Much to your significant other’s dismay (well, mine at least), the NBA does not stop. With the Warriors tying a bow around another dominant Finals run, we immediately transition into a period of negotiation and rose-tinted speculation for all 30 other fanbases, and the league has masterfully spaced things out so that it can remain as front of mind as possible.
While usually a quiet time in San Antonio, this summer is a particularly loaded one for the Spurs, with various discussions and decisions capable of reshaping things for the years to come. At the top of the agenda is the still-unsettled Kawhi Situation, a specter of the weirdest Spurs season in decades. For fans who have endured the months of uncertainty and silence, the next four to six weeks represent the kind of culmination that the playoffs were never going to be able to offer.
Here are the dates to keep in mind as you plan out your summer.
Now to June 21: Kawhi Watch
Per Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania, Leonard is expected to meet with the team at some point leading up to draft day on the 21st. Charania noted the Spurs forward has remained in touch with players and personnel through the end of the postseason, although he also added that “they need to get on the same page in a lot of areas.” We’ll see what comes of it.
Teams can officially begin trading once their season is over, but few typically do during this stretch while front offices focus on draft day.
June 21: Draft Day
The Spurs hold the 18th pick in the draft, the highest they’ve selected, technically, since 1997. As has been the case in nearly every draft since that year, it’s anyone’s guess as to who they’ll take with it. I still stand by my West Coast Corollary theory, while the Express-News’ Jabari Young tweeted that the team is “eyeing an athletic wing,” so do with either what you will.
Even an uneventful night should result in San Antonio coming away with an intriguing prospect but, if talks with Leonard don’t go as many hope, a blockbuster, direction-shifting trade could certainly be in the cards.
June 25: NBA Awards Show
(You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
June 29: Last day for decisions on player, team and early termination options
Danny Green, Rudy Gay and Joffrey Lauvergne all have player options they can exercise for next year, and they’d have to do so before the 29th. If they decline them, they then become unrestricted free agents. This should also be the deadline for the Spurs to issue qualifying offers to their two-way players, Matt Costello and Darrun Hilliard. According to 2 Ways 10 Days, that offer could be as minimal as another two-way contract, or it could a normal — er, one-way — NBA contract.
July 1 to July 6 (11am CT): July Moratorium
Negotiations can “technically” begin on July 1, although no contracts can be signed and no trades can be made before the Moratorium’s over.
July 2 to July 5: Utah Summer League
July 6 to July 16: Las Vegas Summer League
Get a first look at whomever the Spurs take in the draft (along with Austin staple Derrick White, probably) while coming to grips with your serious basketball addiction. The Utah league remains a lower-profile event (in which San Antonio is one of just four teams taking part), while Vegas will be bigger than ever, with every NBA team participating.
July 6 (11am CT): Free agency begins (AKA LeBron Watch)
If Green, Gay and/or Lauvergne opt out, they’ll join Kyle Anderson, Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans (restricted free agents) and Tony Parker (unrestricted) in free agency. Some players may try and get ahead of the big fish and sign contracts early, while others may need to wait for the dominoes to fall with stars like LeBron before making their move.
Here’s where one oddsmaker recently set the props for his most likely destinations:
Odds on what team LeBron James will be on next season (@betonline_ag):— OddsShark (@OddsShark) June 9, 2018
Mid-July to September: Manu Watch
Once most of the big decisions have been made, Spurs fans will still probably be on pins and needles waiting to hear whether Manu Ginobili, who is almost certainly somewhere cool right now, decides to return for a 17th NBA season.
Late September: Training camp opens
With a fairly clear idea of what kind of team the Spurs will field in 2018-19, we start saying stuff like “wow, time flies” and “THE NBA IS BACK” and get ready to do this all over again. I can’t wait.