Buckle up for another 88 game pre-season, everybody.
That is the feeling for Cavs fans heading into another season of the Big Three Era, especially as the team returns as NBA Champions. But it is hard to object to that line of thinking, as drama unfolded almost each day of the 2015-16 regular season, all being nullified by a magical run to a championship.
The NBA released its schedule for the 2016-17 regular season on Thursday, which for the Cavaliers, will likely be 82 games on top of six preseason games where the team will try and avoid injury.
Cynicism and potential arrogance aside, there will be plenty of fun moments as the wine and gold meander the path from fall to spring.
There is a little thing going on the night of October 25th when the Cavs open up their season against the Knicks. It is called a ring ceremony.
They did not have ring ceremonies 52 years ago, but the word on the street is that they’re pretty fun. Go ahead and mark that date on the calendar.
Two months later, to the day, the Cavaliers are going to welcome in the Golden State Warriors for a Christmas Day matinee. Aside from the great basketball that is assuredly going to happen in that game, you can also play a fun game where you compare your less-liked family members to hated members of the defending runners-up.
If you miss scrappy Australian point guards, you will get a double feature of Matthew Dellavedova, on the road on December 20 and his return to the Q on December 21.
Be on the lookout for plenty of champagne-related quotables around January 16 when the Cavs travel back to the Bay for their other tilt with the Dubs.
Maybe the toughest consistent stretches of the season lie at the bookends of the season. The defending champs begin the season with 10 of their first 14 games against playoff teams, including six straight from November 13th to November 25th, though only two of the 10 are on the road.
If post-season seeding is an issue by the time April comes along, the Cavs also close the season with five straight games against Eastern Conference playoff teams from last year, including three on the road.
The regular season has also become good for a nightly check of basketball-reference.com to see where LeBron is on the career list for multiple categories as he eclipses several Cavaliers and NBA legends alike.
Over the course of the season, if James hits his normal marks, he can pass Dan Issel for 10th all-time in points, beginning a chase of Shaquille O’Neal next year. In that case, he would pass Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon.
He is 496 assists away from passing for Cavs player and coach Lenny Wilkens for 13th all-time. James has dished out 511 and 513 assists in his two years since returning from Miami. In that case, James would pass Guy Rodgers, Bob Cousy, Tim Hardaway and Terry Porter.
LeBron and Paul Pierce are both on pace to move into the top-20 all-time in steals, passing former Cavalier Shawn Marion. Pierce is 12 thefts away, while James is 103 away. If Pierce grabs 33 steals like he did last season, James would need 124 to finish the year in 20th. He last did that in 2013. James would also pass Fat Lever, Metta World Peace, Ron Harper and Magic Johnson.
James will also conceivably crack the top-100 in games played and total rebounds while passing Bill Russell (30th) in minutes played, as well as Tim Duncan (16th) in career field goals if he reaches his normal benchmarks.
The King isn’t the only one climbing the all-time lists, as Kevin Love could crack the top-150 all-time in offensive and total rebounds, and could also move into the top-85 in defensive boards. Love is in just his seventh season in the league.
The NBA Finals begin on June 1st.