A caution about the Charlotte Bobcats: Anything you see, hear or read about this team should be stamped with the label "Subject to change."
Is Bismack Biyombo really an NBA center? Subject to change. Is Boris Diaw a reserve? Subject to change. Can D.J. Augustin and Kemba Walker play in the same backcourt successfully? Subject to change.
That's how it should be for a team that lost 12 of its first 15 games and doesn't figure to be dramatically better in the remaining 50 or so this season. I believe coach Paul Silas means it when he says this group will be a better team in a month. I just don't know how much difference that will make in the record.
So both Silas and president of basketball operations Rod Higgins should be scanning their options, trying different combinations and searching for trades. Don't change for change's sake, but this team is still a work in progress.
That's why I don't get all that excited when D.J. White plays well in one game, then doesn't play in the next. Or when Biyombo sits out against Cleveland, then has a featured role guarding Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.
With the possible exceptions of D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson, no Bobcats have played so well that starting is automatic. So if Silas wants to mix-and-match his rotation, based on the opponent, no one should feel insulted about not playing.
With that as the context, here's a look at some frequently-asked questions of late:
Will they trade Diaw? I can't imagine Diaw being happy in the reduced role he currently plays. It's not just that he's no longer a starter; his minutes and status have been greatly reduced. Would Diaw prefer to be somewhere else? No doubt. Would the Bobcats favor a separation? No doubt.
The real question is whether there's a deal out there that does the Bobcats more good than harm. The best thing about the Diaw situation is that his contract expires at the end of the season, knocking $9 million off the Bobcats' salary cap.
Exchanging Diaw for a contract that goes beyond this season only makes sense if the Bobcats get a young player they covet or a first-round pick. Is Diaw worth that? Probably not the way he's playing right now. I'd guess the chances of moving him are no better than 50-50, but the Bobcats do love to trade.
What do they do about the glut at power forward? Playing Biyombo at center and Tyrus Thomas some at small forward addresses the situation. But it was inevitable this would happen, particularly with White playing impressively.
To me, the biggest issue is getting Thomas right. He's playing about 15 pounds lighter than he was last season, and he needs bulk to play power forward. He's owed so much - well over $7 million each of the next three seasons - that they have to get production from him.
Can Augustin and Walker make a successful NBA backcourt? This one defines that "subject to change" label. Playing these two together is the best thing for now because it gets the Bobcats' best players on the court and it ups the energy level.
But I don't know that anyone thinks Walker's long-term development is best served at shooting guard. Asking him to guard 6-foot-5 guys on a regular basis is self-defeating.
But for now, this is best - both for the team's chances to win and both guards' learning curves.