Good afternoon from New York, just across the Hudson River from the lovely Meadowlands, where I'll be tonight to see if the Nets can summon victory No. 3 against the Thunder (who are all the way up to No. 13 in Stein's new Power Rankings). Lots to talk about -- from Vinny Del Negro hanging by a thread in Chicago to the Tracy McGrady limbo situation in Houston to Baron's buzzer-beater vs. Boston late last night. Off we go ...
Is Gerald Wallace the most underrated player in NBA? Also, what is up with Diaw? He seems like he isn't interested in playing at all and his numbers have dropped off.
Boris truly is a mystery, Bill, and he didn't respond to Gerald's calling out whatsoever (Chandler did, but then he got hurt). as for your first question, I might nominate Mr. Wallace for Most Underappreciated, but by Mr. Underrated choice right now is Carl Landry.
where do you see the blazers finishing this year? the past week has been inspired, but can they sustain it?
Gotta see how they resolve their big man shortage. The Pryzbilla injury, in some ways, was just as devastating as Oden's. I don't know how many more 36 minute outings Juwan Howard has left in his tank, and we still need to see who will end up being the odd man out among Blake-Miller-Bayless by the time the trade deadline passes, which I guess is a long-winded way of saying I have no idea how they'll fare long-term this season because I expect them to make a few significant changes fairly soon.
Hi Chris. Greetings from Switzerland!As a Blazer fan i am worried about the situation right now. Do you think Kevin Pritchard will make a deal to adjust the needs of the team?If you were him, which one would you make? Try to grab Dalemebert maybe?Cheers
You Blazers fans pop up everywhere. Dalembert is a yough contract to take on, especially with his 15 percent trade kicker, but the 76ers would move him if they could. They've been trying to for the past two seasons. I could see a guy like Mark Blount landing there is he could get a buyout done with the Wolves, becase what Portland needs is a patch player who can get them through this season but won't be on their books for next season. I could also see them making a play for Udonis Haslem, because at a certain point I think the Heat will consider whether they want to shed money to get under the luxury tax (they're $3+ million over).
Don't u think if the Cavs used Illgauskas' EC to get a player like Jamison or Murphy it would make them the favorites in the East? Their D on Christmas was Championship level.
They showed they're not afraid to move Z (they tried to get Stephen Jackson, but wanted the Warriors to promise to waive Z, after which he would have re-signed with the Cavs following the mandatory 30-day waiting period), but they've got to throw some kind of significant player to get someone the caliber of Murphy or Jamison, and beyond Varajao, I don't see anything that would interest Indiana or Washington.
This year's Pacers team is terrible. The players have clearly given up, coach O'Brien has no idea how to find a rotation, and it doesn't seem there is any chemistry. Where do they go from here? Anyone have trade value, or do we ride it out until 2011 for cap room?
I don't think I can recall ever seeing less production from a starting backcourt than what Indiana got out of Earl Watson and Dahntay Jones last night, and the plus-minus numbers for them were astounding (they were both minus-38, and Troy Murphy was a minus-40!). The strange thing is that watson's plus-minus numbers so so much better than T.J. Ford's before they made the lineup switch, and now the exact opposite is happening. Larry Bird gave Jim O'Brien a public vote of confidence, so I don't expect to see much change there. As for trade value, I'd say T.J. and Troy would have the most.
Chris,While Lebron would be nice, I think as a Net fan that's pretty unrealistic. What would you say is a best case scenario for the Nets this summer with their cap room and trade assets? John Wall and say Carlos Boozer? Wall and Lebron is just too good to be true....
John Wall as their draft pick, Joe Johnson as their max guy, and they divvy up the rest of their space on a couple guys who will be fighting over the financial crumbs after the BJ/DWade/Bosh situations are decided.
Is there any (realistic) chance the Knicks will be able to get even more under the cap for next year getting expiring Ks for either Jeffries and/or Curry (if he ever plays)? What will it take? Is it worth it?
At this point it appears impossible to move Curry. So forget that one. They are doing all they can to move Jeffries, and they even had him defending Tony Parker in the final minute last night (Parker toasted him on an iso drive). They've been using Jeffries as a defender against everything from PGs to centers to try to showcase his versatility, but every other team in the NBA knows Donnie Walsh is desperate to dump him, so that is working against the Knicks, too.
What do you tihnk will happen with the whole tmac situation?
