The first half of the NBA season is the time to get a first glance at the rookie class, assess how well players have returned from injuries, see which teams thrive at incorporating new players and identify the contenders and the pretenders.
The real news occurs in the second half of the season. This time of year is when people start paying attention due to roster shake-ups, playoff berths and, yes, the occasional legal issue.
Without further delay, let's delve into what and whom those in the NBA will be discussing in the next few months:
That decision has several ramifications, and certainly could set off a legal battle with the players' association. Union executive director
The decision would obviously affect Arenas and his future, but it also could extend to this summer's free agency because it would ostensibly free up $17.7 million for Washington, giving the Wizards a chance to be major players in a star-studded market.
If the Wizards do not move to void Arenas' contract, general manager
His recent broken finger notwithstanding, how West's legal problems affect Cleveland's quest for a championship is of particular interest because winning a title seems like the best chance for
The most active speculation is that Bosh will leave Toronto and perhaps sign with Miami, which has only $24 million committed in salary for next season, and so the Raptors must decide if they want to risk keeping him and losing him for nothing. If the Raptors get an indication he is not going to re-sign, it would behoove them to trade him now and extract as much in return as they can, because even if they do a sign-and-trade with him this summer, they will not get nearly what they would as the Feb. 18 trade deadline approaches.
Adding another element of intrigue is that the Raptors have started to win more regularly and are now in the thick of the playoff race in the weak Eastern Conference. Had they remained well below .500, it would have been easier for GM
That does not make it any less entertaining to imagine the possibilities and permutations of players moving from team to team. Will Bosh be dealt in the next couple of weeks so that Toronto can get something in return for its most valuable asset? Same goes for Stoudemire, who has a $17.7 million player option for next season and who may not be seeing eye-to-eye with Phoenix management on the direction of the team.
Will the Kings explore deals for
The answer to most, and maybe all, is no. But who knows, once the trade deadline approaches, some general managers start to feel the pressure of winning immediately.
That is also true of the Bobcats, who have staged a turnaround with the unusual pairing of
Conversely, you have the Suns, who started out 14-3 and have gone 12-17 since then. Their success -- or lack thereof -- could go a long way in determining the makeup of that franchise next season, because nobody wants to spend a bunch of money and lose.
Look on the bright side: Regardless of whether they make history, the Nets are all but assured of getting a high draft pick, perhaps even Kentucky's
Nelson is 11 victories away from breaking the record of 1,332, and with all the injuries the Warriors have suffered this season, it could be a close call whether he reaches the milestone by the end of the season. If he does not, it will be interesting to see if he continues to pursue it by coaching again next season.