As the Nets head for Brooklyn, the path is clearing.
The team's last game in New Jersey is now a month (10 home games) away. Not long after that, the team's name will be officially changed, colors; logos and uniforms rolled out. Then, the franchise's long-term future will be determined on a series of dates, starting with the Draft Lottery on May 30 and extending through Free Agency which starts on July 11.
So, you can call this the Nets High Anxiety Calendar ... and it starts with the next medical update on Brook Lopez's foot.
April 6 - Next scheduled update on Brook Lopez's medical condition. Team could announce that he is done for the season.
April 11-14 - Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Portsmouth, VA). Scouts gather for first big event of Draft prelims as marginal prospects, mostly college seniors, show their stuff.
April 17 - Nets will retain Bird Rights that any D-Leaguer called up on a 10-day contract after this date
April 23 - Last regular season home game for the Nets in New Jersey, 7:30 at Prudential Center vs. the 76ers
April 27(?) - NBA Board of Governors meeting. This is likely to be the meeting where the Nets' move to Brooklyn is approved, along with the name change from "New Jersey Nets" to "Brooklyn Nets". Logo time? Also, ties on draft positions are broken with coin tosses. In case of ties between lottery teams, the number of balls are evenly divided, but if that results in an odd number, there's a coin toss for the extra ball.
May 23 - Earliest completion date for exterior skin at Barclays Center, giving the arena its final "look"
May 30 - 2012 NBA Draft Lottery, location TBA, but likely in New York metro area. If the Nets finish #1, #2 or #3, Brooklyn (yes, Brooklyn) retains the pick. If not, it goes to Portland.
June 28 - NBA Draft in Newark. The number and position of the first rounders still dependent on final standings and lottery. The Nets do have the Heat's second round pick, which is likely to be no better than #58, making it ideal for a EuroStash.
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). Gerald Wallace ($9.5 million) and Jordan Farmar ($4.25 million) must decide whether to stay through 2012-13 or become unrestricted free agents. There are no team options.
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 (and Dwight Howard) have been invited and both are viewed as locks to make the squad.
July 11 - Teams can begin signing free agents. Could be time for free agent signings, but top free agents will still be in the Pacific Time Zone.
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. hasn't played for Turkey's "12 Giant Men" since the 2007 World Championships and he won't be a Net by then anyway. Bojan Bogdanovic's Croatian team doesn't have an invite.likely to be only Net playing at the Olympics, unless they acquire Howard or sign international players like
September 5 - Expected completion date for Barclays Center. Expect a couple of shakeout events in early September. Moved back from August 27.
September 28 - Opening Night, Barclays Center. Jay-Z will open the arena with a series of concerts.
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.