I have an long-time friend who once walked across a desert. No, his name is not Sandy. Yes, he’s probably a little crazy. When we talked about the experience after he returned, he gave me a few unsolicited pointers, in case I also decided to go walk across a giant sandbox. Strangely enough, the pointers have come in handy in a few other regards…

Always carry enough water to get you through the trip, but not a drop more than you can handle, as that will only slow you down.

Travel when the heat is at its lowest, during the nights, evenings, and mornings.

Don’t try to sleep in the shade. Everything else that wants to be there doesn’t want you there, and may bite and be poisonous.

Cover yourself from head to toe. You’ll lose more from what the sun does to your skin than the few degrees this raises the temperature. If those clothes are lightweight and light-colored, all the wiser.

Here’s how those oddly translated for getting through long dry stretches for me:

Make sure you’ve got enough of whatever gives you life to get to the far side

Make the journey as painless as possible

Look for areas where others are not, as you never know who/what may bite

Protect yourself from whatever is trying to kill you

NBA Basketball ended with something closer to a whimper than a bang last Friday, and hoops-heads find themselves wandering in a desert of their own after what may have been the least-surprising Finals Finale in years. For most, including Denver Nuggets fans, they’ve been without the succor of their squad for over two months already.

Sadly, 65 days only gets you a third of the way across this particular desert, with approximately 130 more to go until the Nuggets first game in October. So, saddle up your camel, because here are all of the spots you can slake your Denver Nuggets thirst this Summer:

Thursday, June 21st: NBA Draft Day. Who is the newest Nugget? The Baby Boy in Blue? We have a week to find out. (seven days out)

Sunday, June 24th: RFAs. Last day for Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) to exercise their player option. (10 days out)

Monday, June 25th: NBA Awards show on TNT. After Travis Scott’s rapping, be sure to tune in for Nikola Jokic’s MVP award, Will Barton’s Sixth Man of the Year Award, and Paul Millsap’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Yep. That sweep is going to be… almost unimaginable. (11 days out)

Friday, June 29th: Last day for early termination options – both player and team, unless contracts specify otherwise. (15 days out)

Saturday, June 30th: Last day for qualifying offers for players eligible for RFA. Also interestingly the last day of the “League Season”. (16 days out)

Sunday, July 1st: Free Agency Moratorium begins. Contracts can be signed for rookies, two-way players, and minimum salaries. RFAs may sign an offer sheet. Free Agents can make verbal agreements. Oh, and shockingly, it’s the first day of the 2018-2019 League Season. (17 days out)

Friday, July 6th: NBA Summer League play opens in Las Vegas, with the Nuggets facing those sons-of-a-canises that ended our last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves, at 9pm MT. For the first time, all 30 teams will compete in Las Vegas, and all games will be televised on NBA TV or the ESPN networks. Additonally, the Free Agency Moratorium ends. Players can be signed and/or extended, and trades can be completed. Teams’ two-day window to match RFA offers begins. (22 days out)

Saturday, July 7th: Summer League – Celtics at Nuggets. 9pm MT. Apparently watching the Nuggets in Denver starts off as a late-evening affair. (23 days out)

Monday, July 9th: Summer League – Bucks at Nuggets. 7pm MT. (25 days out)

July 11th-17th: Summer League Tournament. (27-33 days out)

Friday, July 13th: Absolute last day for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers to RFAs. (29 days out)

Sunday, July 15th: Teams required to offer tenders to unsigned first-round picks. Anyone in this group non-tendered becomes a free agent on the 16th. (31 days out)

Tuesday, July 17th: Theoretical awarding of Summer League Championship trophy to the Nuggets. (33 days out)

A busy next month, if you’re keeping track, Nuggets Nation. But take a big swig of water, because we have a serious sand dune to cross from here.

Friday, August 31st: Ugh. Last day for teams to waive players and apply the previous season‘s stretch provision. (79 days out. Surely some news falls in between, but 46 days before there‘s anything certain, and that just the stretch provision end.)

Wednesday, September 5th: Teams required to offer tenders to unsigned second-round picks. Anyone in this group non-tendered becomes a free agent on the 6th. (85 days out)

Thursday, September 27th(ish): Beginning of Training Camp. Dribbling commences. (106-ish days out)

That’s it, Nuggets Nation. With the 2018-19 regular season a little over four months away, there’s an 80-ish day gap between Summer League ball and the sweet sound of training camp. To get you through that dry spell, past a sandy crack, and around any virtual critters who may try to kill you, Denver Stiffs will be here to make sure the conversation continues throughout the summer.

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