Chat with John Hollinger
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, NBA columnist John Hollinger will stop by to share his thoughts on all of the NBA news.
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John Hollinger (12:05 PM)
Greetings everyone. Looking forward to a potential Game 7 doubleheader on Saturday, which would be the first one since we had a Clippers-Suns/Mavs-Spurs back to back in 2006. What else is on your mind?
Thought on Hansbrough not getting suspended? His hit seemed to be the least egregious of the three (both in terms of the type of contact and the fact that it wasn't retaliatory), but shouldn't the league be sending a message to both teams to clean it up a bit?
John Hollinger (12:09 PM)
I though the league made the right call on Hansbrough and Haslem, although upgrading all three fouls to flagrant 2 was a pretty serious repudiation of the officials -- basically they told the refs they went 0-for-3. Pittman, obviously, got what he deserved and arguably should have been suspended longer given that it was less a basketball play than a felonious assault. Of the other two, I felt Haslem's was more a blatant attempt to hit the guy in ways that had nothing to do with basketball.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Do the Knicks have as much interest in Odom as he has in the Knicks? If so, does this help the Mavs getting the most for Odom in terms of trading him to the Knicks or a team who would like to trade with the Knicks?
John Hollinger (12:13 PM)
Lots of misunderstanding about Odom all around, so let's talk about this. Right now he is still under contract to the Mavs and has $2.4 million guaranteed for next season. Dallas would like to trade him to another team rather than waive him, but without taking money back. In practice, that's only plausible with a team that is well under the cap. i.e., not the Knicks, because Odom's cap number includes the non-guaranteed money and is thus $8.2 million. Wherever Odom is traded to, he's likely to be waived immediately, and that point he could potentially sign with the Knicks. But the other snag is that he'd have to take a minimum deal with New York, unless the courts rule in the Players' Association's favor (which seems unlikely) on the rules regarding Lin/Novak free agency.
Frank (Miami, FL)
What's the over/under on there being flagrant 2 calls tonight in Indy?
John Hollinger (12:14 PM)
I'll say zero flagrant 2 calls but a lot of flagrant 1 and double techs called in the first half. They're going to try to establish order early, so teams that go to the basket are likely to be heavily rewarded.
Are the Spurs and Thunder watching the Eastern Conference playoffs with interest as the teams beat each other up?
John Hollinger (12:15 PM)
I'd think the only thing those teams are watching is whether the Heat will advance or not. They'll crush Indy/Boston/Philly but the Heat can give them a real series.
How does the DPoY end up on the 2nd team all-defense?
John Hollinger (12:16 PM)
Two different voting groups. The voting for DPoY is done by the media; the all-defense team is selected by the coaches. At least in theory. It's been widely suspected that many, if not most, coaches outsource their ballots to interns and PR staffers, and that's how we end up with Kobe on the All-Defense team every year.
How do the lakers not send Pau Gasol and Odom at the beginning of the season to Orlando for Dwight Howard after the Chris Paul deal was negated by the league? Would that have not made them a top 2 or 3 team in the NBA?
John Hollinger (12:17 PM)
There's the little factor called "the Magic have to agree to the deal." L.A. indeed would have made that trade in a heartbeat; Orlando, not so much.
Chris (Lincoln) [via mobile]
Steve Nash's next team: do you take the Knicks or the field?
John Hollinger (12:18 PM)
The field by a mile. He'd have to take a minimum deal in New York, or the Knicks would have to jettison Jeremy Lin. Neither of those things are happening.
vui loong (malaysia)
Who would you pick for game 7 on Saturday? Celtics or Sixers?Celtics already lose avery bradley, and that's one of the reason why celtics lose the game 6.
John Hollinger (12:20 PM)
I picked Boston in 7 before the series began, but you're right that they're starting to run out of bodies, which gives this a very similar feel to the Orlando series three years ago when a weary, Garnett-less Boston team was thrashed at home in Game 7 of the second round. I would still lean Boston, between their home court advantage and the fact that the extra off day should help, but Celtics fans are right to worry.
Do the Celtics just like torturing us? Is that why we will have had to watch 7 games of this crap?
John Hollinger (12:22 PM)
The Celtics-Sixers-Hawks-Bulls bracket combined to give us 19 game of NBA playoff basketball! How can you not rejoice in that? By the end of the conference finals those four teams will have accounted for one-third of the total playoff games. I think I found our explanation for why scoring is down.
Is Harden on the thunder next year ? And if not how does that affect them winning long term ?
John Hollinger (12:23 PM)
Harden is NOT a free agent; he is extension-eligible after this season, however, and the suspicion is that the Thunder will need to back up the truck in order to get his signature. Harden becomes a restricted free agent in 2013 and I fully expect him to get a max offer sheet if it comes to that.
