Chat with Amin Elhassan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, NBA Insider Amin Elhassan stops by to chat about the latest news from around the hardcourt.
Elhassan joined the ESPN NBA Insider team following a stint with the Phoenix Suns. He earned his way up the ranks with the Suns, serving as a video coordinator, college scout, before finally working as the assistant director of basketball operations. While with the Suns, he also earned his MBA from Arizona State.
Send your questions now and join Elhassan Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Amin (2:59 PM)
Hi guys! Time for another edition of our weekly chat....let's dive right in
Tim Irvin (Down the street from USC)
Amin, two Lakers questions...In general, what do you think of the strategy of signing "failed" lottery picks like Xavier Henry and Wesley Johnson and is Robert Sacre really a better low post option than Chris Kaman at this point in time? Thanks!
Amin (3:02 PM)
Great questions, Tim. I think when you look at a team in Lakers' financial situation as a taxpayer, these are the type of players you can afford to go after. Armed with only the taxpayers midlevel (about $3M), you have to find a way to add talent on a budget, and the guys with the most talent available for cheap are usually former draft busts...they were drafted high for a reason, and the hope is now that they've come face to face with basketball mortality, they are more willing to do the things that maybe they werent willing to do when they were on top of the world.As far as Sacre vs Kaman goes, not about being a better low post option, but being better at what the Lakers need: rim protection, rebounding, screening and generally staying out of the way
Hi Amin, Bulls more likely in playoffs or in lottery?
Amin (3:03 PM)
With the East as awful as it is, the Bulls are more likely in the playoffs. Now if you're asking what SHOULD they be angling for....I say playoffs for now, but if things that dont turn around by All-Star break, maybe shutting their guys down for the stretch run is in order
What do you make of the Bobcats and is it true that if they make the playoffs, the Bulls will get their pick?
Amin (3:05 PM)
Bobcats are playing hard and trying to build a culture after so many years of being terrible. They owe Chicago their first round pick, protected through top 10, for the Tyrus Thomas trade, so yes if they make the playoffs their first rounder goes to Chicago. Heck, if they MISS the playoffs but end up with pick 11-14 (unlikely), it would still go to the Bulls
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Best & the Worst NBA Team So far this Season?
Amin (3:05 PM)
So far, I'd have to say Indiana is best and Philly has been the worst. But these things are fluid! Top of the NBA is very crowded
Chris (Athens, GA)
Amin, Why do you "abhor" who says no senarios? With all due respect, isn't it you job to answer these type of questions in this context? (I'm not on twitter so please don't go that route) It seems that these days the role of reporter includes the role of speculator/talking head. People want your opinion b/c you are plugged in...and we are not. There is this great old SnL sketch where Sinata (Phil Hartman) tells Billy Idol (Sting) to stop sneering because you can't have contempt for your audience. I think of this every time I read your chats. Just something to consider.....I personally would like to hear what you have to say about basketball since you are a Bball analyist and your experience with the Suns...not about why you are morally opposed to a certain line of questioning or evasive responses. Good luck in your new endeavor. All the best,Chris
Amin (3:10 PM)
Thanks for asking this question calmly and rationally, Chris (and great SNL reference). The reason I abhor who says no scenarios is manyfold: first, I think my role as an analyst is to help fans understand why things have happened, why certain players are under/over valued, why certain rumors are out there and whether they have merit. When you get into "who says no", you are talking a world of fantasy basketball, where people are more interested in crafting a trade that comes with minimal cost and maximum benefit to their own team. I'm not in the business of discussing fantasy (for the most part), so I find these exercises an incredible waste of time that takes us away from really interesting topics and questions that deserve to be answered and discussed. Also, if I answer/address one, then by extension I can't start ignoring everyone else's. I hope that answers your question!
Amin, do you think the Bobcats are right to make a playoff push this season, given the promise of the 2014 draft class, after years of futility and screwing up the draft? To improve their odds, could you see a possibility of using Ben Gordon's expiring deal, along with one of their young big men, to make a deal for a more prominent PF? I could see the Bulls willing to take on a useless but expiring deal to move Boozer in order to free up money for Deng, no?
Amin (3:11 PM)
I think the Bobcats are in an unfortunate scenario, where they finally have the beginnings of a winning culture, but are faced with perhaps forfeiting a prime pick in a loaded draft in return. I think they'd like to dangle Gordon, but won't find many takers
Much has been made of the Bulls' offensive ineptitude/unwatchable-ness since Rose's injury, and how much worse they look than they did last year when they also did not have Rose. To me, much of this comes down to the ineptitude of Marquis Teague, who is totally unable to do pretty much any of the things you'd want your point guard to do-that they look that much better with DJ Augustin, who has been terrible the last two years, is quite the indictment. How much better do you think the Bulls could be (especially offensively) with a league average starting point guard who can create a little bit (say, Jeff Teague)? Are they quickly the third best team in the east?
