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NBA Finals 2023 Viewership Down 3.76 Million From 2022 Opener



The 2023 NBA Finals opener between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets drew a 2.21 rating in Game 1 for the 18-49 age range demographic. About 7.64 million viewers watched the series opener, down 11.4 million viewers from Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.

Game 1 of last year’s finals peaked at 11.4 million, and an average of 8.13 million tuned in to watch. Out of the six NBA Finals appearances for Golden State since 2015, it was the least watched. Also, last year’s finals were the least watched out of all series played in June since 2007. Are streaming services part of the problem?

Are the Nuggets not as interesting to watch? This is Denver’s first NBA Finals appearance in its franchise history. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver weighed in on the issue. “We have an opportunity now to redesign how fans can receive games,” Silver said.

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“It’s clear to me that, where I’m saying it’s on us, the last thing we want to do is disenfranchise fans,” Silver continued. “Not that it should be any different, but particularly when you have a finals-caliber team, and we know that there’s intense interest in seeing these games.

“I’m very sympathetic to fans and I get a lot of emails and I’ve seen on social media and just comments while I’m here in town of people saying, ‘This makes absolutely no sense that I can’t watch games.’ I think we have to own this issue.”

Of course, fuboTV is one popular streaming service that does not carry TNT. Even then, the NBA Finals is being televised through ABC and ESPN2.

2023 NBA Finals series opener averaged 7.64 million viewers, down from 11.4 million viewers for Game 1 of last year’s Warriors-Celtics series

Compared to the 2021 NBA Finals series opener, last year’s finals exceeded expectations. Plus, Game 6 averaged 7.5 million views, and Golden State’s series-ending finish peaked at almost 14 million. An NBA Finals game has not garnered at least 20 million views since 2017.

Seven years ago, LeBron James and Stephen Curry had the two highest-selling jerseys. Fast forward to 2023, nothing has changed. James and Curry remain the two most-popular players in the NBA today. The ratings and merchandise sales prove it. This is the first finals without James or Curry since 2021.

An average of 20.38 million viewers watched the 2017 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavaliers. Game 5 was the most-viewed finals game this century, with 24.47 million viewers tuning in.

The 1998 NBA Finals between the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls tops the most-watched list. An average of 29.04 million fans watched this finals series, making it the most-watched playoff series in NBA history. Chicago’s 87-86 Game 6 win over the Jazz generated an NBA-record 35.89 million viewers.

Additionally, the Nuggets-Lakers matchup for this past Western Conference Finals series averaged 7.9 million viewers across ESPN and ABC, making it the most-watched conference finals series since 2018.

It was a 13% increase over last year’s seven-game ECF series between the Celtics and Miami Heat. Game 4 of the Nuggets-Lakers series averaged 8.209 million viewers on ESPN.

Furthermore, last month’s Lakers-Warriors conference semifinals series averaged 7.8 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, and TNT, making it the most-watched conference semifinals series in 27 years. Game 1 averaged 7.4 million viewers. It was the most-watched Game 1 of the conference semifinals in cable television history.

Game 3 averaged 8.3 million viewers and peaked at 9.7 million. It was the most-watched Game 3 of a conference semifinals series since 1999. Game 4 drew 7.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched conference semifinals Game 4 on any network since 2012.

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Austin Reaves argues that the Lakers have the most talented NBA roster




If we judge the Lakers by the way they ended last season, you can understand why they are hyped for this upcoming campaign. After they made it to the Western Conference Finals and only lost to the eventual champions, the purple and gold administration decided to maintain their core of players ahead of next month’s start of the new competition. 

Austin Reaves was probably one of the highlights of the season, as the rising star is considered by many as the third most influential player in their roster. Now that they’ve added players like Christian Wood, Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince this summer, the 25-year-old believes they possess the most talented squad in the league.

“Yeah, I do. Like you said we brought back basically a core that went to the Western Conference Finals,” he said on Zach Lowe’s podcast this week. “You can call it fluky whatever you want, but after the trade deadline I think we had maybe the second or third best record in the league…Like you said [LeBron] being hurt, not even really having any time to mesh really. Things were, after the trade deadline, kinda just thrown out there.”

The Los Angeles guard believes that now they’ll finally have the time to tighten their chemistry together, something that he considers the Denver Nuggets had and gave them last season’s title.

“We had so much talent and we relied on our talent so much that it took us that far…I think, especially now and then training camp coming up, us being able to have the opportunity to grow [chemistry], and just situations to where like in the fourth if we have a couple bad possessions that we know exactly what we’re gonna get to…Just those little things, having this whole time to learn that and do that, I think that’ll elevate us to another level,” Reaves explained.

Now that they are a month away from the new campaign, the 25-year-old couldn’t hide his excitement for the trade moves their front office pulled during the summer.

“We brought in a lot of guys that are super talented,” Austin expressed. “I would argue we have the most talented roster in the league from top to bottom. Getting Christian Wood on a minimum. Gabe [Vincent] coming from a Finals appearance. We have a lot of guys that are super talented and just getting this time to really build a foundation with one another is gonna help us a lot.”

Reaves admitted that at some point he felt allured by the opportunity of playing alongside Victor Wembanyama

One of the teams which is mostly rumored to have wanted to sign Reaves was the Spurs, who Austin admitted on the “Lowe Post Podcast” that he did imagine himself playing next to Victor Wembanyama. However, he was convinced the Lakers would match any offer for him.

”…You know you hear things, and obviously with Wembanyama, like, you know so much upside with him, you know, your mind kind of just wonders into that basketball world what that would be like…,” he said.

“I didn’t think that there was any way that the Lakers didn’t match whatever was offered,” the LA guard admitted. “They pretty much made it pretty clear that they would match whatever. At the end of the day, I wanted to be in L.A. I love it out here, love the organization, the fans. Obviously, I wish that I could’ve got as much money as possible, but like I said, fit and opportunity, here in L.A. was really what we wanted and really where we wanted to be.”

At the end of the day, Reaves received exactly what he wanted. The Lakers offered as much as they could ever  give him, a four-year $53.8 million contract with a player option in the final season.

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James Harden Expected to Skip 76ers Media Day




James Harden demanded a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers this past June after he exercised his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season, and since the 10-time All-Star has yet to be traded, NBA insiders are speculating that he’ll skip Sixers Media Day next Monday.

Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer provided his take on the disgruntled star. “First of all, I don’t expect him to be [at Media Day on Monday], I just don’t,” he said on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “The first thing I want to ask him is what did [Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey] lie about?

Per a few NBA betting sites, the Philadelphia 76ers hold ninth-shortest odds to win next season’s championship in 2024. Check out which sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat.

“And why do you want out? And thinks like that,” Pompey added. “You heard the reports that basically it was said that Daryl didn’t move him, and he promised to move him, but that was a report.”

At an Adidas event in China back in August, Harden was filmed in public saying, “Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”

James Harden is expected to miss Philadelphia 76ers Media Day; is the 10-time All-Star angry at Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey for refusing a max extension?

A week later, the 14-year veteran was fined $100,000 by the NBA for his public comments made toward Morey. The initial report concluded that “Harden told league investigators he was referring to Daryl Morey telling [him] he will trade him ‘quickly’ following the $35.6 million opt in for 2023-24.” This was first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

During an interview with a KHOU 11 television reporter in Houston, the seven-time All-NBA member was asked if his relationship with the Sixers was beyond repair.

“I think so,” Harden replied. “I’ve been patient all summer. For me, it’s just focus on what I can control and getting ready for this season.”

So, what did Daryl Morey lie to James Harden about? If the Sixers executive didn’t lie about trading him, perhaps Harden’s comments pertained to the rejection of a new deal.

Philadelphia could have offered the guard as much as a four-year, $213 million extension in free agency. However, that would have required a long-term commitment.

Regardless, it’s fair to assume that Harden’s days in a 76ers uniform are numbered. If he decides to skip Sixers Media Day, maybe the three-time scoring champ will also miss training camp.

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Jrue Holiday said he wanted to retire with Bucks a day before being traded




One day you’re exactly where you believe you should be, and the next day your life changes entirely. Life comes at you fast! Just yesterday, Jrue Holiday was talking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his desire to play the rest of his career with the Bucks.

24 hours later, the 33-year-old realizes he’s part of the blockbuster, three-team deal that is bringing Damian Lillard to Wisconsin. This means that if thing stay as they are, Holiday will be wearing a Trail Blazers jersey this upcoming season.

Let’s take a look into the details involved in this package deal that was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

As Jrue is yet to comment on his surprising trade to Portland, let’s look back on what he said yesterday about retiring in Milwaukee.

“Would love to [sign an extension],” he said this Tuesday. “Before I even won here I think I said I’m a Buck for life and I mean that like deep in my heart. I don’t want to play for any other team. I think we have a chance to continue to do great things as the Bucks team and organization so I want to be in Milwaukee.”

The veteran star is just coming off an excellent campaign in Wisconsin, averaging a career-best 19.3 points per match while shooting 47.9% from the field.

“Being with the Bucks, having three of the best seasons I’ve had in my career, and not only that but having a winning record, being a top team or a top-three team, I don’t think I was ever on a top three-team until I came to the Bucks,” he concluded.

Lillard on the other hand, admitted to feel excited over his new destination, even though he mentioned plenty of times how he wanted to play for the Heat.

“The casuals won’t be addressed but the trailblazers fans and city of Portland that I love truly will be … and they will be addressed truthfully. Stay tuned Excited for my next chapter!” he wrote on social media.

Jimmy Butler showed his disappointment by making a tampering claim to investigate the Bucks after reaching deal for Lillard

It’s clear to see that Heat star Jimmy Butler was crossing his fingers to share the court with Lillard in Miami next season, as he decided to use social media to denounce the Milwaukee club for tampering just as he found out that Dame is heading to the Bucks.

“Yo NBA, man, y’all need to look into the Bucks for tampering,” Jimmy posted a video of himself on his Instagram account. “You do. I’m just going to put that out there.”

Analyst Stephen A. Smith, on the other hand, reacted by saying that you can’t be angry at Milwaukee for making the trade. “From a basketball perspective, it is an ideal fit. You can’t blame the Milwaukee Bucks for making the deal. You also want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo happy,” he said.

However, the ESPN icon did accept that Lillard had told him how badly he wanted to play in Miami next season.

“It’s with mixed emotions obviously because I’ve known him for years and I’ve known that’s not where he wants to go,” Smith revealed. “It certainly was on his list of second or third choices, but it clearly wasn’t his first choice, he wanted to be in Miami with the Heat. He wanted to be a teammate of Jimmy Butler, he wanted to be coached under Erik Spoelstra and run by Pat Riley himself,” he said on air.

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