Chat with Ric Bucher
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN NBA reporter Ric Bucher stops by to give you his thoughts on the latest news from the court.
Bucher joined ESPN in January 1999 as a San Francisco-based senior writer covering professional basketball for ESPN The Magazine, and as an NBA reporter for SportsCenter and NBA Fastbreak. Bucher also contributes to ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Bucher Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Ric Bucher (1:07 PM)
Apologies for being late. Just got back from shootaround for Mavs-Spurs -- working the sideline tonight for our telecast. I'll make it up to you on the back end, I promise.
Cameron (Galesburg, IL)
Could you address some of what's going on with this prom-date rumor mill swirling about Carmelo, the Knicks don't want me, I don't want to go to the Knicks, and the Knicks saying, "We want you. Who said we never wanted you?"
Ric Bucher (1:13 PM)
Let's get this straight: Melo wants to go to the Knicks, or, more precisely, wants to be in New York. The Nets can offer that, but not until 2012, which seems like a long ways away for him. If they were there now, the Nets and Knicks would be on equal footing. Melo has been coy throughout this process and his comments about the Knicks not wanting him were just more of the same. Of course the Knicks want him -- but if they can get him this summer, rather than turning their season sideways and having to give up assets, they'd prefer to do that.
Ric Bucher (1:15 PM)
By the way, Cameron and something called a Cheesehead Sports Nut retire the award for most questions posted in the shortest amount of time. Not the same question over and over, but a variety. Congratulations. I just can't give you that much time in one chat, unless things really get slow. Which they might. Texas is so cold right now my taxi driver was wearing gloves and an eskimo suit. No joke.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
It seems like Kevin Love would be the perfect player for the Miami Heat. When the Miami Heat shipped Michael Beasley to the Minnesota Timberwolves was there any discussion of the Heat trying to add Kevin Love? Obviously Love is untouchable now but when the Heat and Timberwolves were putting together the Beasley trade do you think Love's name ever came up because Love had not completely broken out yet?
Ric Bucher (1:16 PM)
Love would be a perfect player for a lot of teams. No, the Heat never had a chance of getting him. Although there were some in the TWolves camp who would've much rather traded Love and kept Jefferson. I'm going to guess those people have lost a little bit of stature in the conference room.
Jason Hanson (Oregon)
Why dont we push for Carmelo?
Ric Bucher (1:19 PM)
I'll answer this for every team and fan that raises this question: because Melo doesn't want to play in your city or for your team. He wants to go to New York to play on the biggest stage possible. That's why the Clippers and the Blazers and the Mavericks and Rockets and anyone else you can name are not in the mix. Would they like to get him? Sure. Have they called? Almost all of them, yes. But that's due diligence, not legitimacy.Back to our regularly scheduled programming...
Higher ceiling, Speights or Hawes? who should Collins be starting?
Ric Bucher (1:21 PM)
Speights, without question. And I was, at one time, a Hawes guy.
Ric Bucher (1:22 PM)
Did someone say, "Rapid fire for 10 minutes?" Yes, I believe someone did.
Anything new on Iggy?
Ric Bucher (1:23 PM)
The last I'd heard is that Philly is standing pat because they think they can make the playoffs, as is. In the East, that's not an unreasonable supposition.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Team do you think that Carmelo Anthony will be traded to before the Trading Deadline?
Ric Bucher (1:24 PM)
I'm going to stay with New Jersey. The question is, will they do it without a signed extension in hand. I'm told Prokhorov is willing to make that gamble, confident he can charm Melo once he gets there.
Devin (Florida )
Did you read Bill Simmons stuff on Melo? Kinda paints the NBA as a pool of back door handshakes and money fanatics. Should agents be allowed to have 15 superstars on thier account.
Ric Bucher (1:25 PM)
That's not the NBA, that's the entertainment world.
Happy Friday Ric! I get the feeling that the Lakers are going to make a run at one of these big free agents in 2012: D. Williams, CP3, or Dwight. They need a face for the franchise after Kobe departs. What are the odds they land one?
Ric Bucher (1:28 PM)
Dwight is the most likely, because if all doesn't go just right in Orlando he's looking to follow Shaq's path - as he has with so many other things - to LA. If they're still playing the triangle then, CP3 really isn't the ideal fit.
Are you hearing any chatter about trades for any Cavs players? What I've seen so far this year is abysmal and I'm itching for them to start the rebuild now.
Ric Bucher (1:30 PM)
It's unfair to kill the Cavs or suggest their downfall this year is all LeBron not being there. They've been decimated by injuries and they were built much as Philly was around Iverson -- role players to accommodate one big star's freedom to play as he chose. I have confidence in their front office and Dan Gilbert's willingness to invest. They'll get past this.
Leroy (Dallas, TX)
good afternoon Mr Bucher. If the Bobcats are really trying to dump Wallace (considering the trade they looked at with Portland), do the Mavs really not have anything to entice them with? I think he would look great next to Dirk.
Ric Bucher (1:31 PM)
The guy Dallas explored getting is Stephen Jackson after Caron went down. They were told that Charlotte is standing pat and hoping to make the playoffs. Basically, the same script as Philly.
Do you know why Tiago Splitter isn't getting any playing time?
Ric Bucher (1:34 PM)
It's essentially this: the Spurs are playing faster and need as much athleticism next to Tim Duncan as they can find. Splitter isn't nearly as agile as DeJuan or as good attacking the offensive glass. They're not the old Spurs, winning with defense. They're more like the Suns than they've ever been -- and winning with it.
Ric Bucher (1:35 PM)
My question with them, as it is with the Heat, is how well does the style they're playing translate to winning in the postseason. Traditionally? Not as well as it kills in the regular season.
Cameron (Galesburg, IL)
Ric without a K I have a question. I was reading a Chris Broussard report on the latest with the possible Carmelo deal with the Knicks. It said the Knicks are confident than can get at least a first round draft pick for Anthony Randolph? What are they smoking and do I have to drive to Manhattan to get a hit?
Ric Bucher (1:36 PM)
Not all first-round picks are created equal. They probably can get a first-round pick for him. But I don't know that it would be a good one at this point -- or high enough to make it an attractive piece to Denver.
With the Melo mostlikely going to NJ at least for this season do you think the Knicks should try to put a deal together with Memphis and a third team to get Mayo and M. Gasol?
Ric Bucher (1:38 PM)
Why does everybody think the Grizzlies are willing to just give players away? Oh, that's right -- Pau Gasol. Never mind.To answer your question: yeah, they should. Will/can they? No.
Ric Bucher (1:39 PM)
Note to Sea Bass: sending the same question 40 times assures you I won't answer it, not the other way around.
Lebron James (Miami)
I felt like I was playing for the Cavs again last night. My team can't win without me.
D-Wade's MVP HYPE TRAIN (Miami)
Isn't it about time to slow down. Bron misses one game and they lose by 500 points...
With the HUGE loss Thursday night. Isn't it safe to finally end the "D-Wade for MVP" talk? Bron is leading the team in pts, rebs and assists.
Ric Bucher (1:43 PM)
Wow. Perhaps we should consider two things: one, they lost to the Clippers with LeBron. Two, two nights off in LA has killed more than a few winning streaks over the years. Three, the Heat, in the Clips and Nuggets, played two teams who are at their best playing the exact same style as Miami and have the athletes to do it -- a frenetic style. I could come up with about four more reasons, but I believe that's enough to chew on for now.
Ric Bucher (1:44 PM)
If Rip isn't motivated in Detroit, I can only imagine what he'd be giving a team going nowhere like the Kings. Certainly the Pistons would do that deal in a heartbeat. Geoff Petrie would be serving sushi at Tabu if he made that deal.
It baffles me sometimes as how Owners evaluate talent. Mike Conley, Darko, Brendan Haywood, Travis Outlaw and the list goes on and on. Why are owners so quick to sign role players to big contracts?
Ric Bucher (1:47 PM)
Different reasons for all those guys. Darko and Haywood: teams are terrified that they won't have someone to play center with the dearth of big men. Happens all the time. Outlaw: Nets, after clearing so much cap space, had to get above the minimum salary line. Farmar, Petro and Outlaw were the biggest beneficiaries. Conley: still not sure on that one. I don't know who Memphis was competing with that they had to load him up like that. When I find out, I'll let you know.
Quick without looking, who are the two teams tied for 3rd in the East? Yeah, the Hawks are one of them. And as a reminder, they won 53 last year (celtics won 51). Thoughts on the most consistently overlooked team in the nba?
