Chat with J.A. Adande
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com NBA senior writer J.A. Adande will stop by to chat about the NBA hardwood.
Prior to working at ESPN, Adande was at the Los Angeles Times, where he started in 1997. He has been a frequent panelist on ESPN's "Around the Horn." He has covered every major pro championship, every major college bowl game, the Final Four, the Masters, Wimbledon and the Olympics, and his work has appeared in the "Best American Sports Writing" series.
Send your questions now and chat with Adande at 3 p.m. ET on Friday!
J.A. Adande (3:02 PM)
Welcome. To the best of my knowledge no NBA players are scheduled to be sentenced for weapons-related charges today, so I'm free to chat this week. Let's go...
Zach (South Dakota)
Well, the Boston Celtics havn't been so hot lately. Do you think that the 2008 season will be their only season where they actually had a chance to win the title.. or maybe some games for that matter. I have been a Boston Celtics fan my whole life and i have seen them when they are bad, but I dont wanna see them play like they did when they have some of the best players in the NBA. Thanks for trying to answer my question.
J.A. Adande (3:03 PM)
Looks like this Celtic group will go down as one and done. And it still was worth it. They didnt get a fair shot to defend last year because KG wasn't right, and the Rasheed Wallace move didn't work out. But at least the NBA has been relevant in Boston again the past 3 years
adam (georgia) [via mobile]
Where do u see the suns ending up in the west and who will they play? Do they have a chance at west con finals ?
J.A. Adande (3:04 PM)
The Western seeding is too fluid right now, but I can't see the Suns getting past the second round if they have to go against the Lakers or Utah in the conference semis
what was kobe's per for the entire postseason last year? The tell tale sign of whether the Lakers will repeat will be that number for the Lakers. I think his per was around 27. I could be wrong. If he raises his game one more time in this years playoffs they will be fine. But it is asking alot for a 31 going on 32 year old Bryant with over 38,000 minutes to dial it up one more time. Gasol is gonna have to start earning his money!!
J.A. Adande (3:06 PM)
mike, you're right in that Kobe's playoff PER last season was 26.8, but I don't think that's the key number for this season. First of all I don't think he can repeat that, as banged-up as he is. Second, even when he comes out hot, as he did against Atlanta the other night, the rest of his teammates haven't caught on. Bench scoring -- and plus/minus -- will be a more indicative stat for the Lakers this postseason
Do the Mavs matchup with LA better than people give them credit for? The Lakers are great, no doubt, but with the way Shawn Marion has been shutting down the likes of Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, I like his chances against Kobe and the Mavs' chances overall against the Lakers.
J.A. Adande (3:08 PM)
Based on last night's game vs. Orlando, I'd say no. The Magic shut down everyone but Dirk. If we say the Lakers are better than Orlando (although they haven't provided any evidence lately) than that home loss didn't bode well for Dallas at all.
Adande, you must be the most confused guy in all the world. How does winning a championship make it MORE likely Lebron will leave Cleveland? How many players reach the absolute apex of their sport (mvp, championship, finals mvp) and then bolt for a vastly inferior (26 win) team that plays no defense and has no one with playoff experience? I think at the heart of this is just plain 'ole condescension: "Cleveland doesn't deserve or isn't capable of earning more than one championship; dynasties must take place in markets that are worthy of them like NY or Chicago." Feel free to justify yourself now.
