Chat with John Hollinger
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, NBA columnist John Hollinger will stop by to share his thoughts on all of the NBA news.
Send your questions now and join Hollinger Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
John Hollinger (12:07 PM)
Greetings all, much to discuss in the wake of yesterday's three-way trade and what it means for the rest of our season...
Greg (Knoxville, TN)
What is the Blazers plan for the near future? Do they try to package Batum and Miller for some perimeter players?
John Hollinger (12:09 PM)
I can't imagine Portland trading Batum. Too high a ceiling, regardless of his recent funk. Miller and Przybilla are obvious trade candidates given the expiring contracts of each, along with Rudy of course. If Blazers make a move I imagine it will involve some kind of package of those three.
Why would the Nets plow ahead like this unless they have been told yes already?
John Hollinger (12:10 PM)
I wondered the same thing. You can always do a multi-team deal as long as you have the pieces in place ahead of time. L.A. had until Feb. to dump Vujacic's contract and I don't think there was huge urgency on Houston's part either. I believe that's why the Knicks haven't moved Randolph -- they have that part set up but now are waiting on Melo.
Mike (Tempe, AZ)
The Suns are complaining they have yet to find their identity - isn't their identity good O/no D/800 small forwards?Also, which of the 3s do you expect to be traded? My money is on Childress.
John Hollinger (12:12 PM)
Yes, that puzzled me a bit too. Suns really screwed up not re-signing Amundson and using the money instead on players they didn't really need like Turkoglu and Childress. Gotta think Chilz will be on the trade market now that the 12/15 deadline has passed.
So how about that Kobe guy. 2nd in your PER rankings. Where is he in your early MVP rankings, stat messiah?
John Hollinger (12:13 PM)
My early MVP rankings are basically a 10-way tie for second. There is not one player I can confidently point to and say "that guy, him! he's the MVP!" but there are a bunch -- and I mean like 12 or 15 -- that I could make a case for listing on a ballot.
Any chance the Lakers use that $5.5 Mil trade exception before the deadline. What type of player would they go after with that kind of money?
John Hollinger (12:15 PM)
Highly unlikely. Larger benefit is that they can take the exception into next winter and use it as de facto free-agent money if they see fit. But you don't do a salary dump just to spend the money again the next day.
Gregory (Austin, TX)
Hey John, what's up with my Hornets? Just a short time ago, they were dynamic. Now, they cannot throw the ball into the ocean! Also, what kind of player can Demps expect to get with the Peja trade exception?
John Hollinger (12:17 PM)
Hornets will only use about $4 mil of that exception this year because any more will put them over the tax. Anything else they'll take into the summer as insurance against West leaving. I'm sure they'd like to get another big but they've already used most of their bullets -- would probably have to put Thornton into a deal since they already traded their '11 first rounder in the Bayless deal with Portland.
I understand the focus on point differential, but should the Thunder get any credit for being 11-1 in close games?
John Hollinger (12:18 PM)
History says no, not really. See every discussion I had with a Mavs fan in 2010, every discussion I had with a Bucks fan in 2008, etc.
Darren (Dallas, TX)
So you think Melo will be wearing a different uniform by the end of the year?
John Hollinger (12:19 PM)
I'm getting that impression yes. It will be New Jersey or New York if something happens.
Do you see the Suns Richardson being a good compliment to Rose in Chicago, he can provide the 3 point shooting to space the floor for them?
John Hollinger (12:20 PM)
Yes, he'd be an outstanding complement, provided they can figure out what's been wrong with him this past week. If Bulls get a shooter at the 2 they officially go from "intriguing" to flat-out "dangerous." With Orlando underachieving they have a great shot at a top-3 seed.
Chuckles (Walla walla, Washington)
Since every team in the NBA now has a trade exception, do they all just cancel out and we start from scratch?
