With Lamar Odom's ultimate fate unknown, the Dallas Mavericks begin the second half of the season with far more uncertainty than they had planned just a week ago.
Their first game after the All-Star Break, a Tuesday night home date against the New Jersey Nets, should only add to that, although not because of anything happening on the court.
Nets All-Star PG Deron Williams, a native of Dallas, has been widely linked to the team as a possible free agent target in the summer of 2012, and Tuesday is the only time he will be in his home-town this season. Indeed, the biggest story-line from the game will probably be how fans at the American Airlines Center react to Williams and whether the 6'3 205 Olympian will address the free agency rumors with the Dallas media.
The Mavericks will be welcoming back Rodrigue Beaubois, who missed most of the last two weeks before the All-Star Break mourning the untimely death of his father. With Delonte West still out until at least April and Odom in the wind, Dallas desperately needs Beaubois' ability to create offense off the dribble on their second unit.
Despite Williams' presence, New Jersey, a 10-25 team with a -6.7 point differential, has been hampered by one of the weakest front-courts in the NBA. If Dirk Nowitzki, fresh off his 11th consecutive All-Star Game, is fresh, the Nets will have a hard time mustering up enough firepower to stay in the game.
The 7:30 PM game will be broadcast regionally on Fox Sports Southwest.