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The NBA free agency negotiating period begins tonight. Always an entertaining free-for-all.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

NBA teams can start talking to free agents beginning at 11:00 pm tonight but can't actually sign deals until the moratorium period ends on July 9th. This is always a fun few days as teams and players scramble for the best deals and the money never ceases to amaze us.

This year should be particularly interesting as it's the final year before the salary cap balloons. How teams and players approach free agency with that in the background will be fascinating. Will players seek shorter deals in order to get back on the market faster? Almost certainly. Will teams look to sign secondary guys to longer contracts than the would otherwise? Perhaps.

Two of the glamour franchises in the league have cap room--both the Knicks and Lakers can afford to make pitches to high end free agents. Will their markets and history attract top players?

The Wolves won't be active in free agency this summer. Their roster is already crowded and they really need to sort through what they have before they make significant investments on the market. They will re-sign Kevin Garnett and sign Nemanja Bjelica. After that, they might have to make a decision on Robbie Hummel if he signs an offer sheet with another team, and at some point either decide to waive or keep Lorenzo Brown.

As we learned over the weekend, the Wolves extended the qualifying offer to Robbie Hummel, making him a restricted free agent and giving the team the right to match any offer. Whether he gets an offer sheet remains to be seen; obviously he isn't a priority free agent.

Meanwhile, they did not extend a QO to Justin Hamilton, making him an unrestricted free agent.

They still seem poised to sign Nemanja Bjelica. Flip made it pretty clear in interviews they intend to bring him over. There was a report from a European outlet yesterday that the Knicks are interested in him, but I don't take that too seriously.

I'll get up a late night free agency thread for the rumors later. If I'm awake.

The U.S. Women's Team takes on Germany this evening at 6:00 pm CDT in a semifinal at the Women's World Cup. The U.S. looked better in their last game against China, though still only managed one goal. The Germans have looked like the best team in the world throughout the tournament, though they had to go to penalites to beat a terrific French side in the last round. This is the marquee match up of the tournament, though I have to say the U.S. hasn't looked anything like winning since arriving in Canada.

Today in history

1397: Denmark, Sweden and Norway sign Union of Kalmar
1520: Spaniards expelled from Tenochtitlan
1690: Battle of Beachy Head; French victorious
1834: Congress creates Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)
1862: Battle at Nelson's Farm
1865: 8 alleged conspirators in Lincoln assassination found guilty
1894: Korea declares independence from China
1906: Congress passes the Meat Inspection Act (thank you Upton Sinclair!)
1910: Russia absorbs Finland
1914: Gandhi's first arrest in South Africa
1918: Eugene Debs arrested for criticizing government under Espionage Act of 1917
1936: Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind published
1960: Zaire declares independence from Belgium
1982: Equal Rights Amendment misses ratification by three states

Today's musical birthday is Lena Horne, born in 1917 (d. 2010)

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