Chat with John Hollinger
Send your questions now and join John in The Show Thursday at noon ET.
John Hollinger (12:08 PM)
Greetings from Salt Lake City everyone. Had a good one here last night between the Jazz and Lakers and now have some time to kill before I head off to Phoenix for All-Star weekend. So let's fill it talking hoops ...
Hi John, Will the Jazz make the playoffs and make any noise in the playoffs ?
John Hollinger (12:10 PM)
Affirmative on the first, questionable on the second. It all depends on whether they can get a healthy Boozer by April. If so, I think they can beat anybody; if not, they're winning a round at most.
Rawls: NYC, NY
Holly, how 'bout Okur holstering that, um, big gun of his so he could mimic Kobe's, um, rites of spring dance? maybe tennis star andy roddick told him to have some sack, no?
John Hollinger (12:11 PM)
What was really odd is that it looked like Okur wasn't really sure whether to do it or not, so he only kind of gave it the half-Cassell. Where as Kobe did a full-on juggling routine after his shot. I predict this is one thing you'll never see the WNBA emulate.
Chris (Scottsdale, AZ)
Lets get it out of the way who leads for Amare? and will the Bulls be able to move Hughes?
John Hollinger (12:12 PM)
It still seems to me Miami's potential package of Marion and Beasley trumps anything else. Supposedly Phoenix doesn't like Beasley though -- but if they can find a third team that does, then a deal still works.
John, Question about your rankings. I know it is formula based, so you are kind of trapped into some rankings, but isn't that a flaw? I know there is no way you think Orlando is a better team right now than the Cavs or Lakers. If you are predicting that Orlando will get worse, that seems like an indication that you think they are not a better team.
John Hollinger (12:13 PM)
The Orlando thing is an odd case because they've only played three games without Nelson. We expect they'll be substantially worse without him, obviously, and last night seemed to back that up. If so, they'll fall behind L.A. and Cleveland pretty quickly post-break. Even right now, there's virtually no difference between those three in the power rankings.
Whats up with all the excuses for the Lakers last night the Jazz are playing without 2 of their studs and your making excuses for the Lakers that article should have been written about how the Jazz played an awesome game last night against the NBA's best!!
John Hollinger (12:14 PM)
Sorry, but the Lakers were totally exhausted, and it was very noticeable with Gasol in particular. Phil has to figure out how to get him some more rest or he's going to be completely out of gas by April.
Could there ever be a Boozer/Amare trade? Would it even make a difference to the teams involved if so?
John Hollinger (12:15 PM)
I don't know if that works for Phoenix because they'd be counting on Boozer to opt out ... what if he didn't? I would think Sarver would want a more guaranteed savings.
John Hollinger (12:16 PM)
But man, can you imagine Amare pick-and-rolling with Williams? That would be insane.
Jeremy (Milwaukee, WI)
Does anyone outside of Milwaukee even know who Ramon Sessions is?
John Hollinger (12:17 PM)
No, but they're going to find out pretty darn fast. It's criminal that he was left off the sophomores' roster for the rookie game, and it's equally perplexing that the Bucks kept him behind Luke Ridnour for half a season. I continue to be extremely impressed by what I've seen from him.
Chad Ford said the Miami deal won't happen because in order for the salaries to match up Phoenix would have to add another player like Barbosa and they are absolutely unwilling to do that. Thoughts?
John Hollinger (12:20 PM)
your right that the salaries are an added monkey wrench but it seems to me there are ways around it. I believe they can get there putting Dragic, Tucker and Barnes in the deal; or they can have Grant Hill do the 30-day layaway plan like the Spurs did with Brent Barry last year.
Why do you hate the Nuggets so much? They own a 3 game lead over Portland in the standings, yet you have Portland ranked higher? Did you help invent the BCS ranking system as well?
John Hollinger (12:23 PM)
This is refreshing in that I've spent most of the past few days being accused of hating the Lakers. The difference between the two is so small that ti's essentially inconsequential, but Portland is ahead of Denver at the moment thanks to the Nuggets' face-plant in New Jersey in the other night. Although Denver is three games up in the standings, the other metrics show the teams to be virtually equal in quality through the first half. Point differential, for instance, is +3.7 and +3.6, respectively.
