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January 26, 11:02 AM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (3:09 PM)

Greetings from Orlando everyone -- I'm here for tonight's Magic-Cavs game. Plenty to talk about, let's get started.

Brandon (Gainesville, FL)

What are your thoughts of Gallinari first couple games of action? I know its early, but despite looking quite rigid, he shows a great stroke, and good feel for the game.

John Hollinger
  (3:09 PM)

Pretty much sums up my impression as well. Gallinari's translated numbers from Europe were pretty good so I expect he'll be better than Tim Thomas almost immediately.

Daniel (Lawrence, KS)

As of today, the Timberwolves are going to have an enormous amount of cap room in 2010. Any chance they can land one or two quality players to play alongside Jefferson?

John Hollinger
  (3:12 PM)

Look, when it comes to cap space the NBA is a two-tiered system. The first tier is teams like Miami, LA and Phoenix who have great weather and lots of night life and can get a player in free agency even if another team offers just as much. Minnesota is pretty much at the other end of that spectrum, thanks to the frigid winters ... so you can't count on free agency unless you're willing to grossly overpay somebody. So a better option for Minny is to use that cap space in trades and try to build the team that way ... it's harder, but it can be done.

Johnny (Glendale)

Do you think Andrew Bynum should be suspended for the hit on Wallace. Clearly to me it looked like it was an accident.

John Hollinger
  (3:13 PM)

the NBA tends to make its rulings based on what happened afterward, which to me is completely upside-down, but based on what happened to Wallace I do expect a one-game suspension.

Geoff (DC)

What are your thoughts on the many guys playing minutes for the Wizards who we would not normally ever expect to see? Which of the players do you think are viable rotation options on a good team (which we hope to miraculously have next year) and which are playing their way out of the league?

John Hollinger
  (3:16 PM)

Blatche and McGee are the keepers. Young is a decent sixth man but still has a lot of rough edges that need sanding down. Can't think of anyone else I'd expect to still be there in two years

Bill (OH)

Seeing as to how Brad Miller is on the trading block, shouldn't he act a little more interested to boost his value? He seems to just not care...

John Hollinger
  (3:17 PM)

Of course he cares ... he cares so much that he spends every fifth possession glaring at the refs over some imaginary foul he thought happened rather than running back on defense.

Ryan Charlotte nc

John a one-game suspension would be light.One thing sure one-game suspension or not Andrew Bynum is not a welcome man in Charlotte nc

John Hollinger
  (3:18 PM)

I'm sure he'll be terrified when all 12 Bobcat fans gang up on him next time he visits.

Scott (Santa Barbara, CA)

The Clippers seem to be done making moves this year. Can a team of Baron, Gordon, Thornton, Randolph, Camby, Kaman, Jordan, along with a MLE, and a 1st rounder win next year?

John Hollinger
  (3:19 PM)

Well this year's draft isn't supposed to be a good one, so I don't know if the Clips will get much of a savior out of it. Certainly the team looks good on paper, especially if they can get a veteran wing and a backup PG .. but you have to question Dunleavy's ability to pull it off given his track record.

Collin (Syracuse)

Do you see the Bucks making a trade to fill Redds void, and do you still think that they can make the playoffs

John Hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

I think it's very important for them to make the playoffs, just to try to build back some fan support after a few tough seasons. I still think they can get there if Bogut comes back and doesn't miss any more time, but a trade is tough to see just because they don't have much in the way of assets -- about the only chip they have to play is Alexander, and it's not like he'll bring back a star.

Akim (Washington DC)

I bet Roger Mason would look good in a Wizards uniform right now, instead of watching Mike james chuck up 3 pointer after 3 pointer. What was Ernie thinking? Mason wasnt asking for much either.

John Hollinger
  (3:23 PM)

Unfortunately he'd already committed a full midlevel deal to Daniels and didn't want to be spending $10 million on his backcourt backups ... You can criticize a lot about Ernie but if Arenas had come back we would be spending zero time discussing Mason. The far greater crime was resigning Jamison and Arenas at big dollars when the Wiz had middling results with that core.

Jason (Dayton)

John, love the chats. #2 and #3 in your power rankings face off tonight. I assume you like the Magic at home?

John Hollinger
  (3:24 PM)

Less than I like almost any other team at home -- Orlando has been a strong road team and a weak home team under Stan. Be very interested to see how Pietrus does against LeBron, however.

