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October 31, 12:26 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

  (3:14 PM)

Hey gang, I just heard from John. He's finishing up some stuff on the big Iverson trade. He'll be here shortly!

John Hollinger
  (3:23 PM)

Greetings all, sorry I'm late but I was finishing up some work on the trade. I'm actually in Orlando, where I'm gonna get my first look at Derrick Rose tonight. I'll stay late to make up for lost time; let's get to work.

Tim (Denver)

McDyess would be a great backup for Nene when he is either injured or in foul trouble. What do you expect the Nuggets to do with Antonio McDyess?

John Hollinger
  (3:23 PM)

Keep him for all the reasons you said. Getting McDyess and Billups is also a great way for the Nuggets to reconnect with their fans -- both are very popular in the Rockies given their past tenures there.

Chris, Detroit

John, Who is going to pick up McDyess?

John Hollinger
  (3:26 PM)

Not sure how that will all resolve itself, to follow up on the previous question, but based on history the player usually relents and goes where he's been traded.


Does Rip Hamilton have the skills to play SF so Iverson and Stuckey can play in the same backcourt?

John Hollinger
  (3:26 PM)

I think you'll see that look from time to time, but this is a deal that begs for a second deal to follow it up. I have to wonder if Hamilton isn't the next domino to fall here.

Josh (Detroit)

Can AI really fit in with the team-first, blue collar, defensive mentality that has defined the pistons for the past 5 years?

John Hollinger
  (3:28 PM)

Here's the thing: I'm not sure Dumars is that worried about it. He's looking bigger picture, at getting way under the cap in '09 and '10. It's pretty brave what he's doing, -- he's essentially rebuilding before he needs to, in anticipation of impending decline.

Lee (Los Angeles)

John, bottom line...does this deal help or hurt the Nuggets? Thanks

John Hollinger
  (3:29 PM)

I wrote this in the column I was busily writing while you were all sitting around waiting for me, which should be up soon -- this is a GREAT deal for the Nuggets, it's hard to find a single thing to point to as a negative.

JP (New York)

Can we assume a slight jump across the board in Billups' numbers? Now he can do some running.

John Hollinger
  (3:29 PM)

Not only from increased pace, but from the likelihood of playing more minutes than the low 30s he was averaging in Detroit. If you're a fantasy player, Billups' value just went way up.

Doug (Cincinnati)

Iverson and Rasheed on the same team? Yikes!

John Hollinger
  (3:30 PM)

Between AI, Sheed and Hamilton, the Pistons are a mortal lock to lead the league in technical fouls.


If the trade is approved, what are the chances AI plays in Charlotte tonight? And does Billups play for Denver on Wed night? Also, does JR Smith benefit from this trade? thanks!!

John Hollinger
  (3:32 PM)

None -- players on BOTH sides have to pass physicals, although it 's possible they'll waive that requirement in McDyess's case. Normally this takes a day or two, so there's no chance AI plays in Charlotte tonight, no matter how fast his plane goes. Presumably Stuckey starts. As for J.R. Smith, yes, he benefits hugely. Not sure if they'll start him or keep him as Sixth Man, but he should see increases in minutes and shots. Kleiza will get a little more burn too. Big loser in terms of PT will be Anthony Carter.

ruru (Tempe)

Where does this put the Nuggets in the West?

John Hollinger
  (3:33 PM)

I think this is going to cost somebody a playoff spot. The presumption before the season was that Denver wasn't a playoff team; I think after this deal they almost certainly are, probably in the 5-6 area in the West. So there's a good chance it will cost somebody like Portland or Phoenix a playoff spot.

John Hollinger
  (3:34 PM)

On a side note, this also deals a crushing blow to my East-will-have-a-better-record prediction.

Joe (Charlotte, NC)

Regarding the Suns, at times they show flashes of brilliance on Defense and other times, they show that they're still learning. Do you think this team can be a force?

John Hollinger
  (3:35 PM)

I saw the Hornets game and I was not impressed at all. Their best defender, Bell, has lost a lot the past couple years, and nobody else has really stepped up. Who's the defensive force over there who will allow them to have that identity? I just don't see it.

Josh Grand Rapids Michigan

John with Iverson's contract expiring after this year. What do you see the Pistons doing in the upcoming free agent market as well as 2010. Who do you see them pursuing??

