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Deadlines and Commitments - XLVI

The "Calendar of Dread", those drop dead dates we posted during lockout, is done with. Now, it's all about the "Dwightmare" as the Orlando Sentinel describes what's going on with Dwight Howard. No one knows when or if Howard will be traded or, to be quite honest, to whom.

Teammate Quentin Richardson said Sunday he thinks Howard will treat Magic games professionally "until trade actually happens." Howard wasn't available for comment after a practice in Miami. On such thin reeds, Nets fans ' hopes rest. The front office knows more, no doubt, but as the season gets closer, it does appear to be all about the "Dwightmare", just as it was about the "Melo Drama" last year. Stay strong, again.

December 21 - 7:30 p.m., Nets vs. Knicks preseason at Madison Square Garden.

December 23 - Cutdown for NBA rosters. Nets currently have 15 players in camp including five without guarantees beyond Christmas Day: Stephen Graham, Ime Udoka, Dennis Horner, Jerry Smith and JamesOn Curry.

December 24 - Nets reportedly have to decide whether to extend Stephen Graham's $1.1 million contract. It's possible he is included as filler in a trade before that.

December 25 - NBA season opens with Christmas Day triple-header.

December 26 - Nets opener against the Wizards in Washington.

December 27 - Nets home opener against the Hawks. Last season in New Jersey begins. Expect Russian presidential candidate and Nets owner (it's now in that order) to attend.

December 29 - Nets visit Orlando. Expect trade rumors to hit a crescendo. Chances that Howard will be traded before that? Slim and none.

January 1 - Meaningless deadline for the Nets, only relevant for players seeking extend-and-trade deals. Dwight Howard and Deron Williams are planning to opt out of their deals in July, not seek an extension to their current deals. (If they did, they would be leaving tens of millions behind.)

January 8 - Deadline for Andrei Kirilenko's NBA "out"? Under terms of his contract with CSKA Moscow, he has a month after the CBA ratification to decide if he wants to return to the NBA or stay with CSKA. CBA was ratified December 8.

January 9 - First day MarShon Brooks and Jordan Williams can be traded.

February - Brooklyn Nets will reportedly unveil their new colors and logo, but NOT their new uniform.

February 15 - First day Shawne Williams can be traded

February 26 - NBA All-Star Game in Orlando. Pundits doubt the Magic want to see Howard in another team's uniform during All-Star weekend. However, what's the alternative? Having the All-Star Game dominated by trade talks? Choose your poison, Richard DeVos.

March 4 - Russian Presidential Election

March 15 - NBA Trade Deadline.

March 16 - Nets travel to Orlando.

April 26 - Regular Season Ends, last regular season game in New Jersey. Playoffs anyone?

June 28 - NBA Draft in Newark. Number of Brooklyn Nets picks now: three, their own and the Rockets' (lottery-protected) first round picks plus the Heat's second round pick, which could be the last pick in the draft.