We're just hours away from Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals, and much of the coverage leading up to the series has focused on how this may be just the first of many title shots for the Thunder. However, Steve Perrin of SBNation.com doesn't necessarily see it that way, noting that the new CBA that was supposed to help small-market teams compete will work against Oklahoma City when James Harden and Serge Ibaka become free agents. The title window for the Thunder may not be as big as you'd think, at least with the current roster, says Perrin.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA, as we await tonight's opening tip….
- Although the Early Bird rights hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, the arbitrator likely won't make his decision right away, tweets Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com. Zwerling adds that a decision will come before the free agent period begins on July 1st (Twitter link), and that the decision is expected to go against the NBPA (Twitter link). I explained yesterday why the ruling is important, particularly to the Knicks.
- A source close to Kirk Hinrich tells Zwerling that the point guard won't be willing to sign for the veteran's minimum this offseason (Twitter link).
- Tommy Thomas' contract as Deron Williams' agent expires on June 30th, at which point he'll be replaced by Jeff Schwartz, so Thomas won't be handling free agent negotiations for Williams this summer. However, Thomas tells Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that his preference would be for his longtime client to sign with the Mavericks.
- Keeping Kevin Garnett for at least one more year should be the Celtics' new Plan A, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com.
- Charlie Villanueva was cut from the Dominican Republic squad for being out of shape, according to coach John Calipari. FIBA.com has the details.