John Hollinger
  (3:38 PM)

Well, the first option has to be Kobe, but I doubt Dumars made this deal thinking that was a realistic possibility. But there are some other potentially interesting players out there in 2009 also, depending on who opts out and how their seasons turn out. But I do believe Dumars will use the $$$ in '09 and not '10. And forget about LeBron -- the Global Icon isn't leaving Cleveland just to play in Detroit for less money.

Mike (MD)

Are we going to see some more Sessions in the future, or does Skiles want to continue his losing ways with Ridnour?

John Hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

Bucks have stated they'd rather go back to losing with Ridnour for the time being. Maybe a few more games will slap some sense into them.

Mike, Dallas, tx

For the Pistons, is this all about the future cap mgt or do you think Dumars likes his chances with AI this year?

John Hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

Future cap is mostly what it's about, though I'm sure he's not upset about shaking things up around a team that had grown a bit complacent.

Bobby (Detroit)

Is Stuckey supposed to be a point guard now?

John Hollinger
  (3:43 PM)

I imagine Stuckey and AI will share the position, with each taking turns initiating the offense.


What do you think of Josh Smith and Al Horford so far in Atlanta? Smith is amazing in fantasy, but is he really that good in real life?

John Hollinger
  (3:44 PM)

Smith has been a lot more consistent with his effort and focus in the first two games ... we'll see if it holds up over the final 80. That's been the key so far for ATL -- they didn't defend well after the Bibby trade last year.

Tex (L.A.)

With the exception of Saturday's game, Jordan Farmar has looked great thus far. What are your expectations for him this year and will he nab the starting spot from Fisher any time soon?

John Hollinger
  (3:45 PM)

I am very high on Farmar and I think on a worse team he'd already be starting ahead of Fisher. But L.A. has looked so good so far that they have no reason to rock the boat.

Remy, Denver, CO

With Chauncey's price tag half that of AI's, and the 10 million trade exception still floating from moving Camby, do you see the Nuggets making another big deal and what would they be looking for?

John Hollinger
  (3:47 PM)

Quick note on that trade exception: Denver essentially renewed it, constructing the deal so that they used the Camby exception but got a new one worth $9.79 million out of this trade. The benefit is that they have until November to use it -- the previous one expired in mid-July. So with time on their side, I don't think they'll use the exception unless they find themselves 15 games over .500 in February.

Bryan Colangelo, Toronto

What is your early assesment of the O'Neal / Bosh combo? Any amendments to be made to your Raptor forecast?

John Hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

Raps are about what I expected -- Bosh is unbelievable, O'Neal is strong on D and shaky on O, Calderon is rock-steady, and the wings don't do jack. They'll be in the top six in the East, maybe as high as third if everything breaks right but more likely fifth or sixth.

Bobby (Detroit)

Will OKC GM Sam Presti be able to turn the expiring contracts of Wilcox, Smith, and Mason all into draft picks?

John Hollinger
  (3:49 PM)

He has a great shot of doing so with Smith, a veteran with reasonable contract $$ who is the type of player playoff teams covet. Not sure his odds are as good with Wilcox (too big a cap figure) and Mason (too little production).

Steve Kerr, Phoenix

Are you kidding me John? Cost Phoenix a playoff spot? Have the 2-1 Suns not shown you that the Shaq trade still might pan out and the Suns will be well above the 8th seed?

John Hollinger
  (3:52 PM)

Depends a lot on whether Shaq plays 75 games or 45, doesn't it? Not to mention I haven't exactly been in awe of the Suns thus far.

Sandy (Charlottesville, VA)

What has to change in Miami? Or is this a throwaway year waiting for Beasley to mature and a top 5 draft pick?

John Hollinger
  (3:52 PM)

I've been taken aback by how awful Miami has been on the defensive end -- I know they have some issues in terms of size and general talent but I thought they'd be a bit more buttoned down. So far they look like a lottery team.

Michael Beasley (Miami, FL)

Why is Derrick Rose scoring more than me? Is he gonna steal my ROY award?

John Hollinger
  (3:54 PM)

he might, he's off to a pretty good start. It helps that Chicago is giving him the keys and letting him go, trying to space everything out so he always has room. I'll know more after tonight, though -- pretty excited to see what he can do against a good team with a dominant shot-blocker.

Bonzi Wells (the moon)

Am I unemployable? Even Donyell Marshall found work this season. That hurts...

John Hollinger
  (3:55 PM)

Kind of odd -- you'd think somebody would have a use for Bonzi's offense off the bench. I don't know if he's asking for too much dough, or if teams simply don't think he's worth the trouble anymore.