Amin (3:12 PM)
Yes! A real PG would help tremendously....think about what Nate Robinson did for this same roster last year. It's no secret the Bulls need help with shot creation. As for third in the East, that isn't exactly a lofty goal out of the reach this year!
What is up with Gortat? Wizard fan here and hear that Gortat is unhappy with his role - is he a malcontent? or !!!!! thanks
Amin (3:13 PM)
Gortat is not unhappy, rather he was voicing his concerns with the type of shots he's getting. he's not a malcontent, he's just a guy with zero filter. In the words of Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson, Gortat needs a speed bump for his mouth sometimes.
Genuine reaction to the Bargnani play? Laughter? Sadness? Stone-faced?
Amin (3:15 PM)
I was at the Suns Spurs game and glanced at my Twitter timeline explode over the incident without really knowing what happened. It wasnt until someone posted a video link of Walt Frazier losing his temper (something I can NEVER remember happening) that I realized what exactly happened. I dont think I've ever seen that happen in an NBA game before.
Demar Derozan has steadily improved and seems to be a hard worker and certainly is not a knucklehead. That said, he doesnt pass much, take much interest in defence and his improving shot selection remains less than great. What kind of value do you think he has around the league?
Amin (3:15 PM)
DeRozan's value around the league isnt dragged down by his potential, or even his current production. It's dragged down by his contract. Nobody wants to pay that kind of money for that caliber of talent, sadly. But, there's a sucker born every minute!
Is Chris Paul's ridiculously efficient season falling under the radar? He is currently #1 in win shares.
Amin (3:16 PM)
I think the Clippers choppy start to the year took a little shine off them. When Redick gets back and they really get that thing humming, watch out!
The Kings need to make another move. they need an actual starting point guard for one. Any rumors out there? I like Thomas, he scores but can't play defense. Every night the opposing team's leading scorer is whoever he guards.
Amin (3:17 PM)
As Thomas' role has grown offensively, he expends less energy on the defensive end. There's a lot of Isaiah love out there, but I've been pretty steadfast in my opinion that he's a high level backup and not a full time starter. As far as rumors go....keep checking ESPN.com/NBA
Amin (3:18 PM)
Also, follow our incredible reporters: Marc Stein, Chris Broussard, Ramona Shelburne, Arash Markazi, etc!
Do you think that the Clippers Overall Defence has improved since the start of the season? Has Rivers finally got them running?
Amin (3:19 PM)
I think the Clippers starting unit is pretty solid defensively -- they even have Blake in the right places for the most part. Much of the Clippers hemorrhaging on the defensive end occurs with second unit. Matt Barnes return should help with that
Mike (Long Island) [via mobile]
Hey Amin! Instead of giving you those "who walks away first" or "what if" trades, I was wondering your thoughts on trades that may happen this year? It seems like a lot of teams are looking for players, but aren't willing to give up picks due to this super class.
Amin (3:20 PM)
Obviously, Asik has dominated the news....Philly's stable of guys should be available as well, as are Boston's. I wrote a piece about "fire sale" candidates: players on bad to middling teams who might be sought after by contending teams in trades. As we get closer to the deadline, teams will be more desperate to make moves to "take them over the top"
Does Houston's position weaken in trade talks around Asik the longer it takes? Given his salary structure, I would think it does, no? And having to back away from their own deadline certainly doesn't help I suppose.
Amin (3:22 PM)
While the self-imposed deadline is a bit egg-on-face right now, the truth is the Rockets are in no real pressure to move him (other than his discontent in the locker room). His salary structure was not going to change if he was traded by toda, it still will work the same. SO there's no reason to believe he wont still be traded before the deadline, or even after the season, on draft day, after free agency begins, etc.
What do you do if you were Hinkie? Can you get a first rounder for Turner or is he part of the future? What about Hawes? I think Hawes is much more of the future then Turner and could be a great inside/outside game with Noel at the 4/5.
Amin (3:23 PM)
Hinkie is in no rush....teams will come to him and express how desperate they are for talent. I think holding out for "choicier" picks is the right strategy
Ed (Queens Village)
Rank 5 Christmas Day games from best to worse?