Hey John, how about pandering to an entire nation with a Raptors quest? Sounds like Bryan Colangelo wants to shift into win-now mode next year with his contract set to expire. Won't that be something of a disaster given what a flaming wreck the Raptors roster is? Who do you see as likely targets?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
I think it's going to be more a case of "progress now" than "win now." The Raps made a lot of positive steps this past season, steps that were masked by the injuries, and if they can get Valuncianas to come over I think they have a chance to be a playoff team without sabotaging their future plans. Especially if they don't start Rasual Butler at small forward.
Why does everyone not understand that Celtics are not a real contender for the title?
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
shhhhhhhhh ..... by the way, also please don't mention that their offense is trash. Just talk about ball movement and ignore the scoreboard.
Paul (Cleveland, OH)
What are the chances the Spurs run this playoffs 16-0?
John Hollinger (12:27 PM)
Not good, but the fact we're even discussing it shows what an amazing run they're on. By the way, today's Per Diem previews the WCF and should be up soon.
Early predictions for a Heat-Celts/Sixers finals?
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
Nobody who watched last night's game will predict Miami to lose. Or Indiana, for that matter.
glad to hear you're writing about the WCF. I'm so pumped and there's really not that much content floating around about it yet. What matchup are you looking forward to most? TP v Westbrook and Duncan vs Perkins for me.
John Hollinger (12:29 PM)
Harden vs. Ginobili. Not sure how much they'll be guarding each other, but I'm not sure I've ever seen two players that were ten years apart in age and yet were so similar. And they're two of the most unique players in the league -- similar to each other and virtually nobody else.
Rob (Shelby Twp, MI)
Would the Pistons have the pieces to acquire Josh Smith this summer and fit him next to Monroe?
John Hollinger (12:31 PM)
I like how you're thinking but I'm not sure Stuckey+pieces is enough to get the Hawks interested. Also, keep in mind that Josh has an expiring contract and so will have a say in wherever he's traded -- he'd have to want to extend with Detroit to make it plausible. No offense to the fine people of Michigan, but I have trouble seeing that happening. Think he'd be a lot more likely to extend in say, Houston, where he's trained in the offseason.
Honest predictions for a Heat team sans Bosh in a potential matchup against Spurs or OKC. My take: won't be favored, but with solid D, decent 3 point shooting, and Wade/LBJ playing to potential, they can't be counted out of any series.
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
They'll get rolled. Miami needs Bosh to hang with those two teams; it's a major, major step up in quality from everything they've faced thus far.
Why does trading Rondo for Westbrook not make perfect sense? The Celts get there hybrid 1/2 scorer to go with Pierce and Garnett and the Thunder get the pass first point guard that Durant and Harden need to win. Doesnt the money work too?
John Hollinger (12:33 PM)
Westbrook is better and younger. There is no way the Thunder are trading him for Rondo. As for "needing a pass-first PG", they were second in the NBA in Offensive Efficiency. If they lose it will be their defense.
Who has a better chance against Miami, OKC or Spurs?
John Hollinger (12:35 PM)
"better chance" is an odd way to phrase it since either team would be favored, but San Antonio would be a heavier favorite than OKC.
D. Brown (DC)
Is Parker vs Westbrook the best matchup we are going to see this playoffs?
John Hollinger (12:36 PM)
Unless we got LeBron vs. Durant in the Finals, probably so.
Pop (Wine Basement )
Shouldn't I be confident that my team has ten legit offensive threats while the Thunder only have about three and a half?
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
Yes, I think that will be one of the two differences in this series. The other is OKC's defense, which hasn't caught up to its offense.
Sure the backcourt battles will be great, but I'm interested in seeing Timmy D go up against Perkins and Ibaka...any chance those two can slow him down? He's in early 2000s form of late.
John Hollinger (12:40 PM)
Perkins and Collison will probably play Duncan a lot more than Ibaka does -- he's much better off the ball roving, or perhaps you don't remember what Dirk Nowitzki did to him a year ago at this time. I think they can be reasonable effective limiting Duncan on post-ups, it's the pick-and-roll game that's going to carve up OKC.
Ryan (San Mateo, CA)
does Miami use it's amnesty on someone this summer to free some $ to get some legit help?
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
At this point it doesn't really help them. Even if they amnesty Mike Miller they still will only have the low-level MLE. So I'm guessing they stand pat and save it for next year as insurance against a debilitating injury to a key player.
Any thoughts on CP3 staying in LA long term? What moves can the Clips make next season for them to contend with OKC and SA?
John Hollinger (12:44 PM)
Very interesting question since he only committed for two years. I think the biggest issue is what they do on the sidelines -- I think it's more likely than not that Vinny doesn't return, and if they could get an SVG type in there it might encourage CP to extend his deal.
Could Scott Brooks cost the Thunder a game in the San Antonio series? His insistence on playing Derek Fisher is mind boggling
John Hollinger (12:46 PM)
I think Brooks has made a lot of progress, even in the late game offensive play calls. And defensively, he gets no credit, but in the last minutes of games he does a lot of stuff to screw up opponents -- Game 4 against LA, for instance, he suddenly had KD on Kobe and his bigs fronting Bynum, and the Lakers completely spazzed. I do think he plays Fisher too much at the expense of Thabo, but if the Thunder are going to play small with KD at the 4 -- their most effective lineup -- one of their perimeter guys has to play extra minutes.
