By Michael Kinney
When the Oklahoma City Thunder traded away Paul George and Russell Westbrook, fans knew interest around the nation might dwindle. But it wasn’t until this week that they got their first glimpse of just how much.
On Monday the NBA released the full 2019-20 season schedules for every team in the league and the Thunder find themselves in an unfamiliar position. Only three of the team’s 82 games will be featured on national television this season.
That is compared to the 27 Thunder games that were shown nationally during the 2018-19 campaign.
The three contests include Denver coming to Oklahoma City Feb. 21 and the Thunder visiting the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 28. Both of those are on ESPN.
But the main game will take place Jan. 9 when Westbrook and the Houston Rockets come to Oklahoma City for a matchup on TNT.
FOX Sports Oklahoma will broadcast 81 of the Thunder’s 82 regular-season games.
But for the first time since 2011, the special Christmas Day game will not be on the Thunder schedule. They were left off this season as other new teams were added.
One tradition that has not ended is Oklahoma City hosting a game on New Year’s Eve. When they take on the Dallas Mavericks Dec. 31, it will be the 11 consecutive season they have hosted the game and third straight against the Mavs.
The Thunder kick off the season Oct. 23 in Utah. Their first home game is Oct. 25 against the Washington Wizards. Then things get difficult for Oklahoma City.
On Oct. 27, the Golden State Warriors come to the Chesapeake Arena. The very next night is the first matchup with Westbrook, James Harden and Rockets in Houston. Two nights later, Portland makes their return to OKC since knocking the Thunder out of the postseason.
The Thunder month-by-month breakdown includes five games in October (three home, two road), 13 games in November (seven home, six road), 15 games in December (eight home, seven away), 17 games in January (seven home, 10 road), 10 games in February (seven home, three road), 14 games in March (five home, nine road) and eight games in April (four home, four road).
Other highlight matchups include hosting Zion Williams the New Orleans on Nov. 2: Lakers coming to Oklahoma City Nov. 22; Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and the L.A. Clippers hit the town Dec. 22.
Former Oklahoma Sooner Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks come to Oklahoma City Jan. 24 while Blake Griffin arrives Feb. 7.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider