In the post 'Melo-Drama world, as the Nets try to find a new model to emulate, a number of dates stand out as significant markers for them: the trade deadline, the draft lottery, the draft itself. But first, we will have to get through January 31, when the Nuggets, presumably with Carmelo Anthony still on the roster, arrive in Newark. Don't expect Mikhail Prokhorov to show up for this one. Do expect him to show up in March for the London Games. Short hop from Moscow to London, not the 9 hour, 21 minute trek to Newark.
January 31 - Nets vs. Nuggets. If Carmelo Anthony is still with the Nuggets, expect the media to be all over him, Billy King and Masai Ujiri (if he dare shows up). This will be a test of the Nets' commitment not to re-start negotiations or take any phone calls from Area Code 303. It should also be a test for the seven Nets whose season was made miserable by the 'Melo Drama. Time to get even boys.
February 9 - Nets vs. Hornets. The Nets host an "Evening of Chinese Culture." The Nets started the program when Yi Jianlian was with the team and will continue it even though he was unceremoniously dumped on the Wizards. In the past, groups will perform at halftime and after the game. As noted, the Nets scheduled three ethnic culture nights this season, for Spanish, Russian and Chinese cultures. After English, those three languages are the ones most spoken in Brooklyn households.
February 18-20 - All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. Amidst the annual hoopla (Get it, Hoop-LA?), 30 GM's will be having face-to-face discussions. With the deadline days away, All-Star Weekend is often where trades get hatched or finalized.
February 24 - Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Last chance to dump big contracts before the new collective bargaining agreement.
March 1 - Playoff roster deadline. Players can still be waived and signed after the trade deadline and a player is eligible for a team's playoff roster as long as he wasn't on another team's roster on March 1st or later. So if the Nets can't deal Troy Murphy, don't be surprised if he gets waived between February 24 and February 28...in spite of what they're saying now. Dan Fegan is Murphy's agent. He's one of the NBA's most powerful agents (and someone who has represented eight Net players over the past two years, including Kris Humphries).
March 4-5 - NBA Games London, the first regular season NBA games in Europe. The Nets will play two "home" games vs. the Raptors at the 02 Arena in London. Nets will have three days rest before the first game and another three days after the second. Might Prokhorov make an appearance here too? Duh. Christophe Charlier, the Nets chairman and Prokhorov's #3, said recently Russians will be there "in force".
March 11 - First anniversary of Barclays Center ground breaking. Expect progress reports.
April 6-9 - Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Virginia. College seniors who are the cusp of the draft play against each other, the official opening of draft season.
April 25 - NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 p.m. ET). College underclassmen and international players must declare early eligibility.
April 29 - NBA Teams may conduct or attend workouts with Early Entrants.
May 8 - NCAA Early Entrant withdrawal deadline for college underclassmen to decide whether to stay in the NBA Draft or lose their NCAA eligibility. Where will CBA negotiations stand at that point and how will it affect decisions, particularly by members of the freshman class? The draft, already seen as weak, could get a lot weaker if top underclassmen withdraw.
May 17 - NBA Draft Lottery, NBA TV Studios, Secaucus, NJ. The lottery and the draft will both be in New Jersey this year. Do the Nets have a "home court advantage"?
June 11 - New York Liberty opens their home season at the Prudential Center. The Dolans may own them but they will become New Jersey's team for three years as Madison Square Garden is renovated during the summer.
June 13 - NBA Early Entrant withdrawal deadline. Primarily applies to international players. Unlike college players, international players can re-sign overseas if there is a lockout.
June 23 - NBA Draft, Prudential Center, Newark. With the Garden undergoing renovations, the Draft moves across the Hudson to Newark as well. If the draft were held today and no choices are added or subtracted before the deadline or that night, the Nets would have the fourth, 28th and 34th picks.
June 30 - End of old collective bargaining agreement, possible start of lockout?
July 5 - Nets must decide whether to keep Stephen Graham for 2011-2012 season. Otherwise, he receives $100,000 guarantee.