Will Kyrie Irving remain unvaccinated and thus not become a "full participant" in the Brooklyn Nets' pursuit of the franchise's first NBA title?

In the offseason, 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons demanded a trade. He's back with the team after missing most of training camp and the preseason. Will he suit up in a game for Philly, or will we just be talkin' about practice until he's shipped out?

What about Washington's Bradley Beal? Portland's Damian Lillard? Will their teams stand pat or pursue a trade, or will they force their way out?

These are the dominant NBA themes heading into the season. Little buzz surrounds the defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, who bring back most of their core group, once again led by Giannis Antetokounmpo.

We haven't seen a defending champion's efforts at repeating so easily ignored while bringing back its core group since the 2004 Detroit Pistons—a team that, like the Bucks, defied the predictions of many to win it all.

"I'm not on social media, I'm not following what's going on," Antetokounmpo said. "I'm not following what's going on out there, the moves are going, who's being talked about now, who's favored to win a championship. It doesn't really matter."

He added: "All those things, who remembers who was the favorite? And who [was] the most talked about last year in December when the season started? Nobody remembers. So, those things don't mean anything to me. I focus on the team, do whatever I can to help the team, get in shape because I know my team is going to need me moving forward. And keep building good habits and enjoying one another. It's gonna be a long season."

And it begins Tuesday night as Milwaukee hosts Brooklyn, a fitting opening opponent considering most oddsmakers have the Nets—not the Bucks—as the team to beat this year in the NBA.