Mideon, SF

Yo John! You are the best chatter in ESPN history...10 times better than that clown Simmons! Quick question: with Michael Redd out of the equation, who do you see the Cavs targeting with Wally's contract at the deadline? It seems like Redd would have been the best fit...do they make a run at someone like Vinsanity now?

John Hollinger
  (3:25 PM)

Flattery will get you everywhere. Unfortunately, I lose my fastball after an hour or so while Bill can seemingly go for half a day ... as far as your question, Redd was never in play so it doesn't alter the Cavs' plans much. Cavs are still in circling-shark mode hoping somebody crazy good becomes available, and so they'll bide their team with the Wally contract.

CAMERON SLC, UT

Tell me there's hope for the Jazz this year?

John Hollinger
  (3:27 PM)

Of course there is. But I saw just before this chat that AK is getting ankle surgery, so I'm not sure if he'll be back before April. I'll say this -- if I'm the Lakers, and Utah has Boozer and Kirilenko and all their other guys, they scare me more than other team in that conference.

Joe (Davis)

John, finish this sentence... "The worst possible thing the Warriors can do right now is..."

John Hollinger
  (3:28 PM)

allow Rowell to keep calling the shots.

Mark (Winston-Salem, NC)

John, I know that the college game isn't your specialty, but have you seen Wake Forest play much this year? Can't help but thinking that James Johnson is way under-rated -- he seems to have many of the best attributes of Marion and Pippen. What are your thoughts on his potential? Thanks!

John Hollinger
  (3:29 PM)

I talked to some scouts who have seen Wake and are high on all three guys -- Teague, Johnson and Aminu. I only saw a few minutes of the Duke game last night so I'm not really qualified to pontificate just yet, but let's just say I'll be watching these guys very closely in the tournament.

Mike (Portland, OR)

What do you think about Oden's recent play. (16-11) over the last 5 games, and he abused Okafor last night. If he keeps this up is he going to get some mention for ROY?

John Hollinger
  (3:30 PM)

Oden has stepped it up of late, which is great news for the Blazers, but ROY is so heavily dependent on minutes that I don't think he's going to surpass Mayo and Rose ... even though I think he's the best player of the three at the moment.

Reno (DC)

You don't expect Dominic McGuire to stick around with the Wiz? The guy can't score yet, but he does everything else very well.

John Hollinger
  (3:31 PM)

He has a future as a defense-and-energy guy off the bench, I'll agree, but that's about the extent of it for me.

mendel (fl)

the heat are currently 6 over .500 and have a favorable 2nd half schedule. if riley makes a move for a big and this team finished with 50+ wins how does wade not win the mvp?

John Hollinger
  (3:32 PM)

Agree that Wade has to be in the MVP discussion if they win 50+. Disagree that their schedule is favorable the rest of the way -- Playoff Odds have them closing 20-18 despite a pretty strong power ranking. As you say, Riles would probably have to make a move for a big for them to get 25 more wins.

Matt (Philadelphia, PA)

How about Maurice Speights not getting any love in the Rookie game even though he always seems near the lead in your rookie rankings in PER?

John Hollinger
  (3:34 PM)

I expected it, and I can at least understand it -- he hasn't played many minutes so you can argue he hasn't made the same impact as the others, even though per minute he's been more productive. Also, he has some problems on D that don't help his case.

Nick (NJ)

Would Utah go for Boozer/Brewer for VC? Nets could even throw in a 1st next year (they have 2).

John Hollinger
  (3:36 PM)

I'd love to see the Jazz try something like that, but the problem is going to be the luxury tax considerations that they'll hit in the offseason. I think they'd think about it a lot harder if they were second in the West rather than in their current position.

Jon (NY)

Who do you think will grab the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference

John Hollinger
  (3:37 PM)

I say Toronto. They look MUCH better with a healthy Calderon, and if they can get something for O'Neal that will give them another boost. Charlotte has a ton of road games and just lost Wallace, Indy has Granger's knee hurting, Milwaukee just lost Redd ... so Raps have the advantage right now.

Jeff (Ohio)

I'm sick of hearing all this Wade for MVP crap because he's on a crappy team that might win 50. LeBron did that 3 times with Cavs teams far worse than the current Heat team and has nothing to show for it. This is LeBron's time. He should have at least 2 MVP's; can't take this one away.

