While the Phoenix Suns battled the L.A. Clippers in the final game before the NBA’s All-Star Break, the league announced a schedule change to the national TV schedule for next week’s return to action.
Those same Suns, who acquired Kevin Durant at the trade deadline, would be moving back onto the national TV schedule for a home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder — booting the reeling Chicago Bulls and Durant’s former team, the Brooklyn Nets, off of ESPN’s airwaves, with Miami-Milwaukee remaining on as the early game.
TIME CHANGE: NBA has announced Thunder @ Suns next Friday 2/24 will tip at 9pm CT to accommodate @ESPN national broadcast. Game will also air on @BallySportsOK.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 17, 2023
This would certainly seem to indicate that ESPN, at the very least, believes that Kevin Durant will be making his Suns debut on this night. Durant, who has missed just over a month after Jimmy Butler fell into his knee in a game on January 8, still had no official timetable for his return, but he was recently doing on-court work in Phoenix after being traded to the Suns. For ESPN, booting the still frisky but starless Nets and the freefalling Bulls off of the national TV schedule for KD’s potential debut on his new squad isn’t a hard choice. Still, it’s not often a game with the Thunder, despite being quite competitive this year, gets picked for the national spotlight. That said, the last time they were was a little over a week ago when LeBron James broke the all-time scoring record but the Thunder picked up a win.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and company will get the opportunity to play spoiler once again with all eyes on the Suns, hopefully as a complete unit for the first time.