John (Dallas)

Carlisle predictably has not settled on a starting lineup yet. Who do you think he'll assign to check Lebron out of the gates tonight?

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

I think Josh Howard gets first crack, but of course a player like that you defend with the whole roster -- and we may see a lot of zone.

Adam (Chicago)

Can I offically give up on Tyrus Thomas being a good offensive player in this league? He has looked brutal despite all the "improvements" he supposedly made in the offseason.

John Hollinger
  (3:58 PM)

He's done some really positive things (five blocks last game, 20 FTAs in three games), he just hasn't made any shots from the field. Could be a short-term fluke, so I wouldn't get too worked up just yet.

Jose Calderon, Toronto

Iverson robara mi posicion All-star?

John Hollinger
  (3:59 PM)

I don't know that it was your position to take, Jose, but if Iverson gets voted in by the fans as an Eastern starter you stand to be one of the people who might lose out on a spot (T.J. Ford, Michael Redd and Ray Allen would be some others).

Sam (Berkeley)

How about the Warriors? Looking more solid than many predicted, with some above-average Biedrins play.

John Hollinger
  (4:01 PM)

I had GST at 40-42, and that appears right about where they're headed. Trading Harrington for a PG would improve things quite a bit, however -- we'll see if that ends up being the second major deal of week 1. When has that ever happened before?

Dave (Dallas)

John, Why do you think this trade works out so well for th Nuggets?

John Hollinger
  (4:03 PM)

For lots and lots of reasons, but the biggest is that it reorients their talent much more effectively. Instead of two good shooting guards and zero good point guards, they now have one of each. Aside from that, there are about six ancillary reasons to like this trade for Denver, and not a single negative that I can find.

Jason (Utah)

With AI out of Denver, do you think that will curb some of the Denver "Thuggets" talk?

John Hollinger
  (4:04 PM)

I do believe this will help the Nuggies reconnect with their fans, who seemed a bit jaded when I was there for the L.A. series at the end of last year. Of course, watching your team get swept can have that effect. Still, Billups and Dice have deep roots there, so it should be helpful.

LaVall (Chicago)

Harrington for Hinrich?

John Hollinger
  (4:05 PM)

I see no obvious benefit to this for Chicago. They're already awash in half-good power forwards, do they really need another? A trade for Raymond Felton seems much more logical to me.

Eugene (sherman Oaks, CA)

I remember you being unable to find any negatives with the iverson-to-denver trade

John Hollinger
  (4:06 PM)

Only problem with that trade was that when it was over, San Antonio still had Tim Duncan.

Johnny (NYC)

Obviously Detroit is still a shoe-in for the playoffs, but how does this trade effect their championship aspirations?

John Hollinger
  (4:08 PM)

I think it takes a half-step backward. Billups to Iverson isn't that big a downgrade, and McDyess was replaceable given their other bigs, but I'm not sure the pieces fit quite as well. Though somebody in here made a good point a couple minute ago (sorry, lost your post): Detroit was basically a jump shooting team with no penetrators and no running game; AI adds a very different dimension.

citizen (world)

John, the downside for Denver...they'll be paying Billups big bucks when he's 35 and 36.

John Hollinger
  (4:09 PM)

It's a risk, but put it this way: If Billups were a free agent tomorrow, would you sign him for three years, $36 million? Of course you would. Add in his durability record, and that guards with his profile (big, good shooter) have tended to age very well, and it seems a very solid gamble.

Mark (Florida)

Get a haircut, hippie!

John Hollinger
  (4:10 PM)

Um ... not really sure how to respond to that one ...

Will (Denver)

John you never answered this part of a previous questions; will Billups play tomorrow on ESPN vs the Warriors do you think?

John Hollinger
  (4:11 PM)

Sorry -- I just don't know enough to know yet. It doesn't just depend on Billups -- Iverson has to pass the physical too.

Corn (field)

Billups last year is actually a team option. If they choose to decline, they can buy it out for $3M. Great contract.

John Hollinger
  (4:11 PM)

right -- I hadn't included that in my missive above. It's this year, next one and the one after that are guaranteed for a total of about $36M.

Michael (Denver)

Who do the Nuggets release with the trade?

John Hollinger
  (4:13 PM)

I've read that they cut Juwan Howard, but I believe they're under the limit and could bring him back if it really mattered to them.

