SALT LAKE CITY — With Donovan Mitchell’s Adidas D.O.N. Issue #1 sneakers flying off the shelves and Jazz jerseys being sported religiously on the streets of Utah, local fans are thirsty for some NBA basketball.
There’s no denying the buzz around town with the additions of Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Jeff Green, Ed Davis and Emmanuel Mudiay — plus rookies Miye Oni, Justin Wright-Foreman and Jarrell Brantley.
But there’s also some growing national interest.
On Monday afternoon, that excitement has only intensified with the release of the 2019-20 NBA schedule.
Here are some notable highlights and games to watch for the 2019-20 season:
PRESEASON: After three consecutive playoff seasons for the first time since 2009-10, the Jazz will kick off the preseason with three home games in Vivint Arena and two on the road. The Jazz will host the Adelaide 36ers of the NBL on Oct. 5, then travel to Milwaukee and New Orleans on Oct. 9 and Oct. 11, followed by two more home games against Sacramento and Portland on Oct. 14 and Oct. 16.
SPOTLIGHT: The Jazz currently have 25 nationally televised games set up with 10 on ESPN, nine on NBA TV and six on TNT. That number is up from the 17 nationally televised games on ESPN, TNT and NBA TV that were announced at the start of the 2018-19 regular season.
HOME INTRO: Utah went 50-32 last season with 74 straight sellouts and will look to extend that streak with a new-look roster starting with the home opener on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
LA LA LAND: LeBron James & Co. will host the Jazz as part of the NBA’s Opening Week on Friday, Oct. 25, on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. MT. Former University of Utah star Kyle Kuzma is also entering his third season with the Lakers. James didn’t make a trip to Vivint Arena in his first season with the Lakers but is expected to play in the Lakers at Jazz game for the first time in a purple and gold jersey on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
HOLIDAY SPIRIT: Unlike last season, Utah isn’t scheduled to play on Christmas, Thanksgiving or Halloween. However, the Jazz will also host the Indiana Pacers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Vivint Arena on Jan. 20.
WELCOME BACK: After a dozen years in Memphis, former Grizzlies star Mike Conley will make his much-anticipated return on Friday, Nov. 15, on ESPN. Conley is Memphis’ career leader in games played plus points, steals and assists. He is coming off a career-season where he averaged 21.2 points, 6.4 assists and 3.4 boards per game.
ROUND OF APPLAUSE: Rookie sensation Zion Williamson may be the talk of the league, but in Salt Lake City, former Jazzman Derrick Favors will be the center of attention when he returns with the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, Nov. 23, for the first time. Expect a standing ovation.
REVENGE: After eliminating the Jazz in the last two postseasons, former MVPs Russell Westbrook and James Harden will face the Jazz three times this season as Houston Rockets teammates on Jan. 27 and Feb. 22 in Utah, then once in Houston on Feb. 9.Comment on this story
THE BIG APPLE: One of Mitchell’s favorite trips of the season is returning to his home state of New York to face the hometown Knicks in Madison Square Garden. Utah will travel to New York for its lone trip as part of a four-game road trip on Wednesday, March 4. Cleveland, Boston and Detroit are other stops on that road stretch.
AWAY FROM HOME: As the NBA looks to reduce doubleheaders to present national television games on a larger audience, no team will play a stretch of four games in five days. Utah’s largest road trip is five games from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 against Milwaukee, Indiana, Memphis, Toronto and Philadelphia. The longest homestand is set for Feb. 12-28 against Miami, San Antonio, Houston, Phoenix, Boston and Washington.