Gary - Dallas
What is going on with T-MAC and the Rockets??? Is it likely the rockets will make a move?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
It's easy to say the Rockets need to make a move. It's harder to figure out what move they could make. I suppose they could try to swap Artest's expiring deal for a quality player, but they're right up against the tax line so the numbers get really tricky. Unfortunately trading T-Mac is out of the question -- his deal is even worse than Shaq's -- so I don't know if they can do anything until summer.
will the heat move marion before or on the deadline
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
I'd be very surprised if he was still in Miami next Friday. That is the biggest expiring out there and everyone and his brother is looking to cut money, so the Heat should be able to make a great deal.
Joe (Seattle, WA)
What are the rumors on the Cavs and Wally's fat expiring contract. Are they still standing pat? What deals are likely or being rumored?
John Hollinger (12:27 PM)
I think they're looking for a home run like L.A. got with Gasol a year ago, and if nothing like that comes open then they'll be content to play it out as is. By the way, is anyone else enjoying Wally's Please Don't Send Me to Sacramento tour lately? I've seen a contract push before, but this might be the first Don't Trade Me push that I can remember.
Jeff (Los Angeles, CA)
Wouldn't Hill have to be on the Suns roster by march 1st in order to qualify for the playoffs?
John Hollinger (12:27 PM)
No, he just has to be waived by March 1.
Dave (New Orleans)
Any chance we see some sort of blockbuster trade sending Amare to New Orleans to team up with CP3?
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
Unfortunately, the Hornets are more likely to go in the other direction and unload Tyson Chandler to get under next year's tax line. Of course they'd rather unload Peja or Mo Pete instead, but nobody wants those guys at their prices.
If you listen to Simmons, Chris Bosh is the new Pau Gasol. What are the odds someone else comes up with him?
John Hollinger (12:29 PM)
I think there's one big difference -- Toronto isn't being forced to cut payroll. So they can be a lot choosier than the Grizzlies were a year ago.
Do the Nuggets have a legitimate chance of reaching the Conference Finals or Finals?
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
Conference finals, absolutely, though I like the Spurs' chances better and I think a fully healthy Utah team could storm through from a lower seed. Finals? Not as presently constituted, no ... but it's possibly they look different a week from now.
What do you see Toronto doing this deadline? Has JO played his last game in a Raptors uniform?
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
Again, it's hard to see what a $20 million deal that doesn't expire for another year is going to get you in this market. I think it's more likely he's moved this summer.
Any predictions for All-Star Weekend events?
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
I'll take O.J. Mayo in horse, Kapono in the 3-point competition, Devin Harris in the skills challenge, the Rookies in an upset in the rookie game, J.R. Smith in the dunk contest, and the West in the All-Star Game.
Do you see the Nuggets making a move? Don't tell me you think they'd move Nene...
John Hollinger (12:33 PM)
No, if they do anything it's likely to involve Kleiza and/or the guys at the end of the bench. And they may very well stand pat. Denver was wise enough to do its work early and is already under the tax, so they can afford to be choosy.
Are there any rumors about the Pacers out there. Do they have the assets to make a deal for Amare?
John Hollinger (12:34 PM)
They may have the assets to get him, depending on what the other offers are, but it's a moot point -- I'm told they're not interested. Indy is trying like crazy to move Jamaal Tinsley without taking on salary -- good luck with that.
Hi what percentage do the Pistons have of getting Amare?
John Hollinger (12:36 PM)
I'm told their interest is lukewarm at best, but they certainly have the assets (Sheed's expiring deal, Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell) to be in the running if they choose to.
What's the word on the T-Wolves at the deadline professor? Will they move Miller and/or McCants and if so for what? At least now with Big Al out they should secure keeping the pick they owe the clippers.
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
I don't think they were going to lose that pick even if Big Al had stayed healthy, but you're correct, it's now safe. I think they'd love to move Miller but big money that doesn't expire is going to be extremely difficult to move in this environment. McCants's issue is simpler -- he just hasn't played well enough to intrigue buyers.
Childress, Pargo, Delfino (Europe)
Are we coming back to the NBA this season?
John Hollinger (12:40 PM)
Childress, certainly not -- he's hurt right now actually -- but he'll be back in the NBA next year from what I hear. Pargo and Delfino are more possible, but we're hearing less chatter about them these days and if nothing happens in the days immediately following the deadline it probably never will.
Pau Gasol (LA)
You saw how tired I was last night, I am hopeful that now you can all appreciate what my friend Lamar means to this team.
John Hollinger (12:42 PM)
Odom has been an absolute monster on the boards the past three games, which is really encouraging since he seemed a bit lost in his bench role. Quick question for Laker fans: would you consider Odom, Farmar and Ariza for Amare? Tempting, isn't it?
