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August 13, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (3:06 PM)

Greetings everyone and welcome to chatland. Things are a little slow right now but let's get to the questions.

mark (minnesota)

the wolves will have a lot of expiring contracts after the 2010 season who will they go after in that great free agent class

John Hollinger
  (3:07 PM)

The question is who would come to Minnesota? The T'wolves will probably have to do what the Hawks did with Joe Johnson or the Magic for Rashard Lewis, and just completely blow away a second-tier free agent with an offer he can't refuse.

Ben (New York, NY)

Is there a GM on earth (currently employed by an NBA team, so can't say Isiah) that would take Eddy Curry off of Walsh's hands???

John Hollinger
  (3:08 PM)

The only hope of that happening is if Curry comes back this year and starts scoring 20 a game. Otherwise it's hopeless. Knicks can't even sweeten the pot with a draft pick because they already traded it.

Jacob (St. Joseph)

Will Rasheed Wallace start over Perkins or will Wallace come off the bench?

John Hollinger
  (3:09 PM)

Have to think he's coming off the bench and Perk stays in the starting five. Pairing Wallace-Davis and Perk-Garnett gives one physical guy and one lean guy in each group.

Rusty LaRue (Chicago, IL)

Bulls let their top scorer go and basically sat on their hands with no trades. Are all of their eggs in the 2010 basket or is there some other plan?

John Hollinger
  (3:10 PM)

They would use their expirings to make a trade if the right player (coughBoshcough) became available, but otherwise I think they're going to see how the kids develop and try to see if Dwyane Wade wants to make his new condo in Chicago a year-round dwelling.

PeteyB (San Francisco)

Rumor: CJ Watson seems likely headed to Orlando which could use PG depth. Where's he headed?

John Hollinger
  (3:11 PM)

He's headed back to Golden State most likely. He's a restricted free agent and he's not going to get an offer so huge that the Warriors won't match.

Bryan Colangelo (Toronto)

I've still got one more roster spot to fill. What do you think I should do?

John Hollinger
  (3:12 PM)

Best option available is still signing Delfino as a restricted free agent, but I don't get the impression that's going to happen. Raps also have a qualifying offer out to Pops Mensa Bonsu, so if nothing else he'd be No. 15.

John Gianelli (the beach)

Any chance the Blazers go hard after one of the big FAs in 2010?

John Hollinger
  (3:14 PM)

Not possible, they won't have any cap space. That's why they tried so hard to get Turkoglu/Millsap/Miller this summer, because it was their last shot to get an FA before the extensions for Roy and (likely) Aldridge kick in.

Joe (Davis)

John, do you think Tyreke Evans is enough of a point guard to play next to Kevin Martin? If not, do you think Martin can play the 3 full time to keep Sac's talent on the floor?

John Hollinger
  (3:18 PM)

I think he'll be a full-time 2 within two years. I've seen this movie countless times before, and every guard over 6-3 with "point guard skills" becomes a wing player unless they're an unbelievable passer, which by all accounts Evans is not. As far as Martin and Evans playing together, they probably can get away with it for long stretches in today's game as long as they play up-tempo, which under Westphal and with Sergio at the point they almost certainly will.

John Hollinger
  (3:19 PM)

OK, switching browsers. Firefox dying on me, Safari summoned from the bullpen.

Eli (Tdot)

Hi John, just wondering your thoughts on the Jarret Jack pickup by the Raps, I'm a big fan personally, should I be? I've read he is considered an above average defender (which the raps desperately need more of) is this reputation earned?

John Hollinger
  (3:19 PM)

Jack is an above average defender, yes. He's a combo guard and will do well in that role off the bench for Toronto. I don't think he's a $20 million player, but he'll help.

Jimmy (Towaco)

Is there any chance Denver uses its huge trade exception to add another key piece? And do teams that acquire players via the trade exception exempt from paying the tax on those players? Lastly what is Denver's primary need?

John Hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

Not likely -- the Nuggets are already in a precarious situation payroll and tax-wise and they don't have the revenues to support it. Owner Stan Kroenke has a lot of dough and if the Nuggies start the year 40-10 he might sign off on using the exception at the deadline to try to win a title, but short of that I don't see it happening.

Farhan (Birmingham, AL)

John, I saw your West rankings and I'm glad that you're one of the few writers on ESPN that realizes how valuable Dampier's expiring contract is, since it can be used to sign and trade for a max-contract player. That being said, who are a few players that you see the Mavericks realistically being able to get with it?

John Hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

We don't know yet and won't for a while, because a lot depends on who disappoints and who surprises this season.

Earl Cuento (mpls)

In your crystal ball - what does the future of Ryan Hollins look like? 8th guy on a playoof team?

