Talk about trades, free agency and the labor situation hung over Dallas like the clouds.
Amare Stoudemire heard the latest trade rumor had him going to Dallas.
When he looked out his window, he surely must've preferred the one that would send him to Miami.
The business of All-Star Friday was business, with plenty of talk about trades, free agency and the NBA's labor situation that hung over Dallas like the gray clouds that dumped a foot of snow on the city the day before.
Some of the players were still missing Friday morning, with Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Brandon Roy all delayed by the largest one-day snowfall total in city history. It's expected to clear before the game Sunday, when more than 90,000 fans are expected at Cowboys Stadium and there's even talk of cracking 100,000.
"I was thinking about it until this weather. Hopefully we can at least get 40 now," Miami guard Dwyane Wade said. "Hopefully everybody can get in, hopefully it calms down either tonight or the next day and we can get everyone come out and enjoy this experience. Unfortunately the weather hit this way. We're looking for this to be an unbelievable event, the first of its kind."
Wade said he hadn't talked yet to Stoudemire, who for the second straight year arrived at the All-Star break as perhaps the biggest name in trade speculation. The Heat are one of the teams rumored to be interested in the Phoenix forward, who will start at center for the Western Conference and then wait to see if he still plays for a West team once the league's Thursday afternoon trade deadline has passed.
"It hasn't been explained to me why every year I'm the subject of trade talks. At the same time, it's a business," Stoudemire said. "They've never really explained to me why they want to trade me. At the same time, I can't control what I can't control. I stay out of it, and try to keep my focus on the court."
Even without a trade, Wade and Stoudemire could end up as teammates in the summer. They can become part of a star-studded free-agent class that also could be topped by LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and teams such as the Heat hope they can land at least two of them.
Would a player of James' stature give up maximum money to join someone else?
"I think LeBron would be all right," Wade said. "When you get guys that would be going into their eighth year in the league and haven't won, and now you're really itching to win, and I've won and I'm still itching to win even more now, so I think at the end of the day it's more about winning than it is about getting the extra bucks at the end of the day. LeBron can make it up."
Nobody knows what kind of contracts the superstars, or anybody else, will be receiving whenever the next collective bargaining agreement is approved. The current one expires on July 1, 2011, and with players and management far apart early in the negotiations, the fear of a potential work stoppage continues to grow.
"It's pretty difficult, pretty awkward because there's a good reality that maybe there's not one of these weekends in a couple of years," Denver's Chauncey Billups said. "You never know."
The sides met Friday afternoon, with the league withdrawing its proposal for a new deal that angered the union with its calls for dramatic changes to the current salary structure. New Orleans guard Chris Paul is the only All-Star on the bargaining committee, but many players vowed to get more involved as they hear how much they could be affected, and some even appeared at the session.
"We've got to make sure everyone knows how serious it is and I think more so now than ever guys are more informed about what's going on and what's taking place," Paul said. "It's our league, and we've got to be forceful about what's going on."
There was some basketball talk, as Dirk Nowitzki of the hometown Mavericks was told he would replace the injured Kobe Bryant in the West lineup, and East coach Stan Van Gundy tabbed Atlanta's Joe Johnson to start for Allen Iverson, who pulled out for family reasons.
Though the players are most of the NBA's best, they know the game could be a bit sloppy Sunday. There are nine first-time All-Stars who have to battle nerves, and even the most accurate shooters know they could struggle in something as enormous as Cowboys Stadium.
"It's going to be different, especially shooting-wise with the backgrounds being so far away," Nowitzki said. "It's definitely going to be different, but it's going to be exciting being part of history in basically my new hometown."