Josh (Memphis, TN)
I hear rumors that the Grizz could be that third team the HEAT are looking for after turning down a straight up offer from Phoenix. Any likelihood to a Gay, Mayo, Beasley foundation in Memphis? Finally we'd have something to get excited about as fans.
John Hollinger (12:45 PM)
Yes, I've heard that too. I think the Suns' idea was that they might get Gay, which I imagine would be laughed off by the Grizzlies. If for some reason they want Conely instead, then this is a huge opportunity for the Griz.
Any chance the raptors can get Amare maybe with a peackage of Bargniani, parker and humpries?
John Hollinger (12:46 PM)
Outside, outside shot. A deal would have to include Joey Graham instead of Humphries since he's an expiring and Hump isn't, and I suspect it would have to include Toronto's first-rounder as well.
Are you kidding me? Amare was not happy being a second option in Phoenix. Here he has to be behind me, Pau, Bynum and may be Sasha too..well..that's a bit much. But, the point is I don't think he will be happy here
John Hollinger (12:47 PM)
I could see that too. But seeing Kobe, Pau and Amare take the floor together would scare the crap out of me.
John can you answer a legit question? I want to know how dangerous a Rose-Deng-Stoudemire Bulls team would be in the playoffs? Thank you in advance!
John Hollinger (12:49 PM)
I think Chicago may end up winning the sweepstakes if Miami can't work something out that satisfies Phoenix, but the Rose-Deng-Stoduemire unit is still one-and-done in the East unless they can climb all the way up to the No. 5 slot.
John why do you hate us so much?
John Hollinger (12:49 PM)
It was only a matter of time ...
Steve (Detroit, MI)
John, If the Pistons aren't in the running for Amare, do they have any plans for the trade deadline?
John Hollinger (12:51 PM)
I'm sure they do, but I'm not privy to what they are. They have two big expiring deals with Iverson and Sheed, so I do wonder if Dumars is quietly trolling for a home-run type trade.
All this talk and not much mention of the defending Champs. Despite a great record, they're looking really insecure. Do they do anything at the trade deadline?
John Hollinger (12:52 PM)
I suspect Boston will once again be more active in the post-deadline waiver wire frenzy, when veteran bigs like Joe Smith may become available.
Erik (Atlanta, Ga.)
Still hating on the Hawks I see... "the Rose-Deng-Stoduemire unit is still one-and-done in the East unless they can climb all the way up to the No. 5 slot" Did you pick us to finish 12th in the east or something insane like that.
John Hollinger (12:54 PM)
Atlanta has surprised me this year, and I believe I've written about that quite a bit. But from Chicago's perspective, facing Atlanta in the first round is a vastly easier challenge than taking on Orlando, Boston or Cleveland.
Do the Bobcats still want to move Felton? It starting to look more like they want to try and sign him to a new deal.
John Hollinger (12:54 PM)
I think they only want to move him if they can get something of lasting value in return. So they're testing his value every chance they get, but haven't found anything to their liking and possibly never will.
Robbie (Memphis, TN)
Ok, so no Stoudamire, but maybe Beasley right.. how about David Lee?
John Hollinger (12:56 PM)
Be interesting to see what direction the Knicks go there -- remember, they can also wait til summer and then sign-and-trade Lee if they still haven't pawned off Jeffries or Curry on somebody. So it's possible Lee ends up someplace like Memphis ... but it may not happen this week.
Hunter, Salt Lake City
Where are you spending your Per Diem while visiting our city?
John Hollinger (12:57 PM)
Clever ... not much action on that front since I'm here less than 24 hours and much of it was at the arena, but I did have a nice breakfast at Oasis Cafe this morning.
Kevin (Williamsburg, VA)
John, if the Bulls make the Stoudemire deal do you think they have to include both Thomas and Noah? I tend to think that's too much because then Aaron Gray is starting at the 5 spot and playing big minutes. Isn't TT + Noah a better front-court than Stoudemire + Gray?
John Hollinger (12:59 PM)
From what I've heard it's Gooden, Sefolosha, Thomas and Simmons, and Noah staying. Not sure if it also costs them a first or not.
Any chance the Jazz are looking for a wing/slasher? CJ Miles is awful. And why isn't Koufos getting time as the backup C instead of Collins? Collins is awful, too.
