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June 25, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (3:06 PM)

Greetings all, and welcome. Already been an interesting 48 hours leading up to the draft and we haven't even called a name yet. On to the questions ...

Dustin (Logan, UT)

Hello John, I was having this conversation with a friend yesterday - If both Teague and Hansbrough fall into Utah's laps tonight, the Jazz have to take Teague because he is clearly the better player even though PF may be a bigger need than backup PG. This is a case where you take the better player and work it out, right?

John Hollinger
  (3:07 PM)

I'd say so, yes. Teague can also really shoot it, which is another weakness for Utah. I'm generally a big proponent of best player available, but in particular when both guys fill a need anyway.

Ed Stefanski (Philly)

Should I trade Speights to move up and grab Stephen Curry?

John Hollinger
  (3:08 PM)

No way. I think the players between 5 and 9 on my board are largely interchangeable -- that would include Rubio, Curry, Harden, and Flynn. Sixers shouldn't reach just to get themselves a shooter; they can always get pieces like that in trade or free agency, as they did with Kapono.

Jon (ny)

Hill will be a NYK tonight...or is GSW stupid enough to draft another skinny athletic pf in the 1st round (3yrs straight)

John Hollinger
  (3:09 PM)

I've felt for a while that Hill would be such a classic Golden State pick that I'm not sure they can help themselves, especially if their alleged promise to Monta Ellis not to take a PG is true.

milwaukee [via mobile]

who are the bucks looking to pick tonite ? and are the looking to move anybody else

John Hollinger
  (3:10 PM)

I'd expect the Bucks to take a point guard, likely either Flynn or Holliday depending on which one is available. This gives them some cover if they can't afford to keep Sessions, whom I believe is the more disposable player to them if they are forced to choose.

Drew (Dover)

Sixers grab Lawson or Maynor or someone else?

John Hollinger
  (3:11 PM)

I believe it will be one of those two, yes, although Teague is also intriguing there because of his shooting ability.

Neil (Agoura Hills, CA)

So on a scale of 1-10, one being not at all and ten being at all times, how often will Shaq clog the paint for LeBron? I think 8-9 would be about correct.

John Hollinger
  (3:12 PM)

As opposed to Ben Wallace?!?!?! You have to look at the minutes he's taking -- they all belong to guys who themselves were clogging the paint. They'll be able to platoon Shaq and Z at center to keep both fresh for the playoffs, and LeBron will still have plenty of space.

James Johnson (NC)

My dream of going Top 10, can it happen?

John Hollinger
  (3:13 PM)

Highly doubt it, but based on what I've heard in the last 24 hours it sounds like he's moving up draft boards. I think he's a B-minus prospect personally, likely to be useful but probably won't be a starter.

Trevor (Tallahassee, FL)

Is this mega-trade between PHX and HOU gonna go down tonight before the draft? Will Nash demand a trade if it does?

John Hollinger
  (3:15 PM)

I think the selling point to Nash for a trade like that is that in a year the Suns can be a major FA player -- and a team like Phoenix can win FA wars thanks to the climate. So they'd be hoping the lure of that would be enough to get his name on an extension.That said, the Hou-Phx deal is such a blockbuster that you'd have to bet against it, simply because with so many parts involved (not just players, but health issues and opt-outs and what not), it's bound to break down somewhere.

Alvin (Baton Rouge)

Which direction will the Pistons go tonight?

John Hollinger
  (3:16 PM)

Chad Ford has Austin Daye in his mock draft, and that's a great pick if its true -- I have him rated much higher than 15th.

Chris Bosh (Toronto, ON)

Keep my bags packed tonight?

John Hollinger
  (3:16 PM)

Absolutely not. Would be shocked if Bosh was traded before midseason, if he's traded at all. First the Raps will take a crack at pleasing him by winning more games.

Terrence Williams (NC)

Im a perfect fit for Toronto who needs toughness, leadership, defense, rebounding, assists, steals, athletic. Why aren't they looking at me?

John Hollinger
  (3:17 PM)

Seniors drafted in the lottery have a history of disappointment, Williams hardly improved in four years at Louisville, Pitino system products have a terrible track record in the NBA, and Williams is a serious question mark in the toughness and leadership categories you mentioned. Suffice it to say that I don't think he's lottery material.

Alvin (FL)

What megatrade are you talking about between Houston and Phoenix?

John Hollinger
  (3:18 PM)

There's a rumor that Houston will trade McGrady's $23 mil expiring and a few spare parts to Phoenix for Amare and Barbosa.

Atlanta georgia [via mobile]

If both hansgurpugh and Sam young are open for the hawks who is the better pick and who will they pick??

John Hollinger
  (3:19 PM)

Well, not Sam Young -- he's already 24 and his numbers weren't even that good; he had the worst pure point rating of any perimeter prospect. Makes him reminiscent of Morris Almond to me, and he hasn't exactly been tearing up the league. Actually Hawks are most likely to go with a PG like Maynor or Jennings.

Will (Portland)

I don't get the impression that moving 2 spots up was the ultimate goal for Portland. I think that KP has something else in mind. Do you think possibly someone else wanted the 22 spot and it will be worked into a trade or am I reading into this too much?

