We're fully aware that Houston ownership has said as recent as today that they're very confident that they will have Yao Ming back on the roster.
But Dallas was pretty sure it was re-signing Steve Nash once upon a time. That free-agent summer was nowhere near 2010 in terms of the amount of money potentially available.
So you have a 30-year-old superstar with a history of injuries who thinks he's going to do better by himself by opting out. Ming might still opt to stay put and ride out the year with $17.7 million coming his way.
Ming's camp has been negotiating hard with the Rockets looking for a max contract extension. The Rockets are reportedly holding firm at a deal in the neighborhood of four years and $60 million.
So let's also go on the theory that teams see solid value left in Ming. When he plays, he is indeed a game changer. He's still averaging 19.1 points and 9.3 rebounds for his career.
The fear is that once a 7-foot-6 person breaks down, there's no bringing him back.
But what if he could return to excellence? Which teams would be a logical fit?
Some of these will never even be discussed. These are four teams that may have the want and the need and the means to chase him.