With the waiting period for the Feb. 21 trade deadline reduced to just weeks, the likely participants in basketball's greatest auction have emerged.
Some of these teams hold legitimate championship hopes, but could still stand to support their current rosters with the type of talent capable of transforming them from hopefuls to contenders.
Others are simply looking to punch their postseason tickets. With each passing day, the playoff picture becomes that much clearer. And the need for these clubs to reinforce their rosters has never looked greater.
A lot will happen between now and the deadline. Superstars will be rumored to be available. Some of them may actually don a new jersey before the month is over, while the rest will receive (half-hearted?) words of encouragement from their current employers.
These teams may sacrifice fan favorites, up-and-comers or financial flexibility for the opportunity to realize lofty goals set forth by ownership through various plans of attack carried out by executive staffs.
Although lacking a crystal ball, a bit of preparation and logic can go a long way toward identifying the potential buyers on what could be a very bullish market.