John Hollinger
  (3:22 PM)

Competent backup center for a running, trapping team but not as effective in the halfcourt. T'wolves have an odd mix looking forward because Ricky and Flynn are serious up-tempo guys but Jefferson and Love are plodders.

Danny (Park City, UT)

whats the latest on Booz? and any chance Jazz can get anything for him?

John Hollinger
  (3:24 PM)

Here's the issue for Utah -- trading Boozer just to trade him doesn't make a lot of sense. The whole reason to deal him would be for salary relief, and that means trading him to a team that's under the cap (I don't believe anybody has a trade exception massive enough to swallow his contract). And since there aren't many potential partners available, there's a decent chance he's staying in SLC this year.

Eric (Livingston)

The Nets seem to have all the role players to make up a great team, but lack the superstar. What are their chances of grabbing one of the big names in 2010?

John Hollinger
  (3:26 PM)

One of the big names? No chance, sorry. LeBron, Wade and Bosh don't have Jersey on their short list. The Nets are with the Minnesotas and Oklahoma Cities of the world in that respect, they're going to have to blow somebody away with an offer.

Blake (WestLake Village, CA)

I was wondering if you see the blazers perhaps making any two for one trades this year? There roster is really log jammed at the point through the small forward.

John Hollinger
  (3:27 PM)

That's certainly a possibility, but more realistic at the trade deadline than today. If the right player became available from a team looking to dump salary, a trade of something like Outlaw Blake or Outlaw Webster is very possible.

Chad (Sacramento)

Not an OKC fan, but I was puzzled why they didn't go after Gortat this offseason? Seem to be the missing piece in the frontcourt to me.

John Hollinger
  (3:28 PM)

They're waiting to cash in their chips next summer, or possibly at the trade deadline if something really amazing falls in their lap. OKC doesn't need to rush to sign a Gortat or DLee when so many better players will be available next summer.

Joey (SLC,UT)

Does this mean that you have already sent Internet Explorer down to the minors?

John Hollinger
  (3:30 PM)

The Evil Empire stopped supporting IE for Mac a long time ago.

Jason (Milwaukee, WI)

Will Tim Duncan officially be the starting center for the Spurs?

John Hollinger
  (3:30 PM)

No, I believe we'll still be required to pretend he's a forward while Antonio McDyess is the center.

John Hollinger
  (3:31 PM)

[Late edit: Reader asked a Q about Denver going after Rashad McCants, apparently it never posted]. I'd say 40-60. Nuggies are intrigued by his talent and have never shied away from taking on talented head cases, but they're looking at a few other guys too and ideally they'd want somebody big enough to play some 3, which McCants can't do.

Kris (NY, NY)

John, everyone keeps saying the Celtics are the favorites in the East. I don't get it. The Cavs disappointed by losing to Orlando. But that seems more like it was simply a unique matchup problem with Turk and Lewis. With the Magic getting rid of Turk and the Cavs adding Parker and Moon, not mention Shaq, shouldn't the Cavs be the clear favorites? I mean they still have the best player on the planet who is still improving as well. What gives? This feels like a classic case of the media's love with the Celtics.

John Hollinger
  (3:33 PM)

I half-agree with you. I don't get the Boston bandwagon thing either given their age issues, but I think it's up in the air whether Cleveland or Orlando should be the favorite. Boston is a clear third in my mind.

Raphael (Charlotte)

what was Charlotte thinking Trading Okafor? do you think they will get any players from free agency in 2010?

John Hollinger
  (3:34 PM)

Charlotte isn't going to spend any money this year or next because they're right up against the luxury tax for 2010-11. That's why it's taking so long to re-sign Felton, they don' want to commit to any more money. Things might change once Johnson sells the team, but that's the landscape right now. As far as trading Okafor, we still don't know for certain, but payroll certainly is a suspect.

Sam (Princeton, NJ)

John, is Marquis Daniels really a sufficient wing backup for the Cs? Did they make a mistake by not going harder after guys like Moon and Barnes?

John Hollinger
  (3:36 PM)

Moon was out of their price range once they used their midlevel on Sheed. As far Barnes, he's a 3/4, which Boston didn't need. Daniels helps because he can play point guard when Eddie House is in the game and then switch assignments on D, the only problem is that he misses 20-25 games a year with injuries.

Ramon Sessions (Milwaukee, WI)

Hey John, rumor is I'm going to be traded to the Clippers. Have you heard anything?

John Hollinger
  (3:37 PM)

There's a different rumor every hour with Sessions. I'll stay calm until something actually comes to fruition. I'll say this though -- if Milwaukee manages to keep Sessions they might be better than people think.

