stations bumping games for ones they feel have more appeal. mainly because i didnt think they could do it contractually. i guess. the nfl switches off games that are duds to more attractive ones.

  8. jw1991 - Dec 27, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    if we aint talkin Miami I don’t wanna talkkkkk

  9. spyder9669 - Dec 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Houston is a potential contender? Since when? Dwight Howard???

    Suns already beat them in Houston…..sooooooo what else ya got?

    And by the way, Houston is very large indeed meaning the people that live there. Look it up and stop acting like entitled brats.

    • rohlo - Dec 27, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      phoeniz is a wasteland of unemployment and home forclosures…not to mention ntohing but dust and dirt!! ive already lived that when i lived in vegas.atleast vegas has something to do as where phoeniz is one of the most boring cities in the country and hot as hell in the summer!!

  10. shen90 - Dec 27, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    I am from Portland but now live in Arkansas. Outside of games against the Mavs, Thunder, and Griz I only get to watch Blazers when they are on national TV so I am thrilled about this.

    • gmsalpha - Dec 27, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      Or you can subscribe to League Pass and watch every Blazers game online (or TV if it’s a national broadcast).
      Yep. The internet exists and it’s fantastic for out of market NBA games!

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