Amin (3:26 PM)
1- Clippers Warriors...teams are both good, play exciting brand of ball and hate each other. 2- Spurs Rockets...another matchup of really good teams. 3- Heat Lakers...LeBron vs Kobe in Hollywood. What more can you say! 4- OKC NY....Durant vs Melo on Broadway. What more can you say! 5- Bulls Nets...it's basketball!
What would be the best return for Houston in an Asik trade?
Amin (3:28 PM)
A power forward who can move his feet defensively on the perimeter, shoot from at least 20 feet out (but preferably to 3P line), and rebound the ball. Who doesn't make a ridiculous amount of money!
Amin (3:29 PM)
Also, a defensive wing player who can shoot the 3
We know you abhor the "who says no" question. But I think you are misunderstanding, people want your personal opinion on weather you think their trade idea is good one or not. Theres no way you would no specifically who says no. The question are simply ideas that askees would like your opnion on. Whats the big deal, its just a chat question, have some fun. My question is if someone was to re-word their trade proposal to state "what do you think about this trade idea", would you answer it?
ityourchatAmin (inside your head)
We know you don't have time to go to various team GM's and ask them "who says no". The trade proposal question are just a gauge of your personal/professional opinion about if you think a trade is a good one. Have some fun and entertain us please and thank you. and again whats the big deal ugh, your follow you on twitter thing is the pitts. You win, its your chat, just asking/saying
Amin (3:30 PM)
It seems like you guys missed the point of my "who says no" boycott. It's not about knowing who literally would say no: it;s about a fantasy situation that isnt even being discussed by the teams. Why should I waste my (and your) time with dissecting how awful these propositions are?
Can teams trade players on the injured list? If so, and seeing the Rose & Bulls mgmt now fighting, would they trade him? How bout Rondo+wallace for Rose - celts continue tanking and have a star ready for next year's team (if healthy of course)...
Amin (3:32 PM)
Teams can trade injured players, but of course these players have to undergo a physical by their new team, who then can decide based on the physical whether or not this player is worth the risk. If you're trying to trade an injured superstar though, it would probably be in your best interest to wait for him to get back and be able to showcase his ability to return to pre-injury form
Amin, you're Steve Mills, how do you try to fix the Knicks? Gut the roster for picks? Only rule is that you can't quit.
Amin, if you are the Knicks GM and Dolan says do what you want (i know he's never saying that:)) but for the sake of the question, what can you possibly do to fix this mess? Thanks!
Amin (3:34 PM)
Ay-yi-yi...fixing the Knicks wont be easy. I'd take the Donnie Walsh approach from 2008-2010: bring guys in on short term deals and try to build a competitive culture, then make 2015 and 2016 priority free agency periods for talent acquisition. Also, find a way to divest players into picks OF ANY KIND...you're asking Dolan and the Knick fan base to be patient (again) but this is the only way you'll get it right.
Is Asik being pulled off the market another case of Morey overvaluing the Rockets players? I still think Boston would relent to moving Jeff Green eventually. A three team deal sending Asik to BOS, Green to a team with no SF like PHX, and moving Frye and Plumlee or a draft pick to HOU would work.
Amin (3:36 PM)
I think Morey has an idea in his brain his minimum price for Asik and if he doesn't get it, he won't deal him. Remember the Dec 19 deadline was self imposed so theyd be able to flip any talent that they'd acquire now by the trade deadline. But they can still make a deal for players they intend on keeping this season and obviously for picks
Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays Amin! Thoughts on Robin Lopez in Port ROS? have we seen the best of him already? thanks! Hope Santa is good to you!!!
Amin (3:38 PM)
Happy Holidays Fitzy! Lopez has been just what the doctor ordered for the Blazers, and I wrote about him in my Best Offseason Moves So Far piece that posted yesterday ( http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10156856/dwight-howard-rockets-tops-best-offseason-moves-far-nba )....I think Lopez can get more consistent with his midrange jumper,which will make things even tougher for opposing defenses to collapse.
Brian (Bay Area)
Amin, although the Lakers have backed off interest in trading Pau (at least publicly), isn't that really their best move? Chances he'd take a dramatic pay cut as a free agent and play for D'Antoni are slim, right?
Amin (3:38 PM)
Ooooo......look out for a piece from me on this very topic!
Jared (Clinton, OK)
Has the Thunder produced the best bench in the league right now?
Hey Amin! Any truth that the NBA is considering a NBA franchise relocating to Baltimore or an expansion franchise in Baltimore?
