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December 26, 11:06 AM ET
Chat with Marc Stein

  (5:14 PM)

Marc Stein will stop by at 5:30 p.m. ET to chat!

Marc Stein
  (5:30 PM)

Hello there.

Marc Stein
  (5:31 PM)

Travel has taken me out of the Chatland rotation for the last couple weeks, so I imagine you have a lot on your mind.

Troy (Portland)

As a Blazer fan who is very proud of the direction that the team is heading, I'm completely embarrassed by the threatening email sent out by our president. What can Portland do to recover from this PR nightmare? Fire Larry Miller??

Marc Stein
  (5:34 PM)

Can't imagine that e-mail was sent out without an ownership directive. So I can't see Miller getting all the blame. People have short memories in the NBA. The focus will be back on the floor eventually.

Joe (Portland)

How long (games, weeks, seasons) does Darius Miles play in the NBA?

Marc Stein
  (5:36 PM)

I say seasons. Which is why I never, ever understood how anyone could rule that Miles, at 27, was finished. He wanted to keep trying to play . . . and we've seen that microfracture patients often need two years just to close to where they were. Maybe Miles will really never be able to play more than 10 minutes a game. But maybe he needs three or four years to get back to a decent level as opposed to a year-plus for Kenyon Martin and the five minutes or so that it took Amare Stoudemire.

Marc Stein
  (5:39 PM)

In short, when you get past all the rhetoric and potential legal battles that might be waged over Milesgate in the future, I don't think the cap relief that Portland just lost was cap relief Portland was ever entitled to. Miles can still play a little. He's done enough in his five-minute cameos with the Grizz to show us that he's still an NBA player.

Nina - Memphis

Any truth to the Mike Conley to the Bucks trade rumors?

Marc Stein
  (5:40 PM)

Definitely being discussed. Of course, now that the world knows Conley is in play, who knows if the Grizz will get an offer they like better.

Tyrell (Dallas)

Please tell me that that Dallas Charlotte deal will happen. Felton provides the quick pg the Mavs need to stay competitive in the West.

Marc Stein
  (5:43 PM)

Sorry, Tyrell. At this moment, it's "dormant" as we wrote last night. Since Friday, when this scenario first started making the rounds, I've also been told "pretty much dead" on multiple occasions. But "dead" deals in the NBA have been known to come back to life. So I will not be surprised in the least if this thing gets resurrected, because it got far enough for three teams to put all the pieces in place. But I repeat what I said about the Conley thing. If there's anyone out there who, say, wanted Stackhouse's expiring contract in a deal, now that they know that the Mavs were close on something, new scenarios might be offered.

Nick (Cleveland)

Any substance to the idea that Marcus Camby could go to the Cavs for Wally Szczerbiak and a first-rounder? He would be the perfect fit in Cleveland.

Marc Stein
  (5:46 PM)

There's substance only from the perspective that this would be the only kind of deal that the Clips would accept for Camby. Taking back a contract shorter than Camby's incentives-laden deal, in other words. He's got the most cap-friendly contract of any of the big names in Clipperland and Donald Sterling is not in the mood to add any more money to the payroll after his (relatively) open checkbook of the past few years failed to prevent the Clips from winding up in a race to avoid this season?s worst record. If a deal like this ever did go down, though, it would be a total steal for the Cavs. A dream. Which is probably why we shouldn't even be addressing it. How valuable is a future first from the Cavs going to be? That pick and Wally's expiring contract isn't nearly enough for Camby.

Andy (Las Vegas)

Tell Nick that Camby fits even MORE perfectly in Detroit . . . and can be traded for Rip Hamilton, who would fit in nicely with Baron in LA.

Marc Stein
  (5:48 PM)

We repeat: Donald Sterling is not going to take back a deal longer than Camby's. Rip just signed an extension.

Mike (Chicago)

Will a Noce and Hughes for JO deal get done?