John Hollinger
  (3:20 PM)

Actually, I think that might be all there was too it. Portland has more second round picks than they can possibly use and probably figured "what the heck, Sacto is likely to take one of the Euro-stash picks (Casspi or Calathes) and we can beat them to it"

Ed (MD)

Isn't Amare's deal expiring too? Why trade one expiring deal for another, when the Suns already have penty of wing players?

John Hollinger
  (3:24 PM)

Amare has an opt-out, which means he could choose not ot use it and keep $17 mil on the cap for 2010-11. If Phoenix traded he and Barbosa for an expiring, they'd probably be able to fit two large contracts under the cap at the same time; if they found a taker for Jason Richardson too, they would have a massive hoard, even after extending Nash in the $10 mil range.

Freddy (Santa Ana, CA)

wouldnt the Lakers have been better off to waiting for tonite and hoped that a team got desperate and then traded the Lakers 1st rd this year for the teams 1st rd next year? and if that wouldnt have happened they could have taken a euro and leave him over there for a year or two and hope he develops into something! Seems to me that taking the cash was the worst think LA could have done with its pick.

John Hollinger
  (3:25 PM)

The cash just went into the Odom-Ariza fund. I think that was well-played by the Lakers -- a late first in a weak draft wasn't likely to reap much.

Tom (San Francisco)

If Hill's not a good pick, who would you take if you are the W's?

John Hollinger
  (3:26 PM)

Depending on who falls there, I think Daye, Flynn, or Curry all would be great picks; if they're insistent on taking a 4 I actually like Blair better than Hill.

Andrew (Seattle)

Where do you see Jon Brockman going?

John Hollinger
  (3:27 PM)

I think he's most likely early second round, but could sneak into the first. I heard a few scouts tell me they really like him, but he's been a bit under the radar so far.

ctw724 (chicago, Illinois)

Bulls fans want to know about Hinrich to Portand and Blair to the Bulls.

John Hollinger
  (3:28 PM)

Hinrich to Portland is unlikely to happen until after July 1 when the Blazers can slide him into their open cap space. As far as Blair goes, that partly depends on whether the Bulls can package 16 and 26 to move up a few spots, in which case they might be able to get somebody like Holliday instead.

Joh Brockman (Where am I? )

Andrew, you'll see me behind the register at the Stewart stree 7-11 in Seattle, graveyard.

John Hollinger
  (3:30 PM)

First of all, the shifts are much better at the Larry's at the base of Queen Anne, so I'm thinking that's his first resume drop. But second, Brockman graded out as a second-round prospect on my Draft Rater, which means he'll probably be an end of roster guy for a few years or, at worst, kick around Europe for most of the next decade.

Kevin Pritchard (Portland)

I'm curious if you can guess what Pritchslap I have in store for tonight?

John Hollinger
  (3:32 PM)

I think tonight might be quieter than you think. the real action for the Blazers starts July 1. I'm guessing the Blazers will trade another second-round pick before the night's over though, and probably will be involved in a few other minor deals. Currently Pritchard and Daryl Morey are neck-and-neck in the battle for "most second-round picks exchanged by a single general manager with one team," so we'll see how the scoreboard looks at the end of the night.

Steven Ly (Monterey Park, CA)

Can you explain the situation with the Lakers not being able to trade away two first-round picks in consecutive years? They've traded away next year's first round so how do they still trade this years?

John Hollinger
  (3:33 PM)

They can trade the player they pick after making a selection. Technically, that's what they're doing -- they will pick whomever the Knicks tell them to, and then immediately afterward they'll make a trade that sends the rights to the pick to New York for cash.

Brian (Long Beach (CA))

What High School Players would be a lottery pick if there weren't an age limit

John Hollinger
  (3:34 PM)

John Wall would certainly be a top-five pick, and John Henson probably would go very high as well. Not sure of the high school class beyond those two, but I saw both in person at the Hoop Summit and was very impressed.

David (CHI)

How about a non-draft question? What is up with this Rondo talk? Ainge calls him out for his supposed antics vs ORL? Did Danny-boy even watch the games? Rondo averaged 17-10-10 in the playoffs? And 2.5 spg! I know he needs to improve his jumper but this is just crazy?

John Hollinger
  (3:35 PM)

The issue isn't the basketball, it's the off-court stuff. Apparently he's been a handful and they're trying to see if they can sell while his stock is high instead of committing to an expensive extension.

Bryan Colangelo (Toronto)

Will I shock the world tonight?

John Hollinger
  (3:36 PM)

You mean the way Rob Babcock shocked the world by taking Rafael Araujo at No. 8 overall? If you're thinking they'll do something trade-wise, it seems pretty quiet over there -- I think they're waiting until free agency.

Heims (Red Deer, Alberta)

Did Danny ever watch HIS OWN GAMES? He was such a bigger irritant than Rondo could ever hope to be. And not even half as productive. Maybe Ainge should be managing, generally, as opposed to trying to correct behaviour months after the fact.

