A night after the first-place Thunder lost to tighten up the Western Conference race, the idle Heat slipped into the top spot in the East by percentage points on Friday when the Knicks fell at home to the Bulls. There's still plenty left to be resolved this season, and with the trade deadline now less than two months away, the level of intrigue is on the way up. Here's more from the Association.
- In a HoopsWorld video, Alex Kennedy says consensus around the league is that the Cavs will trade Anderson Varejao this season, and with some executives still high on Andrea Bargnani, Kennedy wouldn't be surprised to see a team take a risk to bring him on board.
- O.J. Mayo wasn't caught off guard when the Grizzlies let him walk in free agency, and the two sides didn't have talks about bringing him back this summer, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. "Once you see the writing on the wall, you can’t be dumb to the fact," Mayo said. “I didn’t even go to the exit meeting. I pretty much knew what it was.”
- Lou Williams had hoped he wouldn't have to come back to Philadelphia with an opposing team, as he did tonight, and wanted to work out a return to the Sixers in free agency last summer, Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com has the details. "I think Philly did a good job of making my decision easy for me," the Hawks guard said. "They made it clear they were going in a different direction and at that time I had to find somewhere else to go, and luckily for me I landed on my feet in my hometown. Both sides moved on. It is what it is, and I am sure they are happy with what they got out of the deal and I am happy to be at home."
- Andrei Kirilenko fit the profile of what the Wolves front office identified as the team's most pressing need this past offseason, but Minnesota still had questions about him, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Kirilenko is answering those doubts, and coach Rick Adelman has been surprised at just how much the 31-year-old defensive ace has helped the team.
- The Suns recalled Kendall Marshall from the D-League today, but the rookie doesn't appear to be any better from the experience, observes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.