Tuesday night feels like a landmark moment in the season of the Phoenix Suns, for several reasons. The most important of which is the fact Bradley Beal looks set to play what will be only his fourth game for the franchise.
The back issue which has disrupted the beginning of his time with the Suns finally looking like it has been put to rest. Such is the positive update on Beal's back, that he is not even listed on the injury report for the organization ahead of their game against the Golden State Warriors.
It is not all good news though, as Kevin Durant continues to be listed as questionable with an ankle issue. The same problem which caused him to miss Friday's loss to the Sacramento Kings, which dropped the team to 12-10. Failure to suit up against the Warriors will mean that the Suns will still be yet to have their "Big 3" out there together once this season, which is extremely frustrating.
Then there is Chris Paul, the former franchise point guard who will be returning for the second time since being traded for Beal, with the hope being he remains on the court this time.
His first appearance back in The Valley cut short by referee Scott Foster, who ejected Paul from the game just before halftime when the two sides last met. If you can't remember what it is that Paul is supposed to have done, then you can check it out for yourself below. Suns players certainly had a lot to say about it at the time as well.
In fact NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took the opportunity at the hugely successful in-season tournament event in Las Vegas to shed some light on his own involvement in the issue between the two, since that ejection back on November 22nd.
"Scott Foster is one of the best, the most highly rated referees in this league. And obviously, Chris' record stands for itself. They are two people I have enormous respect for and they need to be professional about this. Chris and I have now talked directly and there are issues we have to work through. But again, it's my expectation that everyone's going to be professional about it"- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
Paul began the season starting for the Warriors, but at this point comes off the bench for the 10-12 team and is playing 26.5 minutes per game. By far and away the lowest mark of his career. The Warriors have struggled this season, and Paul has done little with his new team to make the Suns believe that they didn't trade him at the right time, even if Beal has barely played.
The question of if he should one day go in the Suns' Ring of Honor is probably a conversation for another day, but there is little doubt that Paul won't be received warmly once again by fans when he returns.
This isn't a situation like when Deandre Ayton came back earlier in the season, and sections of the fans let their feelings on the former first overall pick be known. Paul was instrumental in helping the franchise turn itself around after years in the wilderness, although Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports probably summed it up best below.
It will be fascinating to see who Paul matches up with now that he's coming off the bench - and there is little doubt that in the minutes he shares the court with Booker - he will try and slow his protege down. One thing is for certain though, Foster will have no part to play in the game, as he has not been assigned to be in Phoenix.