Ric Bucher (1:49 PM)
Always love it when the answer is provided with the question. To your point: no, they're not overlooked. They've proved themselves regular-season wonders too many times for anybody to get excited about them. I will say this: I do think they're a better team this year. Larry Drew has done a nice job and it appears some of their younger players have matured. But they need to show mental toughness and focus in the playoffs to prove that.
mike (lala land)
Ric- do you see Kobe playing 6-7 more years and breaking Kareem's alltime NBA scoring record of 38K points? he's going to pass MJ for 3rd no doubt, mailman and kareem somewhat in question, but my money's on Kobe to be #1 in 7 years. He lives for basketball
Ric Bucher (1:51 PM)
He does live for basketball and it's hard to imagine what he would do without it. But 6-7 years? I'll be amazed if he gets to 35. There are only so many NBA minutes in a body and he's already coming close to rolling the odometer.
mike (lala land)
Isn't Kobe supposedly slowing down? that's what the haters keep saying. Look at the numbers, they say otherwise 14 yr career 25/5/5 45% shooting 83% at the line this year 25/5/5 45% shooting 83% at the line THE EXACT SAME RIC except he's playing 33 min/game instead of 36 so they are actually BETTER he's top 5 in my book after mj, russell, kareem and magic, your thoughts?
Ric Bucher (1:55 PM)
It's not being a hater, which might just be the most tired phrase in the English language. Ever. You just showed why basic stats are meaningless in gauging where a player is and what he is doing. Kobe has clearly slowed down. He's still clever enough to be efficient and effective, but he's relying on his teammates more than ever and playing with his back to the basket, backing guys down rather than taking them off the dribble. That has a profound impact on everyone around him. How much is he getting to the line? Where is he scoring from? How is that scoring opening up space for his teammates? All that has changed.
Hey Ric. Long time follower. I was just curious what you thought about where the Bulls are heading coming up here at the deadline. Do you think it is wise for them to trade for a BonaFide starter like a Mayo or Lee or Afflalo if it means giving up Taj or do you think they should maybe bring up a Trey Johnson from D-league who by the way had a monstrous game the other night. Orrr will they just stand pat this season and see where it takes them?
Ric Bucher (1:58 PM)
They would love to upgrade and are exploring options, but I don't see them doing anything. Did some research on Mayo -- astounded by how far his stock has fallen. He's made himself persona non grata in Memphis for not feeding the post and looking for his own shot way too much. Don't see how you'd want either of those elements in Chicago.
Ric! I love your chats! Anyway, with the All Star game almost here, several top teams seem to have too many candidates... who 'should' get the nods on Lakers, Celtics, Spurs?
Ric Bucher (2:00 PM)
Manu Ginobili is the most deserving Spur. Lamar Odom, after Kobe, is the most deserving Laker. Rondo, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce all should make it. KG has simply missed too much time.
Mark (Spring Valley)
Is the Grizzlies/ knicks involvement true?
Ric Bucher (2:03 PM)
What I've been told is that the Nuggets are continuing to look around the league to see what the best possible deal they can make is. They're not in a hurry because they want to get this right -- this is a new regime and this is a turning point for the franchise. As one executive said to me: "Why would Memphis even consider that deal?" I'm sure New York has talked to the Grizzlies. I'm also sure they've talked to 20 other teams about trying to do something that would get them Melo.
you chat slow.
Ric Bucher (2:04 PM)
Not on the top of my game today, for sure.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
If the Knicks are giving up on Anthony Randolph, do you think San Antonio could get him? Couldn't Popovich figure out a way to utilize his talents?
Ric Bucher (2:05 PM)
Spurs require their players to do way too much without the ball and in an organized fashion for Randolph right now. Would've liked to have seen him if the Spurs had drafted him.
This off season, if Knicks add Mayo and Perkins they ware a contender - true or false?
Ric Bucher (2:08 PM)
False. I know I'm getting a rep for not liking the Knicks because I haven't been on the Amare and Felton are all-that bandwagon, but this is what I know about contending teams: their best players can dominate the game at both ends of the floor. Hasn't been a champion yet that didn't have its best two players capable of doing that, at the very minimum. Amare is not, and never has been, that kind of player. I love seeing the Knicks winning again. They play a fun style and I'm all for guys like Felton, Amare, Landry and Fields who have surprised people with what they can do. But taking that and then saying they're championship material -- I don't have the hops to make that kind of leap.
Ric Bucher (2:11 PM)
Wish I had more time and that I'd been faster. Didn't have any prep time because of my TV duties. Follow me on Twitter, @RicBucher, and I'll try to fire some tweets from behind the benches tonight at Mavs-Spurs -- and again, at Spurs-Knicks next Friday. Maybe I'll find some Knicks religion seeing them up close and personal.Til next Friday...
Ric Bucher (2:12 PM)
Make that Chandler and Fields. Then again, they are kind of the same guy. Thanks for the shoulder tap.