J.A. Adande (3:13 PM)
If LeBron wins a championship this year he doesn't owe Cleveland anything. (NOt that he does now, actually. He's his own man). I just feel it would be easier for him to justify leaving if he said, I got you guys a championship. He would have delivered the city its first major championship since the 60s. For anyone to demand more of him would be selfish and greedy. Stop with the small-town paranoia. It's about where LeBron wants to be, not what city deserves it. Did San Antonio "deserve" its success last decade more than NY? Not based on census counts, but surely based on basketball operations by the Spurs
Charles McCarthy (Bristol, CT)
A lot has been said this week about Pau's self proclaimed "toughness". Lakers are making a comeback in the closing minutes against the Hawks and Kobe's finds Pau underneath on a play where he easily could have gotten a good look himself. Pau catches the ball and instead of taking it right at Zaza for the dunk he tries to tiptoe around him and throws up a soft reverse with no chance of going in. He has repeatedly made bad decisions at the end of games this year when Kobe will go to him (after all, Pau wants the ball) and Pau will opt to pass it to the opponent or give it to a teammate who ends up with a 24 sec violation. Pau's toughness is a myth, self proclaimed or otherwise. I feel bad for Kobe.
J.A. Adande (3:14 PM)
I thought Pau was plenty tough against the Magic in the Finals last year...but he regressed this year. All the old questions are back. Never he really regained confidence after his hamstring injuries.
Do the Jazz have a realistic shot at the Lakers, not just tonight but ousting them to make the NBA finals?
J.A. Adande (3:17 PM)
Sure. Last season's first-round matchup was tougher than people remember, and Utah is a much better road team this year. Of course the Jazz excel at the position that gives the Lakers the biggest problems: PG
Roy (Orange County, CA)
Will Izzo ever be an NBA coach??
J.A. Adande (3:19 PM)
He should. He's the most capable college guy out there. I've talked to several of his players who are in the NBA now and they think H to the Izzo would work in the Association...especially since he's a little more mellow now. I think he'll give it a try at some point. Maybe Prokhorov will offer him too much money to refuse coaching the Nets (just a thought)
Could ESPN please insult the fans on Cleveland a little more? We get it that ESPN would benefit if LBJ left for NYC, but let's be honest, the front page of ESPN.com today was a little much seeing as the Final Four is starting and so is baseball.
J.A. Adande (3:21 PM)
Just wondering: when everyone was speculating on where Kobe Bryant could be traded a couple of years ago, was that seen as a plot to insult people of Los Angeles? You know the one person who could end all the speculation immediately? A native of Ohio. LeBron James. And while he does say his heart's in Ohio, he's never said "I'm not going anywhere, so stop all the speculation." Until that happens, it's too big a story to ignore.
Dan (Ocala, FL)
Do you see a Magic CLE ECF, & I feel Magic have an excellent shot, agree? Also isn't ORL better equipped if an injury should happen before that point?
J.A. Adande (3:22 PM)
Can't disagree at all. I had Atlanta making it to the ECF to play Cleveland, but Orlando has played too well for too long this season to say they won't be there again.
Which playoff series are you most looking forward to watching? And if the Magic and Cavs play in the ECF how many games do you think it will go and who will win?
J.A. Adande (3:24 PM)
How 'bout a potential Utah-Dallas series in the second round? D-Will vs. his childhood hero, Jason Kidd?
Scott (San Antonio)
Everyone's counting out Tim Duncan and the Spurs? I think it's gonna come back to bite them. Your thoughts?
J.A. Adande (3:25 PM)
It's not about Duncan. It's about Ginobili and Parker. If Parker's back they're a nightmare matchup -- especially for the Lakers. But maybe, like Boston, we won't see San Antonio's core at full strength in the playoffs again
LA Fever (LaLa Land, CA)
What up Adande! You're the man buddy. Much LA love. But I have to say......their PG situation is awful....Fisher is just a motivational speaker now, and Farmar is god awful on defense and decision-making (he's actually more of a 2 if that makes sense)....Who should we get next year and please tell me the dynamic duo of Vujacic and Farmar won't be in Laker jerseys next year.
J.A. Adande (3:26 PM)
Nothing to criticize or add to that post, other than to say I love the description of Fisher as a "motivational speaker".
Did you read Windhorst's article about LeBron's impending free agency? A close friend of LeBron's is employed by the Cavs. Do you think employing a star's enterouage is a good way to circumvent the cap or would the salaries be too small to have any significance?