John Hollinger (12:24 PM)
well-played. The item of note here is that all these giant exceptions floating around have greatly reduced the value of things like cap space and ending contracts. That's partly why OKC did the Collison deal, closing off its cap space for the year -- they weren't going to be paid a first-round pick to rent the cap space (or multiple firsts), the way they were in past seasons.
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
(apologies for the delay. It appears somebody here kicked loose an Ethernet cable, and it was either me or the Pau Gasol bobblehead from the Grizzlies' ROY campaign in 2002. I blame Pau).
With Darko continuing to play strong and scoring a career high 25 points last night, is it time yet for the pundits to give David Kahn a break on this summer's signing?
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
The words "career-high" damn with faint praise. His overall #s are still backup center material, so I need to see a bit more of this before I'm convinced.
How hard will it be for anyone other than the current teams to crack the top three in the West? LA, Dallas, SA seem like almost sure bets to stay up there, right?
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
Well, Utah probably resents that comment since they're only a half game behind L.A., but I agree with the sentiment. Lakers should move forward now that Bynum is back, although their cake-ola early schedule will start getting tougher, and while I could see Dallas coming back to the pack a bit, they've built up a pretty good-sized lead.
Would you rather have Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook right now and for the next 10 years?
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
Great question. Right now I'd take Westbrook. For next ten years I might lean more toward Rose. I have to think he's going to learn how to draw a foul at some point in the next decade, and I suspect his game may age better than Westbrook's. But really, I'd be giddy with either.
What about JR Swish on the Bulls? How would that change that team?
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
He's a more interesting dilemma because I don't know how well he's going to mesh with Chicago's system ... he can certainly shoot it, but I'm thinking his defense and shot selection would be more problematic on that team than on some others.
who's more to blame, Stan Van Gundy for the Magic's slow start or Pau's bobblehead for slowing down this chat to a crawl?
John Hollinger (12:33 PM)
I can't pin the Magic's start on Van Gundy. They have obvious deficiencies on the wings and Rashard Lewis has been flat-out awful. As much as Stan is upset about the D, it's their offense that's killing them compared to a year ago, and that's even with Dwight being more of a scoring force than ever. So obviously the perimeter guys aren't getting it done.
Alex (Miami, FL)
Hey John, what is one word you can use to describe this Miami Heat season so far?
John Hollinger (12:34 PM)
Conundrum. Better than most people think. But still not as good as most people expected.
So if the Nuggets trade Carmelo, they will still make the playoffs right? So as far as the franchis goes do they lose that much by losing him? They have only won two playoff series since he has been in Denver.
John Hollinger (12:37 PM)
I think it's very borderline, but given how far Portland and Phoenix have fallen off it's still a decent possibility. The big question to me is what they do with Smith, Kenyon and Billups ... they may be looking at a full tear-down here and rebuilding around Nene-Lawson-Afflalo.
John, can your Playoff odds open a casino? And can I bet on 11.7% chance that the Lakers make the finals and 3% chance that they win it?
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
Obviously, my Playoff Odds are blisfully unaware that Bynum has only played one game. I expect them to adjust to that reality, just as L.A.'s place in the Western standings adjusts.
Austin (San Clemente, CA)
I dont get why D. Sterling would ever think that heckling B. Davis like he does would help. Is Sterlings actions the best reason for Baron's struggles as a Clipper?
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
No, Baron's actions are the best reason. But Sterling, as usual, isn't helping. He's considered the worst owner in sports for a reason.
Carlos Delfino (Milwaukee)
Have you seen me?
John Hollinger (12:39 PM)
Post-concussion symptoms shouldn't be taken lightly so Bucks are taking an appropriately conservative approach. Apparently he's going to wear some kind of mild helmet thing, kind of like what goalkeeper Petr Cech wears, when he comes back.
Any chance Detroit could trade Rip or to a lesser extent BG to Orlando (need 3pt help) for some future building blocks like Bass or Gortat, or are our hands tied until we are sold?