John Hollinger (1:00 PM)
Totally disagree on Miles -- I think he's one of the most underrated young players in the league, and I know at least one other GM agrees with me because OKC signed him to an offer sheet this summer before Utah matched. Where we see eye to eye is on Koufos vs. Collins -- I really like Koufos, though I'm told he doesn't know all the plays yet and that's cost him some playing time.
John Hollinger (1:02 PM)
Quick Utah anecdote: yesterday was the first time I had a player approach me with a story idea. Kyrylo Fesenko asked me to do a separated-at-birth feature on SL Tribune beat writer Ross Siler and former Laker Coby Karl.
Zach (Los Angeles, CA)
Do you believe by playoff time, Phil Jackson will be able to utilize Shannon Brown and Adam Morrison in the triangle offense?
John Hollinger (1:03 PM)
I think Brown may see some spot duty since he can play both guard spots. I'd be surprised if Morrison plays much.
Al, Chicago, IL
Is Phoenix just waiting until Monday to make a deal because of the All-Star weekend? Give us a percentage on where Amare ends up?
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
Actually, our Chad Ford reported that the Suns aren't inclined to wait and will act immediately if they get a deal they like.
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
On that note, a league spokesmen told me there isn't a concrete plan for what they'd do if Amare is traded to the East between now and Sunday. By this point, I'm guessing they'd just keep him with the West.
Jakey (Eugene OR)
Sources say Blazers are trying to aquire a three, but with Martell, Outlaw, Batum (future stud) and a versatile Rudy, how is that a real necessity? Shouldnt they focus all attention on a PG?
John Hollinger (1:05 PM)
I think they want both, actually, and are trying to figure which spot they can address most emphatically at the least cost.
Sean in Romania
I'm a huge fan of your stuff here in Bucharest, where we barely get any NBA games. When are you writing another book?
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
Books are so 1990s. All the stuff I did in my previous books is now available to Insiders on ESPN.com, so you probably won't see any more dead-tree products coming from my direction.
So I'm getting dumped because I don't like playing defense, and they want to trade me for beasley who never played one on one defense till he got to miami? How does that make sense?
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
It make$ $en$e to $arver, believe me.
Justin (Columbus, OH)
Is there any chance of Amare coming to Cleveland?
John Hollinger (1:07 PM)
He was just there last night. But as far as coming to Cleveland and playing for the home team, I can't see it. Wally+Hickson isn't enough to float Phoenix's boat.
Jeff (Madison, WI)
Is it possible Ramon Sessions was behind Ridnour on the depth chart so he could be reacquired for less money? Clearly the Bucks aren't a contender this year, but Skiles and Hammond had to know Sessions has more potential and more talent right now than Ridnour.
John Hollinger (1:09 PM)
Except that they took on $6 million in additional salary for next year by trading for Ridnour in the first place, money that could easily have been used to keep Sessions. So actually, the Ridnour trade is likely to end up costing them one of Jefferson, Sessions or Villanueva -- I can't see how they keep all three.
Chris Bosh Toronto
Will i be in detroit by thursday?
John Hollinger (1:10 PM)
Highly unlikely. I don't think anything will happen with Bosh until summer at the earliest.
Mike (Concord, CA)
Any truth that the Warriors are in the mix for Amare, Bosh, or another big??
John Hollinger (1:10 PM)
They're just putting on a nice show for their fans. If a team says they want expiring deals and you come back with "How about Monta Ellis?", then I don't think you're really serious.
In your opinion, when GM's say they are saving up for the 2010 free agents are they really saying "We're cutting payroll so we don't have to pay the luxury tax."
John Hollinger (1:11 PM)
Actually, I don't think I've heard anyone say that so far that didn't mean it ... YET. But I'm equally sure that will become a handy excuse in the coming weeks and months.
What players on the Kings are not on the trade block and why?
John Hollinger (1:12 PM)
Kevin Martin. That's the list. Everyone else can be had, and a lot of them can be had for not much if it involves expiring contracts. It would take something special to pry Thompson from them though.
There are rumors that Shaq is on the block but is there any feasible trades you can think of given his salary and personality? Can't see the Diesel being happy playing for a non-contender.
John Hollinger (1:13 PM)
No. All those guys with big 2010 expiring contracts -- Shaq, T-Mac, Hughes,Mike Miller -- we're going to hear a lot of talk about them, but the reality is that they'll be extremely difficult to move because it's such a buyer's market right now.
How do the Suns matchup with a straight up deal with Memphis. Any way they could get Conley and Gay?