John Hollinger
  (3:38 PM)

To be fair, I argued for LeBron as MVP in both 2006 and 2008, so it would be perfectly consistent for me to consider Wade this season. As it is, LeBron is at the top of my ballot today ... but one can't deny that Wade has made himself a candidate.

Stu (Philly)

You were incredibly critical of Jeff Green last year and this offseason, has his play this year changed your tune on him?

John Hollinger
  (3:40 PM)

He's improved quite a bit, yes; I'd still rather have Thaddeus Young, but of the players most had rated at or near the No. 5 spot, he's been far better than the other choices (Yi, Brewer, Wright, Noah)

HT, Houston

John, how much chance do you give Lebron or Paul of breaking MJ's PER record this year?

John Hollinger
  (3:41 PM)

I think LeBron has a decent shot, much moreso than Paul. I'd put both of them well south of 50% though ... keeping up this kind of pace for another half-season is a pretty daunting obstacle.

Jeff Miami

Rockie and Sophomore selections should be similar to MVPs selections. Daequan Cook (playing defense shooting >42% 3pt and making over 100 3 pointers) and Mario Chalmers have had a higher impact in the W/L column that Brooks/Chandler/ etc

John Hollinger
  (3:42 PM)

Sorry, Cook had no business being on the sophs team. Well, he's been better than Aaron Brooks, so I shouldn't say no business ... but realistically he's about 12th to 15th on the list. Chalmers I feel bad for because any other year he would have been a shoo-in -- there were just too many quality rookies this year.

Jose ( Newyork)

what about the knicks being considered for an 8th seed.

John Hollinger
  (3:43 PM)

Knicks are in the mix, but that's mostly because everybody else has sunk to their level. Nothing Knicks have done tells me they're on anything except a 35-win trajectory, and I think the Raps will end up over 40.

Matt (PA)

So who are your predicted biggest All-Star snubs?

John Hollinger
  (3:45 PM)

Vince Carter. People just can't bring themselves to write down two names from an under .500 team, no matter how obvious it is that they're two of the best 12 players. Funny thing is that if the Nets were 23-23 instead of 20-26 nobody would have any problem doing it ... and the difference between those two records just isn't that great.

Zac (MN)

How about Kevin Love not making it?

John Hollinger
  (3:46 PM)

Egregious, embarrassing oversight by the league's assistant coaches. I think Thorpe might have nailed it yesterday, that they developed an impression of him in the opening weeks -- when he really wasn't playing well -- and then failed to adjust it once he started playing much better.

ryan(NJ)

I know you are a numbers guy, but I've watched the majority of all Heat games this year and on most nights, Cook is the second best player on team.

John Hollinger
  (3:47 PM)

Dwyane Wade would like to thank you for making his MVP argument more eloquently than he possible could have.

Jmerms (NYC)

Do you think David Lee should be a reserve on the All Star team?

John Hollinger
  (3:47 PM)

Absolutely not. He's been good, but not quite in the class of the East's top 12 (OK, top 11 and Allen Iverson). Even if you wanted a true center on the team, I'd take Okafor ahead of Lee.

Ryan(CA)

Alright forget this basketball stuff.... you do got in the Superbowl?

John Hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

As I said last week, I'd love to see Zona win but I think Pittsburgh crushes. Incidentally, a lot of folks flying with me today where wearing Pittsburgh regalia -- guess they found it cheaper to fly here and drive to Tampa.

Dixon (Salina, UT)

Do you think Paul Millsap should be a reserve on the All Star team?

John Hollinger
  (3:50 PM)

I do, but I doubt he'll make it. I suspect Shaq and Al Jefferson both will get in by splitting the center vote, even if no coach votes two centers -- it's happened before.

Mo Williams (Cleveland, Oh)

What about me John? Am I making it?

John Hollinger
  (3:50 PM)

I think he may slip in. I don't think he has any business going, but I suspect Rondo and Allen will split the third Celtic vote and that will allow Williams to knife in there.

Chris (Los Angeles)

Love your stuff John! Science in fandom... What do you make of Al Thornton's game? I think he's a "chucker" and is not interested in anything but points. You, sir?