Sam (Melbourne)

Are the Knicks destined to be distracted by the off court issues?

John Hollinger
  (4:15 PM)

The off court issues are all anyone is talking about, but are we really sure that's why they're losing? What, Mike D'Antoni was going to win 50 with the same roster that was horrible under Isiah? C'mon people -- they just aren't very good, that's the problem.

chris bosh, toronto

would my chances for mvp be better if i played in the states?

John Hollinger
  (4:19 PM)

That hasn't been a relevant issue prior to this season, but it might in '08-09. I've seen Toronto play twice and Bosh has been superb at both ends. I still think MVP is a longshot either way, but I think it's safe to say he'd have better odds if he was south of the border.

Tyler (Indiana)

How about my Pacers beating the Celtsby double digits. What do you think of their future? Who do they go after next year?

John Hollinger
  (4:21 PM)

Shameless plug department -- my thoughts on this exact topic are in today's "PER diem", my daily short takes on the NBA that we recently debuted on the sight. There's one longer item available to everyone and five shorter ones available for Insiders, and it runs every day around lunchtime-ish.

Wayne memphis

Memphis has played good, what do u think of Mayo....his first game was bad...the next 2 have been good...We also played the rockets good...down to the last 2 mins of the game

John Hollinger
  (4:22 PM)

Here's what I like from the Griz -- they're playing a lot better on D than they did last season. That was Iavaroni's challenge, and considering he started three rookies and a second-year player he's got an uphill battle. So far, so good.

jack (pasadena, texas)

what's wrong with the spurs??? their age sure caught up with them pretty darn quick.

John Hollinger
  (4:24 PM)

Here's what's wrong: Ginobili is injured. Until he comes back the Spurs are just trying to tread water. That they lost the first two, given the opponents and Manu's absence, isn't a huge surprise. If Manu returns and they're still struggling, then you may commence panicking.

Roanna (Hawaii)

Why didn't they make the trade in the offseason instead of beginning of the season? I think nuggets benefit from this trade. I'm not too sure about Detroit.

John Hollinger
  (4:25 PM)

I'm as puzzled as you are about the timing, I'm not sure which side had been the hold-up so I can't really answer why it took so long. My full story on the trade should be up on the site any minute, but I agree with your general sentiment.

Eric (Detroit, MI)

So looks like the Pistons are going to have some cap room to play with... I realize we aren't getting LeBron or Wade, but do you think we have a shot at Bosh, Amare or Joe Johnson?

John Hollinger
  (4:28 PM)

I think you're looking at the wrong summer. Dumars didn't make this trade so he could sit on his hands for two years waiting on cap space. He's gonna go after somebody this summer, whether via free agency or trade. Unless, that is, he can use Iverson as a chip to do it sooner -- I believe he's trade-eligible two weeks prior to the deadline.

John (OKC)

Thoughts on Russell Westbrook through 3 games? Is Jeff Green showing improvement this year?

John Hollinger
  (4:30 PM)

I haven't seen Westbrook yet but I had a scout tell me that he looked fantastic in the Minnesota game last night. As for Green, (shamless plug -- Per Diem readers already knew this), I'm not feeling it at all. Dude might be adequate on D, but I doubt he'll ever be much at the offensive end.

Billy (Baton Rouge)

The Hornets winning without Tyson Chandler and Peja has to be pretty scary for the rest of the league, correct?

John Hollinger
  (4:31 PM)

I'm surprised they were able to beat a good team fairly handily without those two, so that's a positive sign. Looks like they've manage to recycle Rasual Butler and get some decent minutes from him.

Walter (LA, CA)

Hollinger, what's up with Kevin Martin? His percentages are killing my fantasy team...I haven't watched his games, but he must be getting doubled every time. Can he still be the man in Sactown? Can he still play as well as he did in the past?

John Hollinger
  (4:33 PM)

It's unrealistic to expect his %s to stay as high (other than the FT%) when his shots are likely to go so much higher. Not sure it's a great tradeoff for fantasy purposes, but in real life he's just as good. But also, those first two games were outliers -- his FG% isn't going to dip so drastically over an 82-game season.

John Hollinger
  (4:34 PM)

Folks, that's all the time Have, but if you want me ton continue entertaining you, you can get all my thoughts on the trade here:

John Hollinger
  (4:34 PM)

thanks again for all the great questions, and we'll do this again next Monday at 3.