John Hollinger
  (3:38 PM)

One big difference -- Ainge was irritating the other team, not his own. I agree that the timing for Boston to deal with this issue is a bit odd, and I think the Celtics let the rumor mill spin a bit too far out of control on them and basically eliminated any plausible deniability on their part. That's gonna a problem if they can't find a deal.

Genius (Germany)

Phoenix - Houston deal would make the Rockets highest Contendor right ?

John Hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

Not sure -- did you read about Yao Ming yesterday? if his foot doesn't heal, then the Rockets are treading water at best.

Dan (BBI)

John, how about ONE Knicks question please? Henderson or Holiday, either one a good pick for the Knicks? Who would you pick?

John Hollinger
  (3:40 PM)

I think the Knicks are right to have Curry so high on their board, but I don't know whey they aren't looking harder at Daye. PG is a weakness, but they really don't have a lot to work with on the wings right now either.

Cory (PA)

A 2nd round player that has the best chance of a great career

John Hollinger
  (3:41 PM)

"great" career -- nobody. "Good" career -- Danny Green. I think he's a late lottery talent and people are missing the boat on him. Also, Turkish center Ogus Savas -- his translated numbers from this year are quite good and he's still young.

Alex (Rip City)

Is Hinrich an upgrade to Blake? and at what cost?

John Hollinger
  (3:42 PM)

Definitely an upgrade -- better shooter, better creator, and VASTLY better defender who can cover tough 2s and allow Roy to take an easier assignment. I love Blake as a backup, but he's stretched as a starter.

Nate (Madison)

Jerel McNeal, any chance to be a decent bench player?

John Hollinger
  (3:43 PM)

Yes, he rates the highest of the Marquette trio in my Draft Rater and probably should be a second-round pick.

Andrew (DC)

Will Washington make another move tonight to get some front-court help?

John Hollinger
  (3:44 PM)

Trades tonight will be focused on draft picks I suspect, so it's more likely that any added moves by the 'Zards will come later this summer.

Ben (Greensboro)

Please tell me the Bobcats are picking someone who did not play in the ACC. Please.

John Hollinger
  (3:45 PM)

Hey -- Think globally, act locally. Looks like another year of MJ scouting by watching a few NCAA Tournament games.

Justin (Denver)

Do the Nuggets have ANY tricks up their sleeve tonight?

John Hollinger
  (3:46 PM)

No, they're in belt-tightening mode so they can keep most of the players who got them to the conference finals. Will be tough just to get back after San Antonio's moves. I think they'll either draft a foreigner or sell No. 34.

Dan (Williston, VT)

I've got a fever and the only cure is more Cavs talk! Who do they need to add to guarantee a trip to the 2010 Finals?

John Hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

Cavs are likely to target a quality wing with their midlevel exception, especially a big one who can shoot and guard. That's why they were so interested in Vince Carter; they'll have to lower the bar, obviously, but that's where I expect them to focus.

Danny (LA)

"the only prescription is more cavs talk"- come on, he doesn't deserve to ask a question

John Hollinger
  (3:49 PM)

Cowbell skit references are always welcome around here.

Eddie (MO)

Who would Houston be after if they got he number 2 pick?

John Hollinger
  (3:50 PM)

I'd have to think Rubio, though I suppose it could be Evans. Probably not Thabeet, given that Yao's already there.

Cory (PA)

Will Lebron leave in 2010 if the Cavs fail to win the Finals?

John Hollinger
  (3:50 PM)

I think LeBron is staying regardless. For all the global icon talk, he's as local as they come. He still lives in Akron, for crying out loud.

Rob (DC)

John, I haven't checked the numbers, but it seems to me that an extremely high amount of the foreigners that get stashed, never come over. Is this true? Why?

John Hollinger
  (3:52 PM)

Certainly true for second-rounders, as many of them make it obvious within a couple years that they'll never be NBA caliber players. The benefit of the stash pick, however, is that you get to hold the player's rights while he develops on somebody else's dime; when it works, the results are spectacular compared to the typical return on a second-round pick.

Joe (NY)

Don't the Spurs still need to massively upgrade their C/PF situation if they want any chance against the Lakers??

John Hollinger
  (3:53 PM)

Yes, and I suspect they'll target a veteran big with their midlevel exception (I say this assuming management has approved paying the luxury tax to keep the championship window open; if not they'll have to trade Manu). Be interesting to see if Rasheed Wallace could fit in down there.

John Hollinger
  (3:55 PM)

Sorry, had to take a call there -- there's a BIG trade brewing --

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

Nets and Magic are apparently working on a Vince Carter trade, according to our Chad Ford. Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie would go to New Jersey.

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

Here's the link: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4287197

John Hollinger
  (3:59 PM)

Battie and Alston give Nets more than $11 million in expirings, plus they get a good young player in Lee, and Battie and Alston aren't total dead weight for '09-10. I'm guessing this means Turkoglu won't be back in Orlando.

John Hollinger
  (4:01 PM)

Folks, as you might imagine, this is going to alter may afternoon plans a bit. I'm going to need to disengage from chatting to write an analysis piece, so unfortunately we'll need to cut this off. Thanks again for all the great questions, and we'll do this again a week from now on the second day of free agency.