If you’re reading this, you’re presumably a basketball fan, which means you already know what happened last night: the Miami Heat obliterated the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106 in a game that wasn’t even that close to win the NBA Finals. LeBron James put up a triple-double, Mike Miller hit seven assisted-on, wide-open threes, Chris Bosh had one of the more unheralded 24-point performances in a Finals clincher you’ll see, and Mario Chalmers got yelled at. At some point, it would’ve been nice just to see Kevin Durant do nothing but fire 26-footers every possession, because they sure weren’t getting anything else. (Durant finished with 32 on 13-24 shooting and seven turnovers.)
Now that basketball is over, we can all focus on what matters: what the Brooklyn Nets are up to! The NBA Draft is in less than a week (June 28th to be exact), and the Nets currently hold just one pick: 57th overall. Here are some notable 57th overall picks, in reverse chronological order:
Marcin Gortat, taken 57th in the 2005 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns, traded to the Orlando Magic on draft night, developed into one of the best backup centers in the league behind Dwight Howard, got traded back to the Phoenix Suns, and has continued to flourish;
Scoonie Penn, taken 57th in the 2000 NBA draft and is named Scoonie;
And Manu Ginobili, taken 57th in the 1999 NBA draft and is kind of okay at the basketball thing.
After the draft comes two big back-to-back dates:
June 30th, the final day to exercise early termination options, player options, team options, and extend qualifying offers. Though no player has officially filed the paperwork yet, Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace are expected to opt out of their contracts, and Jordan Farmar is expected to opt in. The Nets will extend a qualifying offer to Brook Lopez, which he’ll reject, making him a restricted free agent, and declined to extend Damion James, making him an unrestricted free agent.
July 1st, the day players can begin talking to free agents. The Nets will presumably offer Deron Williams a max contract, Gerald Wallace a three-to-four year deal, and Brook Lopez something similar. Everything else is up for grabs.
The final “big” date comes July 11th, which is the first date that teams can begin signing free agents. If someone signs a restricted free agent to an offer sheet, the team holding his rights has three days to match the offer. Deron Williams expressed a desire to have his contract details sorted out before this date, so presumably we’ll know where he’s going (or staying) before then.
Now, the news:
On Deron Williams: “The only question is if Williams, the property of the Brooklyn-bound Nets for at least one more week, will come home. As of today, even his mother, Denise Smith, says she doesn’t know the answer. Nor does she believe her son does. “No, no I don’t,” Smith said during a phone conversation from her home in the Dallas suburb of The Colony. “I thought he was going one way and another time thought he was going another way.” She does, however, expect a quick decision come July 1, when teams begin talking to players and agents at the stroke of midnight (11 p.m. CT on June 30). Williams has shown he’s not into the flabbergasting flip-flopping of Dwight Howard, whose future has long been linked with Williams’. On Twitter, Williams has challenged reports in which sources have placed restrictions or demands, such as the ability to acquire Howard, on his signing with a particular team. “There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s untrue and people get pissed off at Deron because he needs to watch what he says,” Smith said. “Well, it’s not coming from Deron. It’s coming from ‘unnamed sources’ or ‘sources close to.'”