HI everybody. I thought I'd be in a better mood this week because I didn't have to wake up at 4:30 am and catch a cross-country flight today...but I'm saddened by the passing of Johnny "Red" Kerr and Norm Van Lier. I lived in Chicago for 6 years and those two were a huge presence in the Bulls' world.
Hey J.A.! Love you chats! My Question: With Big Ben out with a broken leg, do they now try to make a move for another big man? Is there even anyone available at this point?
with the trading deadline come and gone all they can do is hope for a buyout. It's lucky for them they don't have to compete with the Celtics now that they've filled their roster. Perhaps Joe Smith. Maybe Chris Mihm. I know neither name gets you very excited, but big men are hard to come by. Ask the Spurs, who would love to fill out their bench.
Marbury to the C's comparable to Manny to the Dodgers? Big time talent who quit on his team. The new team is a contender, but needs some help. The converse view is that he is a cancer and always will be. I see Manny more as the exception, and think the signing will be regretted by the Celtics.
Interesting premise...but a) Marbury's best isn't as good as Manny's best, and b) Marbury's worst hasn't been as bad as Marbury's worst. So it's a lower risk, lower reward. I don't think the Celts will regret it. They have too many strong voices in the locker room to let Steph take it over. The Knicks didn't have enough leadership to keep him from being a threat. That's not an issue in Boston
I will say, having visited their locker room when they visited L.A. on Wednesday, that the Celtic players didn't seem too enthusiastic about his arrival. They know they need some bench help, but I don't think they welcome the other stuff that comes with Marbury.
Is T-Mac done? Do we ever see him play again or in a Rockets uniform again?
We'll see him back on the court, but not at an elite level, and not in Houston. His contract will be easier to move over the summer because it won't count against this year's luxury tax and he'll be comin g up on his final year of the deal.
You know who would have been a good replacement for Ben in Cleveland? Shaq. Oh wait... nevermind
I hear the reason a deal didn't go through was more on Cleveland's end than Phoenix...as in the Suns were willing, but Cleveland didn't say the right names (or contracts)
I keep seeing GMs like Ferry and Pritchard claiming not to have made moves at the deadline due to "chemistry concerns"...isn't that the easiest place to hide when a GM can't make a deal? The Spurs are as chemistry-conscious as anyone, and they had no trouble putting in a serious bid on Marcus Camby, for instance. Aren't Ferry and Pritchard just making excuses?
I think it was financial concerns more than chemistry concerns...well, for Portland at least. Yes, even the Blazers and their Paul Allen $ think about money. I think they didn't see a deal that would have put them over the top for a championship, and any trade they made would have financial repercussions down the road. Cleveland could have had an important piece with Shaq...that might have done it.
I see that Nelson planned to sit Jamal Crawford because the team has too many SGs. Who could have seen that coming, apart from EVERYONE? What is the plan in GS? It looks like they can either play the kids and look stupid for handing all that money to Jackson/Maggette/Crawford, or play the expensive veterans and look like idiots for benching all their lottery picks. Is there any direction there?
I have no clue what's going on there...and I'm not sure anyone up there does either. But I don't see how benching one of your top scorers helps a team whose only strategy is to overwhelm teams with scoring. All I know about that squad is I want to see more Anthony Randolph.
Saw D-Wade have quite possibly the best game of his career and after the game he looked as angry as ever. I'm thinking he cares more about team success which leads me to believe he could be gone in 2010. Your thoughts?
I'll say this: D-Wade does believe in Pat Riley, so he'll look to see if Riley can get things headed in the right direction. And they could have salary cap flexibility to bring in another great player in 2010. But the clock's ticking.
With Ben Wallace likely out for the season. Do you think they should start JJ Hickson so they still have Anderson Varejao comeing off the bench where he seems more comfortable.
I would go with Varejao and not worry about developing Hickson...just because I'm not sure what he will do in his first playoffs. You don't want to be in a position to have to rely on a rookie in the postseason.
JA, what's up with all the injuries this year? Coming off of last season's race in the West, and this season's improvement in the East, it kind of makes for a downer of a season, agree?
I was thinking the same thing this morning. Not much drama to the NBA right now. Lakers will get the No. 1 seed in the west, the Celtics and Cavs are the two best teams in the East. I don't think we can take the Magic and the Rockets as serious threats with the losses of Nelson and T-Mac. This is the time of year when attention naturally shifts to the NCAA anyway. And without all of the big trades we had to shake things up last year, can't say there's too much to keep the focus on the NBA right now...not even Steph in green.
I do think the playoffs will be good, however.
Who is your rookie of the year, and does team record play a count in your decision?
I've been saying Derrick Rose since the beginning, but I don't think any rook has played better than Eric Gordon the past month. However, if Rose is the QB for a playoff team, that means a lot.
If Marbury wanted to be a cancer, he would be. It doesn't matter how many "strong voices" are around him. Same reason Manny has always been a cancer, Owens has always been a cancer, and many others.
Manny wasn't malignant enough to keep the Red Sox from winning two world series. And I don't think the cancer always wins over the smarter people. J.R. Rider didn't derail the Lakers in 2001, for example. Now if he had been around in 99 he would have been a problem, the way Rodman was for that team. But after they won a championship i 2000 they knew what they had to do. Same goes for these defending champ Celts.
The Rockets dominated LeBron last night. Will he ever develop a reliable, superstar-quality jumper OR learn to just bull his way to the hoop every time?
I believe LeBron can and will do whatever it takes. you've seen him improve his desire and ability to play defense this year. And I think he'll spend enough hours in the gym to make his jumper more reliable.
Is his lack of team talent preventing Dwyane Wade from being looked at as the leagues #1 MVP Candidate?