J.A. Adande (3:29 PM)
I've never thought of it as cap circumvention and the league never cracked down on it, so apparently it didn't either. Interesting concept. Good lawyer debate. But it's been going on for a long time, not just with LeBron. Shaq's guy Jerome has been added to the staff everywhere Shaq goes. Kobe had his trainer on the Laker staff for a while. Stars get special treatment -- and payroll additions.
Is Mello a champion? I see the skills but not the character, or heart, or determination.
J.A. Adande (3:30 PM)
He had enough of those traits to win one in college. I think it translates. He contributed to a gold medal team in Beijing, even if he wasn't doing the heaviest lifting. He's got what it takes.
thoughts on the soon-to-be Nets owner interview on 60 minutes?
J.A. Adande (3:32 PM)
Great piece, great access. As I watched it, especially, the part in the club, it made me think Prokhorov is less like another Mark Cuban and more like a Russian version of the young Jerry Buss. I could definitely see Prokhorov hanging with his players in NY hotspots the way Buss and Magic used to hang at the Playboy Mansion
When will David Stern start treating NBA players more like his employees, and less like his money-makers? I'm referring specifically to weapons/violence-related crimes. Why are these players simply fined/suspended and not "fired" (a.k.a. banned from basketball)?
J.A. Adande (3:35 PM)
For one thing the players aren't Stern's employees. They work for the owners, and technically so does Stern. Seocnd, the terms of these players' contracts are governed by the collective bargaining agreement, and the language is structured in a manner that terminating/voidiing the contract in this case isn't that easy. I find it interesting that the same people who wanted Gilbert Arenas jailed because he of a technicality (he wasn't supposed to have the guns in DC, even if they weren't loaded and he wasn't using them in a robbery) can't accept that he hasn't lost his job because of a technicality. It works both ways
Brett D'Alessandro (Montana)
People continually talk about the blazers and their core of young talented players. It seems to me they still lack a significant low post presence on the offensive end. Do you think a possible aldridge plus another piece for bosh would fill the void and place them in contention for a title immediately
J.A. Adande (3:37 PM)
That is Portland's No. 1 weakness. But how many title contenders has Bosh been on?
Ray (Cypress, CA)
You recently defended Gilbert Arenas.. What is your position on the fact that Delonte West is still playing when he was caught driving with several loaded weapons??
J.A. Adande (3:39 PM)
My position is the same one David Stern usually takes: there hasn't been a legal resolution to the case yet. Stern would have waited to act on Gilbert if Gilbert had shown better behavior in the aftermath.
J.A. Adande (3:39 PM)
And for the record, I didn't defend Gilbert, I just didn't have a problem with the judge's light sentence. There's a difference.
Any chance Bron doesn't come to the Knicks? Seems to be the obvious move at this stage in his career.
J.A. Adande (3:40 PM)
No, no chance at all. (the state of Ohio can now resume functioning again)
Adande, I think you missed the point with the earlier LeBron question. The problem we Cle fans have with your opinion is you're implying that he doesnt want to stay in cleveland and winning a 'ship will give him the perfect gult-free way of bolting. If anything, most evidence points to him wanting to stay and leaving only b/c he feels frustrated that Cle can't land him a "Pippen." That's why your stance makes no sense and irks us "paranoid" Cleveland fans.
J.A. Adande (3:44 PM)
I never said he doesn't want to stay in Cleveland. I honestly don't know what he wants most of all, and no one can say that they do. But if he wins this year I think his options are greater. I'd like to see him win so we won't have to here "But he's never won." I'd like to see him get to make an important decision on his own basis. How would you feel if you were about to make an important career and lifestyle decision and all kinds of people were telling you what you "had" to do...when they weren't the ones who had to live with the consequences.
George Oceans (Vancouver)
What is the best case scenario for the suns? Do you think amare will stay?
