The NBA season is officially over with the San Antonio Spurs capturing their fifth title as a franchise. Kawhi Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, and the Spurs end their season with a championship in hand and a summer to reflect on their year of redemption. The NBA moves on, though, with key dates rapidly approaching.
Early player option deadlines
June 23 - June 30
The 2014 free agency class could be huge if a number of players with contract options test the waters, and a few key potential free agents will have to make up their minds ahead of the final deadline. Carmelo Anthony is expected to opt out of his final year with the New York Knicks and reportedly has a deadline of June 24 to decide on his future. Tim Duncan also has an early deadline on picking up his option to remain with San Antonio.
This is where the dominoes begin falling for free agency.
The NBA Draft takes place at the Barclays Center on June 26. This could be a memorable day for the NBA, with rookies like Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker joining the league with very high expectations. Will this be the next star-studded draft, similar to the highly-regarded 2003 NBA Draft?
Not only will a new class of rookies join the NBA, but who knows what kind of maneuvers teams will make as they build their rosters for a new season. Draft day trades are a fascinating way to lead into free agency.
Player option deadline
June 30 could be a huge day for NBA headlines. The Miami Heat's "Big Three" each have the option to test free agency, Anthony's decision with the Knicks should already be clear, and there are a number of players who could join the free agent pool this summer.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay and many more players could create a huge list of available talent. Or they could stay put. June 30 might be a big day.
NBA free agency
The Fourth of July fireworks start early on July 1 when the free agency period kicks off. The first weeks of free agency can be chaotic in the NBA, and this period should be no different. The pool of available players will be interesting even if the big names exercise their options.
Will Dirk Nowitzki continue his career with the Dallas Mavericks? What's Luol Deng's next stop? How will the Phoenix Suns handle Eric Bledsoe's restricted free agency? Will a contender try to revitalize Pau Gasol's career? This is when the landscape really shifts in the NBA.
NBA Summer League
July 5 - July 21
Basketball has a parting gift before going into hibernation with nearly a month of action in Orlando and Las Vegas. The Orlando Summer League begins on July 5 while the Las Vegas Summer League tips-off on July 11. Get ready to check out the incoming rookies along with D-league and unsigned talent competing for an NBA training camp invite.
Amnesty provision deadline
The Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and Spurs are the only teams left that can use the amnesty provision. The players still eligible to be amnestied?
Rajon Rondo, Al Horford, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Nick Collison, Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins and Tony Parker.
The season may be over, but the NBA remains as busy as ever through July.