John Hollinger (1:14 PM)
I read that the Suns pursued something along those lines and were rebuffed.
SJ (Denver, CO)
Do you think there is any chance of Amare going to the Denver Nuggets?
John Hollinger (1:14 PM)
None whatsoever. Nuggets have virtually zilch in the way of expiring deals.
Why no Kevin Martin on the trade block? He might be a pure scorer, but has no defense and is lacking leadership. How do you build a team around that?
John Hollinger (1:15 PM)
I think lack of leadership is a bit harsh -- what, you think he can magically turn Beno Udrih into John Stockton? He does need to improve his D, but he's also on a very friendly deal given his production.
Patrick: (Calgary, Alberta)
Why is sessions not on the top of every team's list who need a point? Am I the only one who sees potential superstar in this kid????
John Hollinger (1:17 PM)
He will be this summer, trust me. He's restricted, but since the Bucks are seen as financially weak the vultures will be circling.
Larry Bird Indiana
Explain to me again why I'm not interested in Amare?
John Hollinger (1:18 PM)
After what's happened there the past few years, Pacers only want Boy Scouts right now.
do you think the 76ers will try to move elton brand this summer and if so who do you think would try to get him
John Hollinger (1:19 PM)
They may try, but as I keep repeating, in this environment you're going to have to pay a massive bribe in the form of other considerations just to get somebody to take on a contract of that size. Unless, that is, you take one back that's just as bad.
Just wondering why people still don't get that your system is automated so you don't really hate anybody...honestly how many of those do you get per chat?
John Hollinger (1:21 PM)
What amazed me were how many I got in the PER Diem comments yesterday ... usually the people in chats are my most regular readers so they know already, but in the story comments it's like a whole different world.
Pat Riley (South Beach)
I don't know what to do. With the most appealing expiring contract in the league (Marion), what are your suggestions?
John Hollinger (1:22 PM)
Obviously Amare is the prime target, but I still think they might be able to get something done with Washington that gets them Butler or Jamison and allows them to keep Beasley ... maybe Cook and Marion or Chalmers and Marion or something like that.
Do you agree that the media generally overates a player's "leadership" abilities. I dont remember any stories about Garnetts leadership when he was surrounded by garbage in Minny.
John Hollinger (1:24 PM)
Pretty much, yes
Richard (Winston-Salem, NC)
Do you see Utah making a splash before the trade deadline? Is that out of the question?
John Hollinger (1:24 PM)
I think it is. Had Boozer come back earlier they would have had a lot more options, but now I think their hands are tied until this summer.
Did you write an article about the Jazz/Lakers game? What's the url - I can't find it on espn.com.
John Hollinger (1:25 PM)
It's the Daily Dime.
Jacob (Orlando FL)
Chances of Orlando finally getting rid of the inconsistent, no d, horrible ball handler Hedo or what scenarios could be played out with a trade involving him?
John Hollinger (1:26 PM)
If they want to get an A-list point guard it will certainly cost them Turkoglu, but I just can't see Orlando taking such a drastic step with Nelson coming back next year. That's why somebody like Felton might be a nice fit -- he's a free agent anyway.
Do you think Portland would like to pry Felton from the Bobcats?
John Hollinger (1:27 PM)
Is he really much of an upgrade from the guys they have? I think if Portland uses Raef's contract they want a game-changer.
How about the Warriors play lately? Although they won't make the playoffs I think they have a good foundation for next year
John Hollinger (1:28 PM)
Much better, now that they're healthy and are finally playing some games at home, but this team still has serious size issues up front. And the lingering question is, even if they get a big forward, will Nelly play the guy?
Mike (Albany, NY)
Simmons said in his podcast the other day that you were coming on soon (can't wait for that), and also something about how Oden's great rebound rate should be looked at skeptically because he fouls so much going for rebounds... any thoughts?
John Hollinger (1:29 PM)
We'll hopefully do that soon, yes. As far as Oden, most of the best rebounders have the same problem. Jeff Foster, Reggie Evans, Joel Pryzbilla ... all those guys get tons of loose ball fouls.
Any chance in hell Knicks can trade Jared Jeffries or Eddy Curry for expirings?
John Hollinger (1:30 PM)
Only if somebody hires Isiah as their GM in the next seven days.
John Hollinger (1:31 PM)
Alright folks, you wore me out and I've got a plane to catch. Thanks for all the great questions and we'll do this again next Thursday right after the deadline ...
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