John Hollinger
  (3:52 PM)

I can't say what he's interested in, but I can say that he's one of the league's most one-dimensional players. He has tremendous physical skills but routinely makes horrid decisions at both ends of the floor.

Pau Gasol

Will I get in, John? How about my boy, Andrew?

John Hollinger
  (3:53 PM)

Pau, definitely, yes. Bynum, almost certainly not-- Shaq and Jefferson will get all the center votes.

Karl sacramento

Beno Udrih= worst starting pg in the league, is bobby brown any better? if so why isnt he playing more

John Hollinger
  (3:54 PM)

Sebastian Telfair takes offense to that comment. As far as Brown vs. Udrih, I'd still rather have Udrih running the show for now ... but he has to regain some of last year's mojo to justify anything close to what he's making. It's one of the few real mistakes Geoff Petrie has made.

Matt: (Cottage Grove, MN)

If Big Al doesn't get voted into the all star game, along with Kevin Love's snub of the rookie game, i will be very disappointed in the coaches

John Hollinger
  (3:56 PM)

you should be. Not being on national TV is an OK excuse for the fans, and even the writers and announcers (many of whom spend much of the year in hotels with no league pass), but the coaches are really supposed to know better.

Richard (Ny)

theres no way moon or landry should be in the rookie/soph. game over wilson chandler. he's played a bigger role in his teams success and is probably one of the top 5 sophs. right now

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

I missed the part where the Knicks were considered successful. Has Isiah lowered the bar that much? Chandler was a nice going away present from Zeke and because he's so young will likely be a good player in time, but right now he's a backup caliber player being pressed into a starting role.

Monty (NJ)

Why should all-star level players be penalized for the inability of some GM's to put together good teams? A player like Danny Granger is working just as hard as Kevin Garnett. Except Garnett has great talent all around him.

John Hollinger
  (3:58 PM)

Exactly. Chris Webber KILLED Kenny Smith with this argument last Thursday, and I couldn't have been happier because I've been trying to make this point year after year after year.

Mike (Canada)

Over the last two games, Eddie House has played 44 minutes, shotting 15-20 threes and has racked up 51 points despite everyone knowing all he can do is shoot 3s. How could he not be in the 3 point contest?

John Hollinger
  (4:00 PM)

Since I've never quite understood what the criteria is for that thing (Michael Redd has never been invited, but Antoine Walker has?) I can't really hazard a guess as to whether he'll be included or not. All I know is you'll see Jason Kapono attempt more 3s on All-Star Saturday than he does the entire month of March.

Tim (Provo, UT)

Do you think the Nuggets have a great chance of winning the Northwest? And can we see them winning 58 games?

John Hollinger
  (4:02 PM)

58 implies a 28-8 finish -- sorry, not buying that. But winning the Northwest? It's sitting out for them on a silver platter now that Utah has even more injury problems to deal with. Portland isn't going away either, of course, but this is the Nuggies' division to lose.

Nimesh Patel (Orlando)

More likely to be in the all-star game Rashard Lewis or Jameer Nelson??

John Hollinger
  (4:04 PM)

Jameer Nelson, easily. He's an automatic to me -- he, Chris Bosh, Devin Harris, Danny Granger, and Paul Pierce are pretty much locks. It's the last two spots that are the question marks. I'm guessing they go to Mo Williams and Joe Johnson, but there a lot of different ways they can go there.

Gerardo (Mexico)

John, what are some of your favorite NBA venues to watch games?

John Hollinger
  (4:06 PM)

Boston and Portland have the best crowds ... New Orleans is great too and gives the press great seats ... those would probably be at or near the top. MSG would have to be up there as well.

Lyell (Chicago)

You wanna talk about a 3-Point Shootout snub? Ben Gordon has never had a season where he's shot below 40% from 3-Point, yet he hasn't been in the 3-Point contest yet. His stroke is the definition of pure.

John Hollinger
  (4:06 PM)

exactly .. but the league just couldn't have a 3-point contest without Damon Jones in it.

Mike (Toledo)

So Mr. Hollinger, had he not been injured, would you have gone with Big Z as the second Cav in the All-Star game?

John Hollinger
  (4:07 PM)

Absolutely. And, if logic tells you that you wouldn't even consider taking Mo Wililams if Z were healthy, then you have to ask yourself ...

Bryant (Orlando)

You heading out on the town after the game?

