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Is there a battle for the starting center job?

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets - Game Two Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Clint Capela is the starter, right? I mean he is, isn't he? Bringing in Nene doesn't mean Capela will still be regulated to the bench right?

Before media day and the start of training camp, I would have said “Of course, Capela gets the starting nod.” Coach Mike D'Antoni, however, sees things a little differently. Now twice he refused to say the magic words Capela is the starter.

"We need them both to be great," Mike D'Antoni said before practice Tuesday, "both are going to have a big role, both are going to contribute mightily to the team."

D'Antoni's mindset is fit: who fits best with what groups? Do James Harden and Ryan Anderson fit best with Capela or Nene?

It may have felt like going into the season that there would be no way Capela wouldn't start, but now, maybe he actually won't. If so the third-year player should still see the lion’s share of the minutes to help keep Nene fresh and healthy. To D'Antoni, the designation starter is just a name.

"I think both of them will accept whatever it is, the biggest thing is they'll have a role, a big role," D'Antoni said.

This isn't necessarily a "battle" to D'Antoni. To him, it's just finding the best group of five guys with the most chemistry on the floor.

During the preseason, both men could end up getting a look at the starting spot, or alongside Harden, and whichever one fits best will end up "winning" the job.

The early money is on Capela to start, but don't discount the way Nene can move that ball.