Yes. He's playing as well as anyone this season. But I think true value comes from putting your team in position to make a run at a championship
Hey J.A. how can you say the Rockets aren't a threat? I think we've improved without T-mac in the lineup (our SG actually plays defense now) and with T-mac sitting they actually look like they have some team chemistry
Chemistry is great in the regular season, but you need superstars to get you through the playoffs.
.Bill Simmons predicted a lockout in 28 months due to the NBA's finances...Do you see this as a possibility? thanks,
It's definitely a possibility, in part because owners would probably lose less money in a lockout than they would paying these huge salaries. But I think David Stern and the union understand the league can't take the PR hit of a work stoppage. So I think you'll see some major concessions from the union...hard cap, lower percentage of the revenues. Traditionally, the union has capitulated to the owners for the sake of saving the league...there may never be a greater need for sacrifice than the months and years ahead.
favorite second half storyline not involving the mvp race?
Can the Bulls make this work after the wheeling and dealing? Can the Nuggets develop into a threat to the top 2 teams in the West? Can Nate Robinson keep providing thrills and chills on a nightly basis?
How do you see things coming out of the East, Cavs 1 and Boston 2. Or other way around?
Even without Wallace, I think the Cavs will get the 1 spot because want it and feel they need it more. The Celtics won 2 of their last 4 playoff games last year and feel comfortable going on the road this year.
Hey J.A.; enjoy the chats. Do you think contraction would be good for the NBA? Seems to me like there are too many teams and the talent is spread out. Powerhouse teams make for quality NBA basketball.
I think you've seen and will continue to see virtual contraction because of the luxury tax. When Memphis gave Gasol to the Lakers that was like contraction. You might see it with the Suns with Stoudemire. It's terrible for the fans of those teams, but the league is actually better with Super Teams.
Now that the Kings have traded Miller, bought out Moore and probably Gooden. How good do you think Jason Thompson can be?
Jason Thompson shows a lot of promise and is one of my favorite rookies. But I'm worried about him reaching his full potential if he's going to be stuck in a losing environment. If the Kings don't make an effort to surround him with good players and a couple of proven vets -- and without improvement in their arena and financial situations, I don't see them doing that -- he'll never learn to be a winner
RIP Stormin' Normin' and Johnny Red. You'll both be missed
What is the deal with Duncan's injury? The Spurs have been typically tight-lipped about it, but is there any chance it is way more serious and long lasting than has been indicated? Tendonosis is degenerative and chronic. Could Duncan be dealing with this the rest of his career or once he rests up this week will he be back to normal?
I remember when Duncan was injured a couple of years ago and a player who would know these things (he was oft-injured himself) thought that Duncan could be done. Clearly, he wasn't. So now I'm hesitant to write off Duncan. Even if his physical skills diminish he has so much court knowledge he can still be effective.
Gasol to the Lakers was not contraction. Why pay a big salary like Gasol's only to be mediocre? Get some young guys in there and start over. Marc Gasol is not chopped liver, nor is Arthur (the draft pick ultimately from the Lakers), and they can form their front line for years to come. With the talent of Gay and Mayo, the Grizzlies have the core of a great team. They would not have been able to do that with Pau.
What have they been able to do? Be 15-42? do you really think the Grizzlies will spend on and/or attract a top free agent? Do you think they'll keep all of their talented young players together when it's time to give them their big contracts. The Grizzlies will not be a top contender in the next 5 years.
What was your favorite nba basketball experience?
Covering MJ in Madison Square Garden, 93 playoffs, the MJ sick game in Utah in 1997, .and the Lakers' championship run in 2000, and their 2002 conference finals against the Kings.
J.A. A moment of silence for Stormin Norman and Red Kerr. Both were class acts and we're mourning in Chicago. What's the outlook for the Bulls in 2010?
Just once I'd like to see Chicago land a top free agent. They were rumored to be the destination for KG, then T-Mac. Chicago's a great city, I'd love to see its basketball greatness restored. Maybe if they could lure Dwyane Wade back home...
It only hit me yesterday, but is there a valid reason why G. Poppovich shouldn't win COY? Think about it...
Pop should always be in the discussion, but the best reason I could give you is that Jerry Sloan's never won it, and he has his team in the playoff mix again even with all the injuries to his star players this season. Sloan's gotta get one, doesn't he?
I'll leave with that shoutout to a former teammate of Norm Van Lier, by all accounts they formed the meanest, toughest backcourt the league's ever seen. The Jazz just put out a release in which Sloan said "Norm Van Lier was a great teammate and a close friend. He was a terrific competitor and was very difficult to play against. We always had a strong bond, to the point he babysat my kid on a number occasions when we were playing together..." Hard to imagine an era when players couldn't afford multiple nannys to watch their kids. But those were the times Sloan and Van Lier played in...times when matters would often get settled with fisticuffs. Red Kerr had some great stories, too. I was lucky to have heard some of them from the man himself. take care, thanks for the questions, and see you next week.
As a Raptors season ticket holder; I have met Mr. Embry a couple of times....remarkable man. How do you write an article about him and not include one mention of his swan song as a GM? When he came out of retirement to swindle the Knicks into taking Jalen Rose's contract and a 1st Rd pick for Antonio Davis. Pure Genius; that directly led to Toronto getting Bryan Colangelo, the stability and continuity he brings, and most importantly, some respect back for our franchise. Thank Mr. Embry, for everything
I had a few questions asking about why I didn't talk about Embry's days as Raptors GM. I didn't want the column to focus on the moves he did or didn't make. I wanted it to be about the man and his quiet toughness and dignity, going where none like him had gone before.