Amin (3:40 PM)
Have never heard of anything of the sorts, but I do know if a team does move to Baltimore, they will likely have to pay a hefty fee to the Wizards since they are entering their "territory". With markets like Seattle and St Louis already having state of the art arenas and no such restrictions, hard to see Baltimore being at the head of that line.
air jazzy (dc)
I asked you about Danny Granger starting when he comes back. You stated taht one reason may be to showcase him as a trade chip and that Granger himself may not go for coming off the bench. I disagree with those ideas, in that.. Is he ready to go against other starters? Now George has to play the two? Indy is rolling right now. I think chemestry and continuity is bigger than what Granger wants or how he feels, have you reconsidered?
Amin (3:41 PM)
I'm not disagreeing with you about what's best for the team. I'm saying sometimes players' agendas do not coincide with those of the team.
Amin, is A.I. underrated because of stat count? I was at the warriors game on Tuesday and they are a completely different team with him. I had no idea how good he was until this year
Amin (3:47 PM)
One of the most underrated players in the game if not THE most underrated. He is the type of player box score statistics do not do justice to.....that said, he needs to be in the right situation to be his most effective, and Golden St is that.
Do you like the Kings new lineup? Seems good on paper at least.
Amin (3:48 PM)
No, I don't. Somewhere along the line you need someone who has passing and/or defense on the forefront of their basketball mind.
You have talked a lot about how you didn't see the fit with Josh Smith in Detroit. If you inherited this front line, what do you do? I think you are stuck with Josh, and Drummond is untradeable, so you move Monroe and try to get a true small forward, no?
Amin (3:48 PM)
Theoretically yes. But easier said than done
Carl (Los Angeles)
On TrueHoop TV you mentioned that you wouldn't pay Bledsoe the max because of Dragic if you were the Suns, but isn't that strategy a problem when perhaps Dragic is playing better do to his competition and Bledsoe has a heigher ceiling worth keeping, maybe not at max level but a little more than Dragic's annual salary? Also, do you think Reggie Jackson is or will be better than Bledsoe long-term? If so, why?
Amin (3:50 PM)
I think my point isnt whether or not Bledsoe is worth more than Dragic: it's whether he'll ever be worth $6 million MORE per year better than Dragic. That's a lot of money that can be devoted to other needs. Long term, I think Bledsoe is better than jackson -- he's a better on ball defender, and better perimeter shooter.
If the spurs get that rebound would Duncan be talked about as a top 5 of all time?
Amin (3:50 PM)
I think he should be talked about in that breath as is.
Have you seen Chaz Williams play? Can he make it at the next level?
Amin (3:50 PM)
Saw him two years ago vs Boston College. He is tiny.
In their primes - Howard or Ming?
Amin (3:51 PM)
Dwight Howard on the post, dog
Old School (NY)
Where has the marketable NBA Star gone? The all star this year will be filled with alot of guys casual fans have never heard of?
Amin (3:51 PM)
LeBron, Paul George, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant......UGHHH I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN
Sean (Leeds, UK)
Amin, always enjoyed your cerebral take on the machinations of the NBA. Three questions for you, 1) I for one think Tom Thibodeau will eventually wear out his players emotionally rather than even physically because of his acerbic disposition, your thoughts? Kobe has always been overrated, Superstar yes, top 10 of all time NO! Your thoughts? And lastly NY will never win with Carmelo as their centrepiece. He is an undisciplined athlete with a seemingly low IQ for the game, your thoughts once again. Not easy catching up with you from the UK. Cheers!
Amin (3:53 PM)
I think you are absolutely right about Thibs: after a while, you wear people down with that attitude. I think Kobe is very special, and probably top 10. But hard to compare bigs to wings. NY wont win with Melo as the centerpiece as long as he keeps getting enabled by a franchise and owner who cowtow to him. I always got love for the UK! My wife grew up there!
Amin, regarding the league rules on buyouts and contracts counting against the cap, could the Knicks theoretically buy out the last year of Stoudemire's deal to remove it from the cap (even if paying him outright)? Or is the amnesty the only provision to remove the player?
Amin (3:54 PM)
In order for the Knicks to realize a savings on the cap hit, Stoudemire would have to accept a reduced buyout. So if he;s owed 23 mill, and you get him to accept a buyout of his last year to 20 mill, then 20 mill becomes the new cap hit. Obviously to make a significant impact to your cap sheets, he'd have to give up a considerable amount (unlikely)
ben (los angeles)
amin, what is your take on Kobe so far? my fear is that as he assumes more control of the games he will re-injure himself? thanks.