John Hollinger
  (4:08 PM)

It's been suggested to me that I write a story instead.

Tony (San Antonio)

Your three point shootout participants?

John Hollinger
  (4:11 PM)

Kapono, Peja, Danny Granger, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, Ben Gordon.

Kyle (Atlanta)

JH...... The Hawks are really starting to scare me. Do you see them making a move at the trade deadline for a impact player?

John Hollinger
  (4:12 PM)

With what? Hawks lack the assets to make a move -- unless you think Acie Law and Solomon Jones can bring back difference-making talent in return.

Terry (Madison)

Is KG still better than Al Jefferson? I think if I had the choice I would take big Al right now

John Hollinger
  (4:13 PM)

I think somebody's got his Pooh Richardson throwback jersey on a little too tight.

Stevie (Brooklyn)

I was at the Nets game last night and they started chanting "Fire Lawrence." I even joined in (playing Boone in the 4th and Harris taking the last shot instead of VC are not smart decisions). Just wondering what your opinion of him (Frank) is.

John Hollinger
  (4:14 PM)

Frank is as well-prepared as any coach in the league and has the Nets achieving far more than many expected -- partly because he suited the team to Harris's talents. As far the last shot last night, Harris had a mismatch on Graham and got a wide open 15-footer. You live with that.

Jason Richardson

I'm leading the league in 3 pt percentage AND I'm based in Phoenix, jerk.

John Hollinger
  (4:15 PM)

Actually you're 36th, but J-Rich did lead the league in 3-point makes last year and, as you point out, he's local. Wouldn't be a bad choice.

Kyle Tampa

I've watched some cavs game and am wondering how terrence kinsey doesnt get more mins? everytime i see him play he looks good

John Hollinger
  (4:16 PM)

I've always liked Kinsey and think he can be more effective than Pavlovic, but it's tough getting established when you play the same position as LeBron James and another guy with a long-term contract.

kidquick10 (Charlotte, NC)

John, last time I looked the Sixers are better than the Nets. Do you think that "DALA" will get on the reserves?

John Hollinger
  (4:17 PM)

I don't, he started the year too slow and his numbers still pale beside guys like Granger, Bosh and Harris.

Drew Bronx New York

any trade news with the knicks?

John Hollinger
  (4:18 PM)

much smoke, little fire. As per usual.

NuWarriors [San Jose, CA]

Anthony Morrow is leading the league in 3 pt%. Kid has a great stroke and SHOULD be selected... but he won't. Fair?

John Hollinger
  (4:20 PM)

Too small a sample to reward him just yet. Yes, he's leading the league, but it's on only 81 attempts. If he goes 0-for-5 tomorrow then suddenly he's fourth and has no case.

Roger Mason Jr

How do I not get selected to the 3pt? Im shooting 46% and average 2.2 per

John Hollinger
  (4:21 PM)

Mason would be a strong candidate, yes. And, of course, the UVA contingent at ESPN.com would be cheering him wildly.

John (Mpls.)

John, do you think the T-Wolves are in danger of forfeiting their pick to the Clippers this year? That means finishing 10th worst, right? And anybody they could get for Mike Miller?

John Hollinger
  (4:24 PM)

Minnesota's pick is top 10 protected, which means we may once again see some, er, 'strategic" roster moves by the T'wolves come April (does the phrase "Mark Madsen 3-point derby" ring any bells?). Ideally they'd forfeit the pick in a year or two when they've moved somewhere around .500 or better -- a trajectory they're seemingly heading toward.

Spurs

Do you really thing we will only go 21-17 from here on out? Are't we known for being a strong second half team?

John Hollinger
  (4:25 PM)

Spurs' history doesn't factor into the Playoff Odds. What does factor in is a brutal second-half schedule -- which was the reason the Spurs didn't see any second-half ascent a year ago. Maybe they'll do better than 21-17, but it's going to be tough for San Anto to churn out a ton of victories when they have so many road games against good teams.

Matt (Fort Collins)

Your fastball hangin in there?

John Hollinger
  (4:26 PM)

Starting to lose a few MPH .. I think I better make the call to the bullpen before my ERA takes a beating.

John Hollinger
  (4:27 PM)

Folks, that's all the time I have but I'll be back here at the same time in two weeks. Thanks again for all the great questions and check back in for my report on the Magic-Cavs game tonight.