The road to the NBA Draft and free agency is heating up. The Nets' scouts will gather this week for the mass draft workout Saturday and Sunday and then the free agent mini-camp next Monday through Wednesday, both at PNY Center. Combined, the Nets will be looking at 64 prospects at the two events.
It's about Brook Lopez, too. According to Billy King, this is the week the Nets center will learn about his training regimen. Lopez already has added a lot of strength. He told the end-of-season press conference, "Jeremy (Bettles, the Nets strength and conditioning coach) and I got a ton of good work done in the weight room and I feel like I've gotten leaps and bounds better at the weight room this season. Who knows i might not have focused on that as much."
May 16 - Brook Lopez meets with orthopedists this week to determine when he can start practicing.
May 19 - 20 -- Nets/Rockets Group Draft Workout, PNY Center, East Rutherford. Forty-four draft prospects will work out before all 30 NBA teams. Nets assistant coaches will be the court working with the prospects, most of whom will wind up in the second round where the Nets will have one or two picks.
May 21 - 23 - Free agent mini-camp at PNY Center. For the first time, the Nets will have an organized camp for free agent tryouts. In addition to D-Leaguers and others with international backgrounds, there will be five former first round picks, including four taken in the lottery.. Expect 20 prospects for the camp. While the primary purpose is to scout players for the Nets summer league entry and training camp, diamonds might be found in the rough.
May 24 - Nets can start individual draft workouts. Don't expect much until the Draft Lottery.
May 30 - 2012 NBA Draft Lottery, ABC Studios, Times Square, New York City. If the Nets finish #1, #2 or #3, Brooklyn retains the pick. If not, it goes to Portland. A night of tension shared by the front office and fans alike. Nets have 7.6% chance at the overall #1, 25.5% chance at a top three pick. Expect weeping either way. The proceedings will be shown on a big screen in Times Square.
May 31 - June 1 -- Timberwolves Group Workout, Minneapolis. The second of two mass workouts. Nets will attend.
June 1 - Unless the Lakers agree to accept a $250,000 payment from the Nets by this date, the final pick in the draft goes to L.A. As part of the December 2010 Sasha Vujacic trade with the Lakers, the Nets sent the pick, originally a Bulls' pick, to L.A. with the provision that the Nets could retrieve it if the Lakers agreed to accept the $250,000. League source says L.A. is unlikely to go along.
June 6 -10 - NBA Pre-Draft Combine, where the top 60 prospects are invited, measured, worked out and interviewed as scouts and GM's try to figure out where they fit in the Draft. If the NBA follows last season's script, the first individual workouts --and a few mass workouts-- will take place after the combine's work is done.
June 10 - 12 - Adidas EuroCamp in Treviso, Italy. The European equivalent of the Pre-Draft Combine. Expect Nets international scout Danko Cvjeticanin to be there and if there is someone particularly interesting, others from the front office as well.
June 13 - Although Gerald Wallace says he expects to decide soon on whether to opt out of his $9.5 million, this is the deadline for his player's option. His contract has a deadline prior to June 30. He can't be signed till July.
June 16 - D-League National Tryouts in Basketball City on Pier 36, New York. One of four national tryouts around the country. it's part of the D-League Draft process. Dennis Horner so impressed Nets scouts at a national tryout last year that Milton Lee drafted him and he made the big club twice.
June 28 - NBA Draft in Newark. The number and position of the first rounders still dependent on the lottery.. and whether Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to buy a pick Don't be surprised if the Nets acquire a mid-round pick now that they don't get the Rockets' pick until 2013. It's already being discussed. The Nets do have the Heat's second round pick, which is #57, and could wind up with the Lakers' #60 pick if L.A. takes the $250,000 discussed above. Both would be ideal for EuroStash. And yes, you can get value that late. Isaiah Thomas, the Kings staring PG, went at #60 in 2011.
June 30 - Decision Day on player options, early termination options, etc. Deron Williams has said he will opt out of his last year ($17.8 million). Jordan Farmar ($4.25 million) must decide whether to stay through 2012-13 or become an unrestricted free agent. There are no team options. Also, Gerald Green, Kris Humphries, Shelden Williams, Damion James, Sundiata Gaines, DeShawn Stevenson and Armon Johnson become unrestricted free agents and Brook Lopez a restricted free agent. Some front office deals may expire as well.
July 1 - Teams can contact free agents and this is often the first day news breaks about free agents' intentions. Teams interested in Brook Lopez can formulate offers which the Nets would have three days to match or lose his rights. For those thinking tours of the Barclays Center might be in order that week, the arena should be looking a lot like a finished product, with the scoreboard and other LED installation nearly complete and seating almost all in place.
July 6 - July 11 - Team USA will train daily at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Deron Williams has been invited and has said he would like to have his contract issues resolved by the Olympics, meaning by this date.
July 8 - Final Team USA roster must be set.
July 9 - July 16 - Orlando Summer League. Who might be there? Draft picks? Bojan Bogdanovic (if signed)? MarShon Brooks and Jordan Williams, if they're healthy and still with the team, will be there. Armor players Dennis Horner and Jeff Foote have accepted. Expect roster to be D-League heavy. You don't play 50 games in the D-League without developing ideas on who's worth inviting.
July 11 - Teams can begin signing free agents.
July 17- 19 - Team USA moves to Europe where it will stay through August 12. First stop is in Manchester, England, concluding with an exhibition game July 19 against Great Britain (Luol Deng, Ben Gordon) at the Manchester Arena.
July 22 - 24 - Team USA celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team with exhibition games in Barcelona against Argentina (Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni) on July 22 and Spain (Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Jose Calderon) on July 24.
July 27 – August 12 - 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Andrei Kirilenko in July. France did not offer Johan Petro a slot on Les Bleus, its Olympic team. Bojan Bogdanovic's Croatian team doesn't have an invite.likely to be only Net playing at the Olympics, unless they draft a European in June or acquire international players like
Early August - NBA schedule is released. Nets fans will learn who the team will play in its inaugural game at Barclays Center. Will it be the Knicks?
September 5 - Expected completion date for Barclays Center. Expect a couple of shakeout events in early September. Moved back from August 27.
September (TBD) - Expect Nets new uniform design to be unveiled, just before training camp. Also, like the Nets team identity, expect the design to be leaked.
September 28 - Opening Night, Barclays Center. Jay-Z will open the arena with a series of concerts.
October 1 - Nets training camp opens this week.
October 2 - First sporting event at Barclays, a preseason NHL game between the Islanders and Devils.
October 17 - Arena construction documents list this date as first preseason game at the arena.
October 31 - Opening Night for the Brooklyn Nets, according to those same documents. Arena officials note that this is simply a target date, not set in stone.