John Hollinger (12:41 PM)
i think you could do that type of trade because it wouldn't be taking on money. But anything that adds to payroll is a strict no-no. Also, I don't think Orlando bites on that.
Mark Cuban (Dallas)
What are your thoughts about the Mavs? Do they need to make a move, and if so, what is out there that improves this team?
John Hollinger (12:42 PM)
They've very good and they may get better once Beaubois returns. I have trouble seeing them as a true title contender without a more dynamic presence on the wings, and I think the Mavs will continue to search out deals for that type of player.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Since Melo is going to sign with the Knicks during the summer, wouldn't it be stupid for them to use assets to trade for him now? Wouldn't it be smarter to hold onto them or use them to upgrade another position?
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
Bird in hand. The risk is that Melo is bluffing and that he'll take the security of signing the extension instead.
RB (Ann Arbor)
Can you officially declare that Rip Hamilton to the Bulls has 0% chance of happening?
John Hollinger (12:44 PM)
Never say never but it's virtually impossible to work under the cap and Hamilton doesn't shoot 3s, which is what Chi really needs.
Prof, is Terrence Williams who he seemed in April/May of last year (14/7/5) or who he's been this year (D-league demotion)? What should the Rockets expect?
John Hollinger (12:45 PM)
I think the Rockets are taking a calculated risk here. They know he's flaky and can't shoot, but he can be a real positive as a defender/rebounder/passer and the team badly needs some athleticism. They didn't sacrifice too much since it's a protected pick.
Isn't there something "off" about D'Antoni's refusal to play or even put Anthony Randolph on the court? The talent's there, the production's there, he's proven his value while in GS, so what's the story?
John Hollinger (12:47 PM)
I thought he could thrive in their system as a Diaw-type second ballhandler and shot-blocker, but he hasn't. The numbers from last year say he should be really effective, but every time he's taken the floor this year he's been avert-your-eyes awful, so I can't really blame D'Antoni for keeping him on the pine. He has some unique skills, but he's definitely not a guy that fits everywhere.
Yea, can someone explain to me what we needed the Lakers for at all? The Rockets had a TE. The 1st for two 2nds is a push at best. For taking on a $5M dead body Id figure we could have done better.
John Hollinger (12:50 PM)
Trading two seconds for a first in addition to the $5 mil was an unexpected wrinkle, yes, but I don't think it shifts things too greatly. The deal effectively cost the Nets just over $3 mil, which is what teams have paid for first-rounders. If those cancel out, then it's two second-rounders for Sasha -- which sounds about right. He'll actually help them, since their wings have been fairly brutal and Morrow got hurt yesterday.
Jay (Tacoma, WA)
Obvious rumblings about Melo and to some extent Iguodala...any names flying under the radar that could be moved? Your gut instinct is fine :)
John Hollinger (12:52 PM)
Vince Carter and Chauncey Billups. Both only have partial guarantees for next season, so their new team gains a lot of flexbility. I could see Orlando doing something like Vince + Gortat to a team looking to drop some salary, in return for a more dynamic wing.
What is a realistic offer that the Magic could make to the Suns for Nash?
John Hollinger (12:53 PM)
There isn't one, until or unless Phoenix decides to trade him, which would pretty much cause open revolt among their fan base, so I don't expect it to happen any time soon. If Suns do "rebuild"-type moves, I'd think Richardson would be first to go.
Will the Jazz look to package AK or Memo (assuming health) at the deadline? And what can they reasonably get that won't hurt the strength of the team?
John Hollinger (12:55 PM)
The unanswered question from that near-disastrous Kirilenko-Diaw swap this summer is whether the Jazz will try to get under the tax again with a similar sort of deal at the deadline. AK or Okur would be the obvious pawns in such a move, and your worries about what it would do to the team's hopes are reasonable.
Should I flat out bench Lewis in favor of MP and Bass at the 3 and 4?