Amin (3:54 PM)
It's definitely a delicate situation. I shot a TrueHoop TV episode with Henry Abbott about his performance so far. Look for it tomorrow!
Did you line up for your 11 gammas?
Amin (3:56 PM)
I dont line up for sneakers. That doesnt mean I wouldnt love a pair of those gammas though!!
Hi Amin, What have you heard about Alex Len? Should we be concerned about his ankle, or is Phoenix just being conservative? Are they still very high on him in the organization?
Amin (3:57 PM)
I think the great play of Plumlee allows the Suns to take their time with Len's recovery with an eye for the long term.
steve(bugysgod) (battle creek)
So in this chat there are no answers for trade questions? Not trying to be a jerk, but dont want to keep asking if your not gonna answer.
Amin (3:58 PM)
Yeah, pretty much I dont do hypothetical trades. If it's a real rumor (e.g. Asik for Spencer Hawes) then i will address those.
What could the Knicks get for Melo? Zwerling wrote about a Melo for Griffin idea. That seems optimistic, what would you try to do?
Amin (3:59 PM)
Calling Melo for Griffin optimistic is like calling Warren Buffett "well off"
wow, Ramona Shelburne Lakers announce Kobe is out another 6 weeks with a fracture in his knee.
Kobe out for six weeks. Making it easier on LA to do the right thing this season?
Amin (3:59 PM)
Whoa! See, you guys are way better at breaking rumors to me than vice versa!!
gerdien (munich (germany))
What would be the next contract for Luol Deng if you would be his GM and what would be your asking price if your his agent?
Amin (4:00 PM)
As a GM: 6-8 mill, no longer than three year,s probably not fully guaranteed. Agent: 8-10 mill, four years
Carl (Los Angeles )
Is Rasheed Wallace the right coach to develop Drummond?
Amin (4:01 PM)
Rasheed is one of the highest IQ players of the last 30 years....teammates universally speak of him with the highest praises. When he was still playing, he once (mid game) corrected one of OUR players on how he was supposed to run OUR play! Basketball savant....cant imagine a better teacher for a young big
steve(bugysgod) (battle creek)
Drummond looks to be an All-Star this year, Ant Davis maybe not in the loaded West. Which player would you want going forward from today? Concerned w/ Davis injuries at all?
Amin (4:04 PM)
I think I'd rather have Davis as the more skilled, higher IQ player, but you cant go wrong with either!
Why does Nate Robinson move from team to team? He seems to provide a skill (shot creation) that many teams are looking for. Is there a reason that he always wears out his welcome?
Amin (4:05 PM)
Nate is a great guy, with a wonderful sense of humor, but he's one of those guys with no "off switch". So he wears people out after a few months. Again: GREAT GUY! Not a bad bone in his body! But I think we all know those type of friends who can get annoying inadvertently
Do you think Sanders, Henson, and Giannis can all play together and complement each other long term in today's NBA? Obviously, they all can stand to bulk up (esp. Henson), but it seems they have relatively different skill sets to make an interesting front court.
Amin (4:06 PM)
I think Sanders is the odd man out....
Jeff Hornacek = Jerry Sloan 2.0?
Amin (4:07 PM)
Cotton Fitzsimmons 2.0
Alec Burks has looked great the last ten or so games. I know it is a small sample size, but thoughts on his potential as an effective "irrational confidence player" off the bench?
Amin (4:07 PM)
Thats exactly the role I see him flourishing in as a pro!
Amin (4:07 PM)
I like that wording by the way..."Irrational confidence guy"!
Jesse Blanchard (San Antonio)
What is your favorite Boris Diaw moment? - @blanchardJRB
Amin (4:08 PM)
Far too many to name. One of my favorite players to ever have worked with and favorite people. Like Rasheed Wallace, a basketball savant
If the Rockets had Julius Randle would they be the best team in the NBA? I feel that is what they're missing.
Amin (4:09 PM)
I think the top of the NBA is very crowded this year, which is a good thing. I don't think adding a power forward who is turnover prone, cant shoot and cant guard NBA caliber talent on the perimeter is what the Rockets need to take them over the top RIGHT NOW.
Amin (4:09 PM)
Why did Kanye let MJ play for the Wizards? He shoulda never ever let MJ play for the Wizards!
Amin (4:10 PM)
How hilarious was that video! That's a walkoff!
Amin (4:11 PM)
Thanks everyone for participating in the chat....sorry for the longer answers today, I hope we clarified my stance on fictional trades and we can move forward with talk about REALITY! See you guys next week!