J.A. Adande (3:48 PM)
This could be a "Major League" scenario, where the team's success could be messing things up for ownership. What if it's enough of a tease to splurge on Amare's return. Then you're locked into him while Nash and HIll are getting older and the core group couldn't get to the Finals even when it was at its peak. Phoenix is one of my favorite teams to watch and has one of the best group of guys out there...but given Robert Sarver's financial concerns I don't see this group together much longer. In other words, see ya, STAT
Andrew (Washington, D.C.)
Do you think changing the name back to the Bullets would spell a return to the playoffs for Washington? Or just an increase in violent crimes (and a concurrent decrease in magic-wand related mischief) in the district?
J.A. Adande (3:51 PM)
Maybe Washington's team should change its nickname to the Nets, which seems to promote peace. The Nets announced they were moving to Newark and the city just celebrated its first murder-free month in 40 years. Coincidence? I doubt it.http://blog.nj.com/njv_joan_whitlow/2010/04/newarks_murder-free_month_is_w.html
man, i feel bad for clevelanders. i've never seent his level of paranoia about something someone has no control over. i've spent lots of time in cleveland and i can see why someone like lebron may want to go somewhere a little, shall we say, more interesting. let me point this out to you ohioans: from the outside looking in, you cleveland fans "oh woe is us" attitude is more tired then hearing about lebrons possible desination.....
J.A. Adande (3:52 PM)
question for you Andy: Are Las Vegans paranoid that it doesn't look like Tiger will be coming to hang in their city in the near future?
I don't see any player(s) that the Jazz could trade for that would make them any better but at the same time they are still a long shot in my eyes to win it all. Is this not the worst possible position to be in as a team and as a fan?
J.A. Adande (3:54 PM)
No, the worst places to be are the 7-8th seeds, or the first team outside of the playoffs, with a minute chance of winning the lottery.Utah might not have the best chance, but they have a chance. There's a great point guard in Deron Williams. Good spot. For now. (But if Boozer leaves....
as a pistons fan, i've said for a LONG time that John Hammond is a bigger reason for the success then Joey Dumars--and now with Milwaukee thriving and the Pistons writhing, it seems that that is a completely true statement.
J.A. Adande (3:58 PM)
I'll say this: when they were going to the Finals in back-to-back years the players were saying how much they wanted to produce for Dumars because he believed in them. That counts for something. But if he keeps bringing in guys and they aren't capable of producing, then he's gotta pay the price.
Mo (Detroit MI)
So ESPN's Star Player X stated that CP3 goes off on expletive-filled tirades against refs. You've spent a lot of time in those courtside reporter's seats. Whats the funniest exchange you've heard between a player and a ref.
J.A. Adande (4:00 PM)
Two funniest exchanges I heard were actually with fans. First was a Cleveland fan making fun of Phil Jackson's Lurch-like walk: "Hey Phil, next time leave the coat hanger in the hotel room closet." Phil turned around and said, "That's a good one."Next was Rod Strickland to a heckler in Sacramento: "Ahh shut up, ya fat b-------d"
J.A. Adande (4:02 PM)
There's a legendary exchange that I've never been able to determine the origin of. I heard it attributed to Jim Lynam, but he claimed he never said it...wished he did though.Coach: "Can you give me a tech for what I'm thinking."Ref: "No."Coach: "Good, Cause I think that was a b------t call."Ref: [Blows whistle, calls technical]
Vlad (New York)
Dynamic potential playoff series, quality NBA draft, and of course the upcoming free agent class. Odds next few months some of the most important in NBA history?
J.A. Adande (4:06 PM)
Whoa. It's big for right now, but not bigger than Magic and Bird coming into the league fresh off their NCAA championship game. Or Jerry West and Oscar Robertson coming into the league off their Olympic gold medal. Or the biggest of all: Michael Jordan and Akeem (as he spelled it then) and Barkley, etc. entering the league right after Magic and Bird squared off in the Finals.
J.A. Adande (4:08 PM)
That's a rap for this week. See ya next time. Thanks for all of your questions.