Marc Stein
  (5:51 PM)

The Raps definitely like Nocioni. Just don't think they know yet that they're 100 percent positive that it's time to end the Bosh/O'Neal experiment. The Raps know the issues. Both of those guys like to hang onto the ball longer than the Raps envisioned. The high-post/low-post thing hasn't panned out as planned. But I think they want to give themselves every chance to see if they can upgrade on the wing without breaking up the two bigs so soon.

John (Cleveland, OH)

Any word on the Joe Smith saga down in OK City? I know he claimed that he would love to come back to the Cavaliers, what are the odds that he'll get bought out?

Marc Stein
  (5:52 PM)

There will only be a buyout if the trade deadline comes and goes and Smith is still in OKC. And if it gets to that point, Boston would be a massive favorite to get Smith. He and KG remain close from their time together in 'Sota.

Stern (Laguna Beach)

Did you catch the Lakers/Heat game last night? Is is just me or did Horry sound like he was planning to sign with LA? Good fit?

Marc Stein
  (5:56 PM)

Don't know what he said on TV, if anything, but I've spoken to Big Shot Rob twice since the season started -- and as recently as last week -- and he keeps saying he's talking to no one about coming back. I'd love to see him make a comeback. With apologies to our friends in Phoenix, Horry has been very good to us NBA storytellers over the years. But he keeps shooting the idea down.

Neil (Agoura Hills, CA)

"If it did go down, though, it would be a total steal for the Cavs. A dream. How good is a future first from the Cavs going to be?" Probably a whole lot better then the nothing the Clippers gave up to get Camby in the first place.

Marc Stein
  (5:57 PM)

I take it from your tone that you are a Clippers fan. If so, you're telling me that you are OK with them giving away Camby for a low first? That's a good basketball decision?

Chris (orlando)

Good to see the Magic finally land at 2 in your power rankings. What do you think's been the difference this year for them?

Marc Stein
  (6:00 PM)

Dwight's better . . . they keep making 3s that us know-it-alls say they shouldn't be taking . . . and Jameer has taken a step few anticipated. And Stan Van, well, let's just say that the Billy Donovan "disaster" couldn't have worked out much better.

Mike C (Chino Hills, CA)

I totally understand Cleveland on top of LA, but Orlando too? Your argument about downgrading Lakers due to their injury problems don't make sense because they are continuing to win DESPITE those injuries.

Marc Stein
  (6:04 PM)

Orlando made it happen with that win in San Antonio on Sunday. Those two wins over Atlanta were impressive enough -- and Orlando is missing a starter right now, if memory serves -- but then going to San Antonio and completing a season sweep of the Spurs. It was automatic.

fisherking (san jose, ca)

Mr Stein, I have no problems with the Lakers dropping (the past 3 games they've played terrible). But how come the C's are still #4? Yeah the games were on the road, but they lost to the Warriors, Knicks,and Bobcats.

Marc Stein
  (6:06 PM)

Big picture. Always a factor with the committee (of one).

Damon (Socorro, NM)

How will the Jazz do without Boozer? Do you think Milsap can continue to dominate like he's been doing?

Marc Stein
  (6:10 PM)

At home, they're still a nightmare. I was in the former Delta Center on Wednesday night for the first time since the 2006 West finals and was quickly reacquainted with how tough they are there. Realistically, though, Utah isn't going to have home-court for more than one round in the playoffs. If that.

Mo Williams (Cleveland)

I'm closer friends with Joe Smith than Garnett, If he gets bought out. You can pretty much consider Cleveland his destination.

Marc Stein
  (6:11 PM)

OK, Mo. Further evidence why you're the most influential offseason acquisition in the NBA.

Andy (Denver)

Do you have a gift shop where I can get a "committee (of one)" t-shirt?

Marc Stein
  (6:12 PM)

They were in the works 'til this tough economy hit.

Kurt (PHX)

I know your a NBA guy but I wanted to hear it from you...Does my Cardnials have a shot at the Super Bowl?

Marc Stein
  (6:15 PM)

No you don't. I couldn't name three players on the Cards.

Adam (Portland)

It was just a couple years ago that the east couldn't crack the top eight in many power rankings, now 3 of the top 4? What's happened? Granted the east isn't as deep as the west, but still....

