The NBA's Feb. 20 trade deadline was unusually quiet. But, in their silence, the general managers of the league's 30 franchises spoke volumes. With two months remaining in the regular season, they're prepared to go to battle with the teams they have.
But what, exactly, do they have? Despite the inaction, questions—consequential ones—remain.
Will the Miami Heat coalesce in time for a credible title defense? Can the Indiana Pacers stop them? How will the Oklahoma City Thunder integrate Russell Westbrook into a lineup that harmonized in his absence?
Will the Philadelphia 76ers ever win another basketball game?
Answers are coming. This is the home stretch, where the greats elevate their games, the contenders separate themselves from the pack and the tankers slink ever more shamelessly into ignominy.
To quote Winston Churchill, "The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
The 2013-14 NBA season is entering a similar period. What follows is our best guess at how it will all play out.