I think his agents and the Rockets will work together to find a deal that makes sense for both sides. I did a piece recently documenting the Knicks' interest, and that remains strong. But Jeffries is the deal-killer unless they can find a third-team willing to take him, because Houston doesn't want him. Another factor in the equation: mcGrady' $23.2 million salary was being paid by an insurance company before he made his comeback, and now that money is coming out of Les Alexander's wallet. If there is a Knicks-Rockets trade for McGrady, Cuttino Mobley's contract would be a piece, and that is being paid by an insurance company, too. that is one strong asset the Kniks have in their favor in the T-Mac chase, because there aren't a lot of teams out there with the goods to get him since you have to put an awful lot of money together to meet the 125 percent rule as it relates to T-Mac's $23.2 salary.
Have you seen the Mavs stifling defense, not to mention their unprecedented balance on offense?! Seriously though, they're like one trade for a backup center away from being a championship favorite, right?
Bottom line on the West, whether I'm speaking of the Mavs, the Spurs, the Suns, the Nuggets, the Jazz ... I don't see any of them beating the Lakers unless Kobe keeps breaking bones.
Chris, if the Hawks actually take two from the Cavs Tuesday and Wednesday night, can they finally be considered a top 2 team in this league?
Top 2? No. They are not better than Boston. But this certainly is a nice measuring stick week for the Hawks with this back-to-back, and I will be in Cleveland for the second night of it to assess how they fared. If they win 'em both, Stein might put them back at No. 1 in his Monday Power Rankings like he did back in November.
D o you think the San Antonio Spurs got everybody fooled again with starting slow again even though they are older? While all the attention is on Boston, Orlando, LA and Cleveland, Spurs are known to get it together during the famous rodeo trip and are unstoppable after that?
It's different this year, Jaron, because they are integrating so many new guys. I was speaking about this very subject with Coach Popovich last night, and he made the valid point that if the playoffs started now, they'd get waxed. Something to watch for in the days ahead is whether he makes a change at 2-guard (Keith Bogans, the starter, hasn't made a FG in the past three games!) and gives Roger Mason a little more run. He's still trying to figure out how to use Blair most effectively, so this season is going to be an 82-game exercise in getting used to each other. Beyond that, I do not see them as a legit threat to get out of the 2nd round.
Why haven't the Lakers gone after Jerry Stackhouse? Their bench is terrible this year, he couldn't play any worse than Vujacic.
Jerry is wondering that very same thing. If you have satellite radio, you can hear Jerry speak on that issue himself. (He has a Monday night show on Mad Dog Radio). Last week Jerry trashed D'Antoni, so you can at least count on not having to worry about the Knicks signing him before the Lakers make up their minds about whether they want him. For what it is worth, Jerry told me he and Kobe have a very good relationship.
Is Vinny really what has gone wrong with the Bulls this year? And who would you replace him with?
The No. 1 thing that went wrong was they chose not to replace their No. 1 offensive guy, Ben Gordon, because they wanted to hold cap space for 2010. So Vinny had that working against him from the start, which didn't exactly help his cause. As for who I'd replace him with? Whoever has the best relationship with D.Wade. (And you may want to remember that D.Wade and all the Team USA guys got close to Doug Collins during the Olympics in Beijing, with a bunch of them going straight over to Doug and hugging him at the conclusion of the gold medal game against Spain.)
Is they anyway the Jazz could get Robinson. If so do you think he would help the Jazz now that Manyor is gone?
I assume you mean Nate, but it would be tough for NY and Utah to do a straight up deal involving him because of his base-year comp status. Also, I'd opine that Nate and Jerry Sloan would be quite a cumbustible pairing. For now, I think the Jazz want to be patient with Korver and see what he is going to be able to give them if he can ewver get back somewhere near 100 percent.
TMac is a lot of money but what about the Bulls? Seems like John Salmons is on the outs and the bulls prefer hinrich over him. With the Rockets needing a Center. Would a trade of Miller, Salmons and Jerome James work? Seems like a trade like that makes perfect sense now that Tyrus is back and bulls dont seem to high on salmons anymore.
Salmons' money is a deal-killer there, and Miller is done. David Anderson is twice the player that Brad is at this point in their careers, so I see this one making no sense for the Rockets.
Are the Celtics going to try to find a true pointguard to backup Rondo?
That will be Topic A in the time between the end of the trade deadline and March 1, when players must be waived to still retain playoff eligibility. There will be some buyout guys out there (Rafer Alston comes to mind as a prime example), and I don;t think the Celts are as confident in what Marquis Daniels can provide as they were going into the season.
Thanks for stopping by, folks. We'll chat again next Monday at 3 p.m. EST. Everyone have a safe and happy New Year's Eve.