The NBA's trade deadline is 2 p.m. Thursday. It's the latest trade deadline in NBA history.
Will there be a huge eruption this week, or nothing more than rumblings?
Will some big names de dealt, or will teams have no choice but to stand pat in a condensed season?
With more severe luxury-tax penalties being phased in with the league's new collective bargaining agreement, teams are more likely to balk at big-salary trades rather than pay the consequences.
Also to consider with is the lack of practice time this season thanks to a 149-day lockout that shaved 16 games off the 82-game schedule.
Does a team in the playoff hunt seeking immediate help have ample opportunity to blend in a new face, or is a team better off trying to ride out the storm of uncertainty surrounding this shortened season? Pedal to the metal and hope for good health?
As is the case every year, somebody has to go first. Will that first big trade lead to more big trades? Or will the dominoes that fall this week barely make a sound?
Here are the most expensive trade possibilities being discussed (and the player's existing contract):
PF Pau Gasol, LA Lakers ($18,714,150 this season; next two years at $38,285,850): Houston continues to show the most interest, but are the Rockets willing to offer enough in return?
C Dwight Howard, Orlando ($18,091,770; $19,536,360 early termination option June 30): All these back-and-forth threats must come to an end this week. Look for the Magic to stand pat.
PG Deron Williams, New Jersey ($16,359,805; unrestricted free agent): Does he head to Brooklyn with Howard in tow, or does Williams head back home to Dallas in the summertime?
C Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee ($12 million; next two years at $27 million): With no surgery required on his injured ankle, trade possibilities surrounding Bogut have intensified.
PG Steve Nash, Phoenix ($11,689,062; unrestricted free agent): Even at age 38, he remains one of the premier point guards, but does the final sunset of his career come in Phoenix?
SG Monta Ellis, Golden State ($11 million; $11 million early termination after next season): Explosive player, but it has to be the right fit, and the best fit is where he's at right now.
PG Rajon Rondo, Boston ($10,045,455; next three years at $35.9 million): Is the enigmatic Rondo actually being shopped, or are rumors being spread to light his internal fire?
Salary source – ShamSports.com
Some trade odds, courtesy of BovadaLV:
* How many trades will happen on March 15th? Over/Under: 6.5
* Will the Orlando Magic trade Dwight Howard? Yes 1/1; No 5/7
* Will the Boston Celtics trade Rajon Rondo? Yes 3/1; No 1/5
* Will the Los Angeles Lakers trade Pau Gasol? Yes 1/1; No 5/7
CAN'T WIN 'EM ALL
While it's true you can't win 'em all, there are some you certainly shouldn't lose. Every elite team stumbles. The trick is not letting it happen frequently, and to never let it happen at home.
Among elite NBA teams, Miami has the least damaging stumbles this season while Orlando has the most severe.
Here are the top five teams (by record), their worst three losses (the opponent's record at the time) and the aggregate record of those losses:
1. Chicago (33-9): vs. New Jersey (8-23); at Golden State (0-1); at Boston (14-12). Total: 22-36 (.379).
2. OKC (31-9): at Washington (1-12); at Sacramento (9-16); vs. Cleveland (14-23). Total: 24-51 (.320).
3. Miami (30-9): vs. Milwaukee (5-9); at Golden State (2-6); at Utah (16-18). Total: 23-33 (.411).
4. San Antonio (26-13): vs. Sacramento (5-10); at Milwaukee (2-6); at Minnesota (8-10). Total: 15-26 (.366).
5. Orlando (26-15): at Charlotte (4-31); at New Orleans (3-15); at Detroit (1-3). Total: 8-49 (.140).
Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott on how much downtown Oklahoma City has changed since he was coaching the New Orleans Hornets here (2005-07): "We already knew how great the fan base is here. I wasn't shocked when they got a team here because of the fan base. The way they treated us here, it was unbelievable. We all wanted to stay. That's how great the fan base was here. To see this city continue to grow is great. I'm just happy for the city, for Oklahoma and happy for the players and the Thunder."
Former Bishop McGuinness High School standout Daniel Orton, now with the Orlando Magic: @DanielOrton21 – "I got to give a shout out to my old high school! The boys are back in the finals I heard goodluck to them!" (McGuinness beat Tulsa East Central on Saturday for the Class 5A boys title.)