Ibaka's deal is up the same time as Harden. He should command Tyson Chandler money. Will OKC let him walk over Harden?
John Hollinger (12:48 PM)
Yes, but I think they'd let Perkins walk (via amnesty) before either of those two. I think it's highly likely they extend both players, and then if they want to avoid the tax they can jettison Perk in the summer of 2013.
Are we going to see Juwan Howard get major burn tonight?
John Hollinger (12:50 PM)
Scary thought, isn't it? Miami will be starting foul-prone Ronny Turiaf, and then Joel Anthony is the only halfway decent option off the bench. I presume Miami will play small the entire game, with Battier and LeBron taking minutes at the 4 and James Jones seeing a lot more run at the 3, but if they play with two bigs at the same time they're going to have to play Howard extensively, and we might even see Eddy Curry play.
Who says no to a Josh Smith (plus salaries) for Pau deal?
John Hollinger (12:52 PM)
I think that's a very, very interesting trade, yes, but Atlanta's luxury tax situation may preclude it from happening. If it did it would bring Pau full circle -- everybody forgets this, but Hawks had No. 3 pick in Gasol's draft year before trading it to Grizzlies for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
So it's safe to say, you're extremely confident ranking the teams SA, OKC, MIA, IND, BOS, PHI, correct?
John Hollinger (12:52 PM)
Brian (Bridgewater, MA)
Chances the lakers use the amnesty on MWP this offseason?
John Hollinger (12:54 PM)
50-50. They'd have to find a replacement somewhere, and they may decide it's easier to amnesty Blake. But it's awfully tempting to cull $15 million from their luxury tax bill, knowing that they'll sell out the building no matter what.
Rock (New York)
Why do role players consistently play better at home (see: Heat, Miami, Game 5 vs. Games 3-4)? I know the conventional explanations, but have there ever been any studies on this?
John Hollinger (12:54 PM)
It's coach/announcer made-up analysis. No real factual basis for this statement.
Would you like to comment on my GM candidacy?
John Hollinger (12:55 PM)
If it moves you out of TV, everybody wins.
Chris (Providence, RI)
Roy Hibbert is sixteen feet taller than any of Miami's centers ... why isn't he getting a ton more touches?
John Hollinger (12:56 PM)
It's not as easy as "just throw it in" -- Miami is fronting the post and making it difficult for Hibbert and West to get touches. This was also the most effective strategy against Yao Ming, who is probably Hibbert's closest thing to a comparable player.
Why are the Sixers so awesome?
John Hollinger (12:57 PM)
you spelled Spurs wrong.
Jason (San Antonio, TX)
Which has a more significant impact on tonight's game, Udonis Haslem's suspension or Granger's ankle? From Granger's attempt at a return in game 5, it looks like he won't be very effective, offensively or defensively.
John Hollinger (12:59 PM)
Granger's ankle -- he is a much more important player to Indiana than Haslem is to Miami. We just don't know how quickly that injury is going to heal, but the fact he returned to the floor at all in Game 4 tells me it was probably a lower-grade sprain and he may be able to play reasonably effectively.
Is Tony Parker capable to stop Westbrook one-on-one?
John Hollinger (1:00 PM)
The key for Parker is pushing Westbrook to spots where he's least effective. That means forcing him to pull up from 19 (where he's erratic) rather than 15 (where he's money), and it means keeping him off the offensive glass, where he does shocking amounts of damage for a point guard. But Parker moves well laterally and is bigger than people think; he's not gonna shut Russ down or anything, but he'll do okay.
Jean Gabriel (RD)
is there a PG in the NBA who is able to stop Russell Westbrook?
John Hollinger (1:01 PM)
Would love to see Avery Bradley take a crack at him, but apparently that will have to wait til next year.
Regardless of the logistics - would Odom be a worthwhile pickup for the Knicks
John Hollinger (1:02 PM)
Yes -- multi-position defender and willing facilitator. Could probably help them a lot if he's engaged.
Has Philadelphia become a more attractive destination for free agents/players looking to play for an up-and-coming team given their success and young talent?
John Hollinger (1:05 PM)
Marginally. I think they'd move up the charts if they made the Finals; short of that I'm not sure the needle has shifted much. Also, they have no cap space unless they amnesty Brand.
Feels strange even asking this but if the Celtics had been able to snag Boris Diaw instead of Ryan Hollins, he would have helped immensely no? At least in the first two rounds.
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
Good point. But don't blame Boston FO for this -- Diaw to Spurs was in the bank because of his connection to Parker.
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
Folks that's all the time I have but we'll do this again same time next week. Thanks for all the great questions, and you can find today's Per Diem on the West finals at http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2012/story/_/page/PERDiem-120524/advantage-sas