Marc Stein
  (6:17 PM)

You nailed it. The top of the East has improved significantly with the threesome of Cleveland, Orlando and Boston looking so good. And the West is still a nightmare where you better win 50 if you want to make sure you're in the playoffs.

Keith (OKC)

What is the Thunder's best case scenario for a trade(s) given all their bargaining chips and teams that seem to be interested? More specifically is it stockpiling of assets still or are they in a position to get someone of note that can help long term?

Marc Stein
  (6:20 PM)

The best case scenario -- and this is PURELY hypothetical, I'm just picking a name out of the sky -- is that the Thunder will have all these picks and all this cap space in the summer when a team like, say, New Jersey decides it's better to move a top producer with a big contract like Vince Carter. If offers like that materialize in the future, OKC will be able to pound. And I think the Thunder realistically understands that it's going to be a trade that lands them the marquee veteran to put with all those kids, but OKC just isn't likely to be a free-agent destination no matter how many cap room they've got.

Jason (Cleveland)

Steiny Mo: Have any of your sources brought up this Camby deal? You MUST elaborate before you send the entire city into an uproar.

Marc Stein
  (6:23 PM)

Sorry. I was purely responding to a chat-room hypothetical. (Later learned that this scenario was tossed out in one of the Cleveland papers recently). So I don't want to suggest that this Camby-to-Cleveland idea is in any way live. One source who would know described it to me as a "fan fantasy." I should also say that while such a scenario is indicative of the KIND of move that the Cavs have the capability of making with Wally's expiring contract -- IF they decide to mess with their good chemistry -- most observers still expect them to make a trade before the deadline only if they can get a big-timer from the Vince Carter/Michael Redd class. They wanted another big man even before losing Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but there's also a feeling in Cavsland that they're deep enough to survive injuries to Big Z and Delonte West as long as they stay in the one-month to six-week range.

Dave Fullerton

Marc i know you hate the lakers, because you try to bash them any way you can, and you did it again this week by puttin them third, i know your a dallas guy and the lakers have embarrased destryoed them the last 5-6 times they have played and also ruined that franchise because of the JKIDD trade which was a kneejerk reaction to the pau gasol trade, and they way that shaq has been playing, that trade even looks worse.

Marc Stein
  (6:27 PM)

Dave: If you're really from Fullerton, then you'd know that I'm a FULLERTON GUY more than anything. I'm an Orange County guy. The deeper L.A. goes in the playoffs means more trips home for me. I have no reason to hate the Lakers. There are some weeks where the Lakers are not No. 1 or No. 2 because, well, someone else deserves those spots.

Kevin (L.A.)

Travel? Is that what you call not wanting to hear about Citehs 3-0 loss to Nottingham Forest?

Marc Stein
  (6:28 PM)

I'd talk about City all day if they let me, King Kev. Even an FA Cup debacle. I've been on the move the past two Mondays. For real.

Jeremy (Boston)

Are you in a better mood today than you were for the end of Simmons' podcast?

Marc Stein
  (6:30 PM)

Glad you asked, Jeremy. I have received a handful of e-mails about this, as has Simmons (to his delight).

Marc Stein
  (6:30 PM)

The real story?

Marc Stein
  (6:31 PM)

Flat-out choked. Could NOT come up with anecdote that met his criteria . . . something that I hadn't reported yet that I had the license to reveal. Of course, within seconds of my choke job, I thought of five great things I saw at the D-League that I could have used.

Marc Stein
  (6:31 PM)

Let's just say that my attempt to spin me way out of a choke didn't go over too well.

Marc Stein
  (6:33 PM)

Apologies to all who were angered by that rare misstep. I'd like to think that I didn't disappoint you too much during the first 69 minutes of the podcast.

Marc Stein
  (6:34 PM)

And if you want more of them, tell him. He's always spending so much time talking about that American football nonsense.

Marc Stein
  (6:35 PM)

Thanks for all the questions and we will reconvene next Monday.