Majeed (San Diego)

I saw where the Clips traded for Rasual Butler. Why couldn't didn't the Lakers send Morrision to the Clips for a future 2nd rounder? Get his $5MM off the books, $10MM in true savings. Is Butler that much better than Ammo?

John Hollinger
  (3:38 PM)

Yes, Butler is that much better than Ammo. Morrison is dead weight until he proves different, he's been among the very worst players in the league in both pro seasons and he makes more money than Butler. No reason at all for the Clips to pursue him.

John Hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

[This one didn't post either. Reader asked about Nuggets getting Lawson, saying he though it was a godo move]. I agree entirely and think he's going to be a great change of pace PG behind Billups this season. Slick move by the Nuggets picking him up.

Chris (Jville)

Please explain to me how the 3" difference between Vince and Turk really matters that much when it comes to matchups? Vince is a considerably better player than Turk on both ends of the floor...agree?

John Hollinger
  (3:41 PM)

I don't get it either. The match-up that gave Cleveland trouble was Dwight Howard, and anyway it wasn't like Turkoglu was backing his guy down on every trip. Carter is a much better player by any objective measure, but convincing people of this remains amazingly difficult.

Ryan (Denver)

Is money from European leagues really a threat to the NBA in this economic climate, or is it just Olympiakos? Klieza is getting more than twice what he would earn in the League.

John Hollinger
  (3:42 PM)

Kleiza is a unique situations because he has a European passport, which makes him more valuable to teams over there (most of which have a cap on the number of Americans who can play). And it's not like he got Childress money. The other European teams have been non-players this summer, as a lot of the Russians have been hit hard by the economy, so it's pretty much just Olympiakos that's spending.

Ben (New York, NY)

Is Gallinari that good or are the Knicks brass just talking him up to sell tickets?

John Hollinger
  (3:43 PM)

Gaillinari played well in his limited minutes last year and his translated Euro #s were strong. I don't think he's a superstar or anything, but if his back holds up he'll be quite helpful.

Justin (California)

Why is almost everything on ESPN.com-- including your analyses-- now "Insider" only? What's the deal with that, John?

John Hollinger
  (3:45 PM)

The folks in charge here are interested in making money. Apparently this is a big shock to some people. Would love if everyone became subscribers, but obviously the tradeoff is that it reduces the eyeballs that see my work.

Dan (NJ)

What do you think Lawrence Frank has to do to keep his job?

John Hollinger
  (3:46 PM)

Unless he shows up in a stupor like Shooter from Hoosiers he'll keep his job because the Nets have no interest in paying two coaches at once. To keep his job beyond this season, however, is a different story. To do that he might need to win in the high 30s or low 40s, and I can't see that happening with this roster.

Jon (NYC)

What do you think of Rudy Gay? Does he breakout this year or freakout with having to play in Mayo's shadow and never realize his potential?

John Hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

I'm not a big fan of Gay -- he's a tremendous talent, but he takes a bunch of contested 20 footers, never passes the ball and doesn't compete on D. Watching him and Zach take turns launching should be real fun for the other three guys.

John Hollinger
  (3:49 PM)

Sorry folks, .. some clown is flooding the queue with nonsense posts so it's getting hard for me to find your questions.

Thomas (Los Angeles)

The top 7 seeds in the West seem pretty locked up. Who takes the 8th?

John Hollinger
  (3:52 PM)

That's my assessment as well, but remember that injuries can level the playing field in a hurry. As things stand now, my best guess for that last playoff spot is Clippers, but if you want to argue for OKC, Phoenix or even Golden State, you can make a case.

Jason (L.A.)

How good do you see Portland being this year? I can really see them getting deep into the Western Playoffs.

John Hollinger
  (3:53 PM)

Defintely a little under the radar in Portland. I think the Blazers will be top four in the West and could finish as high as second, and I think they'll win at least a playoff round this year.

SkrACH (Toronto)

Do you honestly believe that Wince Cryer is an upgrade to Hedu on the defensive end? i'll admit that carter is still a good shooter/slasher, maybe better than Turkoglu, but there is no chance he's a better defender.

John Hollinger
  (3:54 PM)

I know this is hard to believe for folks in Toronto who watched Vince blatantly mail in his final season, but he did a decent job on D last year and is certainly better than Turkoglu at that end.

David (Bay Area)

I know this is very late, but, why did the Kings sign Westphal instead of a the DEFENSIVE-minded Thibedeaou?

John Hollinger
  (3:56 PM)

Westphal was the right hire, his track record developing young players is impressive and that, more than an "offensive" or "defensive" coach, is what Sac needs. Bummer for Thibodeau, who deserves a head-coaching job, but this wasn't the right fit.