John Hollinger (12:56 PM)
Provided Pietrus's MRI checks out OK, I think that's an overdue move at this point. This isn't a "slump", it's been going on for a year and a half.
Deron Williams (Utah)
If I continue to play at the level I am this season, will my coach get the thing he has deserved for years (COTY) and will I get that other award (MVP)
John Hollinger (12:57 PM)
I think both Sloan and Williams will fare very strongly in award voting provided Utah stays in the top four in the West, and Sloan in particular will be a hugely sympathetic choice if the race is at all close.
John, what moves do you see the Spurs making? Should they make a small move to shore up their front line?
John Hollinger (12:59 PM)
moves? They're 20-3? Seriously? I like the Spurs' front line quite a bit with Splitter in the mix, because now they can match up big or small in a way they couldn't before. This should really help them against L.A. in particular.
Matt801 (SLC UT)
How does J Sloan fit Memo into the rotation when he comes back?
John Hollinger (1:00 PM)
Not a worry. Pretty easy to take minutes from Elson/Fes/Evans, and he can give his overworked starters some more rest too.
What moves do you see OKC making? They have to do something to get Krstic out of the staritng lineup at center
John Hollinger (1:01 PM)
OKC is likely to do very little until after the new collective bargaining agreement comes out. They used their cap space in the Collison deal and want to let this core gel a bit more before they shoot for the moon, plus they want to know the new rules because they can't afford expensive mistakes in this market.
Kevin (New York)
Hey John, Denver has everything the Knicks need to become a championship Contender, Melo & NENE. Any way we can work out aquiring both before the start of the 2011 season since they can BOTH become free agents summer of 2011?
John Hollinger (1:03 PM)
You're right that he also has an ETO, but you've got n-no shot at Nene. Unlike Melo he's not itching to leave, and the rules favor the Nuggets even if he declares for free agency.
James Harden (OKC)
Did you know I could dunk?
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
Actually yes. The Beard had a few dunks like that last year too, although none as impressive as the facial on Hickson. Going to his left he gets up very quickly.
I've heard alot of names for chicago (jr smith, j-richardson, rip hamilton, OJ mayo), What are the chances the bulls make any move?
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
They're not exactly awash in assets at the moment, which makes dealing difficult. The one hammer they hold is the first-rounder from Charlotte in the Thomas deal; I think that's enough of a chip to get something done, but making salaries work gets tricky because the Bulls don't have many disposable contracts. Seems to me Brewer would have to be involved.
Rod Thorn (Philadelphia, PA)
Should I blow it up (trade iguodala and brand to get youth and picks and expirings) or should I try and solidify what i have (marcus camby maybe) to be a more solid team?
John Hollinger (1:08 PM)
The Sixers are better than people think -- they've lost a ton of close games and my Playoff Odds still project them as the No. 8 seed in the East. Given that, I'd err more on the side of the later approach, although not to the point I'd be taking on a 36-year-old center.
Roddy (Portland (OR))
Do you think it would be smart for Brandon Roy to just come off the bench? And who should the Blazers go after with the DPE? I would trade Rudy along with it and get maybe Landry or is it possible to land David Lee with other players included? Something needs to happen and soon.
John Hollinger (1:11 PM)
That's what Roy doesn't get -- he's complaining about "personnel", which really means "Andre Miller", but Miller is playing so much better than he is, that if one of them has to go to the bench it isn't gonna be Miller. As far as the disabled player exception, don't hold your breath. It doesn't change much for Blazers, because they still need to make an offer another team will accept. And you sure as heck aren't getting David Lee out of it. Maybe, if you're really lucky, you can get Marcin Gortat.
Dueling chats right now. Can Hollinger and Ford co-exist? Whos the alpha dog?
John Hollinger (1:11 PM)
Ha! I hung on for a few extra minutes since Pau cut off my connection, but it's time to give way to Professor Ford. Thanks again for all the great questions and we'll be back to doing this on Thursday next week.