Chris (Miami)

Wade in 2010:Miami 80%Chicago 15%New York 5%What do you think?

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

I'd say that's a pretty decent assessment of the landscape right now. He has his best shot at a great team by staying in Mia and letting the Heat add two FAs to go with Beasley, plus he'll get the most money and keep more because Florida has no income tax. But the pull of Chicago can't be underestimated.

Reggie Walker (Puebla, Mexico)

How do you see JR Smith producing this year. With the departures of last years starter at the 2, Dahntay Jones and Kleiza, JR should be playing 35 min a game averaging at least 20 in the Nuggets trigger happy offense right?

John Hollinger
  (3:58 PM)

I think he'll get somewhere between 32 and 35 a game, yes, and could average as much as 20 if everything breaks right; more likely he'll be in the high teens. He's had horrid starts to his last two seasons, though, and spending a month in the slammer wasn't a great way to train for the coming campaign.

Chuck (New Orleans)

I am really concerned with our team here... It feels like they broke up the style of Hornets ball with getting Okafor for Chandler. The feel of this city is that this team won't be around much longer... your take?

John Hollinger
  (4:00 PM)

You're being melodramatic. Hornets will have a lot more bench scoring this year with Collison and Diogu, and Okafor is a better player than Chandler. I can understand why Hornets fans miss Chandler -- he's a great dude and he played hard. But that trade improved them. As for shedding Butler, be happy -- it means they won't have to trade somebody like West to get under the tax at the trade deadline. Can now do it by trading Daniels and offering $3 mil and a pick to a team under the cap (hello, Memphis!).

Robert (Oregon)

Will Carlos Arroyo be playing in the NBA this season? Which team would benefit from his services?

John Hollinger
  (4:00 PM)

I keep hearing whispers about the Sixers, but I'm not sure if their re-signing Ivey precludes their getting Arroyo.

Dave (SLC)

Boozer innovation: Say the Jazz and Boozer knew a team that would sign him to a one year MLE deal. Could they then buy him out at some fraction of his salary to enable him to do that? Since Booze wants out, he might even leave an extra million or two on the table to facilitate it which would net the Jazz a fairly hefty savings.

John Hollinger
  (4:02 PM)

MLE contracts have to be for more than a year, and I don't believe they can include a player opt-out (though they can have a team opt-out). Bigger reason, though, is that Boozer would lose his Bird rights with new team, taking sign-trade possibilities off the table for him this summer. So basically, it wouldn't be worth it for him. But it's a clever idea.

Charles (Dayton, Ohio)

JohnI have to disagree with you concerning Turkoglu and Carter. The thing that made Orlando special was the way you had to guard the entire floor. their forwards forced other teams that have conventional 3's and 4's to defend them. Then added in fourth quarter Hedo had the ability to break people down and pass out becuase he is 6'10. Vince is one of the best but the became a much traditional team now and with a point guard as small as Nelson

John Hollinger
  (4:05 PM)

Carter had a better Assist ratio last year than Turkoglu, so they didn't lose anything in the passing department, and last I checked the height of the passer had little impact on the success of the shots. He's also a better outside shooter, so you still have to guard the entire floor.

Cole (Portland)

Big drop off for Houston this season? I predict 45-48 wins..

John Hollinger
  (4:06 PM)

The Rockets would do cartwheels if they won 45-48. I think 30-35 is more realistic.

John Hollinger
  (4:07 PM)

Quick correction: I was wrong on the part on MLE deals (thanks to the many folks posting examples). But the loss of Bird rights would be huge.

Josh Schmidt (Dighton, MA)

Do you see the Celtics giving Bill Walker, J.R. Giddens, and Sheldon Williams some playing time? Walker was a good scorer in college, Giddens showed improvement, and can Williams play like a 5th overall pick like he was?

John Hollinger
  (4:09 PM)

I could see Walker getting some minutes, yes. Giddens is terrible, I don't think he can play and have no idea why they picked him. Williams will be the fifth big man and be better than your typical No. 3 center if he's in shape (which he wasn't last year)-- terrible shooter and finisher, but he's physical and he rebounds.

Megan (Memphis)

It's rough being a Grizzlies fan now b/c its obvious the owner is putting in the bare minimum. Any hope for the future?

John Hollinger
  (4:10 PM)

Actually, the problem is that the owner is trying to be the GM, and has been calling shots on personnel going back to the Gasol trade. As much as everyone rips on Chris Wallace, he's not the one making most of these decisions.

John Hollinger
  (4:11 PM)

Folks, that's all the time I have but I'll be back in two weeks to do this again. Thanks again for all the great questions.