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January 27, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (2:02 PM)

Greetings everyone. Lots going on with All-Star rosters about to be announced, plus trades, rookie game and 3-point shootout and what not. Let's get to it.

J (CA)

PLEASE tell me the Lakers are seriously contemplating the Hinrich move. Phil Jackson has to be the only person left on the planet who still views Derek Fisher as a serviceable point guard (let alone a starter on a contending team)

John Hollinger
  (2:03 PM)

I think the problem here is money -- I don't think Dr. Buss is anxious to spend an extra $18 million in 2010-11 money when his team is good enough to win the West as it is. If Lakers don't make a deal, that will be why.

avon (baltimore)

Whats your view on derrick rose past month/month and a half? I know he doesn't have the highest per but using the eye test you gotta admit hes been pretty darn impressive

John Hollinger
  (2:04 PM)

Actually his PER over the past month has been outstanding too, it's just weighed down by all the mediocre play that preceded it. He's having the same season Deron Williams had a year ago -- a miserable two months while he tried to play through an ankle injury, followed by the brilliance we had all been expecting.

Thomas (KC, MO)

It's a good thing the Nets have Brook Lopez. According to your stats page, he's added an estimated 8.6 wins to their total. What's your prediction on the Nets, worst record ever?

John Hollinger
  (2:06 PM)

Kudos to the Nets for pushing my stat to theoretical limits that I'd never expected to see tested. New Jerseys' average scoring margin is -13.0 per game; I didn't think it was possible a team could become this bad in the modern era, and amazingly they did it while thinking they had a somewhat competent team entering the season.

Dennis (IL)

What are the prospects of the Cavs upgrading the roster? Will anyone play ball with them or will teams be reluctant to deal with them because they don't want to help them get better?

John Hollinger
  (2:07 PM)

Teams in the West will deal with them, as will bottom feeders in the East. Really the only ones who'd be reluctant are a) teams trying to lure LeBron after the season, and b) L.A., Boston, Orlando and Atlanta. But I'd say about 20 teams will play ball with them.

Matt (Glastonbury, CT)

What are your impressions of Michael Beasley so far this season? And do you think the Miami Heat will be able to attract a big-name free agent this off-season?

John Hollinger
  (2:08 PM)

Disappointing, and I can't quite put my finger on why he isn't murdering people with his combo of quickness and shooting ability. As far as Miami's free-agent hopes, I think they'll absolutely get a player because of the appeal of the city and the presence of Wade. They're going to be first or second on every prospective FAs list.

Rob (Sacramento, CA)

Kevin Martin looks lost, since his return. It's clearly Tyreke's team. Here's my questions, with Martin and Kenny Thomas' EC, will the Kings get any moves made before the deadline? From a fans perspective I'd like to see both of the following:KT/Garcia or Nocioni for Hinrich/Tyrus ThomasMartin/Rodriguez/Armstrong/Hawes for Amare (regardless of him re-signing or not)

John Hollinger
  (2:09 PM)

Part of me wonders if Martin would look a lot less "lost" if some of those open Js started finding the net. But I'd much rather see Sac play Evans off the ball, even if it means trying to play him at 3, because I've never been convinced that he's a PG and they have two capable alternatives in Udrih and Rodriguez.

John Hollinger
  (2:10 PM)

And no, I didn't expect to be calling Udrih "capable" at this point in the season either.

Jake (Denver)

Hey Prof Hollinger! Your Per Diem is the reason I finally upgraded to Insider. Channing Frye seems to be adapting to his bench role, but the Suns can't believe the Lesser Lopez is the answer at the 5. Have you heard anything on this front? What happens to their lineup if Amar'e is moved?

John Hollinger
  (2:11 PM)

Thanks for joining. I think if Amare leaves Frye moves into the starting spot at the 4; obviously that depends in part on what they get back, however. Along those lines, I'm having trouble seeing a San Antonio deal as their best option. It saves them money, but if all they come away with is George Hill or something of that ilk, couldn't they have done better?

John Hollinger
  (2:12 PM)

Another food item for thought: Amare makes $16 mil next year if he doesn't opt out. I greatly doubt he's a $16 mil player this summer, even if teams whiff on LeBron and get desperate. So Suns have to consider possibility that he doesn't opt out.

Jay (South Carolina)

Will Derrick Rose make the all-star reserves?

John Hollinger
  (2:13 PM)

I don't think he will, but he has a much stronger case than anyone would have guessed a month ago. I think only two guards will make it as reserves (Rondo and Johnson) and that Rose is third on the list.

Lance (Pdx)

Hey John, Is Amare a good fit for the Brooklyn Nets? Or a better fit for the Bulls?

John Hollinger
  (2:13 PM)

I don't think the Nets are worrying about "fit" at this point. They just need talent, any talent, anywhere.

Jeremy (Oregon)

Even though B. Roy has missed a few games do you still see him making the All Star game? Also do you see the Blazers making a move before the trade deadline? thanks

John Hollinger
  (2:14 PM)

Yes and yes. Roy will make the All-Star team as a reserve guard. I do think the Blazers will make a move, likely involving the expiring contract of either Outlaw or Blake and a big man coming back to Stumptown.

John (Cleveland)

Is Antwan Jamison still on clevelands wish list

John Hollinger
  (2:15 PM)

Yes, the issue is that Washington probably can get better offers than what Cleveland can do. By the way, I'm hearing the Wizards are asking way too much for their players right now.

Tim (NYC)

It will be a crime if Lee gets snubbed for the East All-Star squad. Also, Iverson as a starter is ridiculous. They hafta switch over to the NFL format, where fans, coaches, & players all have a say in who gets selected.

John Hollinger
  (2:16 PM)

That's hardly a panacea -- coaches and players are just as capable of stupidity as the fans. Lee won't be shafted because of Iverson -- the guy who will likely be hurt by that is Rose (or perhaps Andre Iguodala).

Jonathan (Canada)

Hey John,Who do you think will be selected for the 3 point shootout in dallas?Anyway Andrea Bargani gets a nod?

John Hollinger
  (2:18 PM)

Daequan Cook will be invited back even though he can't make a shot this year, so that takes us down to five other invitees. My dream five would be Peja, Nash, Gallinari, Billups and Morrow; I suspect a couple of those guys will decline the invite, but they may also try to wedge in Jason Terry to appease the hometown folks. Bargnani has to be on any list of potential invitees, but I think the odds are against him being selected.

Raiquan (Georgia)

Think anyone from the Cavs make the 3 point shooting contest?

John Hollinger
  (2:19 PM)

Yes, Daniel Gibson was the next guy on my list and I could easily see him being selected.

guinness (NY, NY)

Was Flynn over Lawson for the rookie game the right choice? It seems Lawson got snubbed...

John Hollinger
  (2:20 PM)

Lawson should have made it over Curry. Unfortunately rookie game picks have been far more dependent on minutes than productivity; Curry hasn't been bad but Lawson has been vastly better.

Jen (Mahwah, New Jersey)

Why would Philly trade Iguodala, even for cap relief? Nobody's going to their games now, and without AI2, they may as well just cancel the rest of the season.

John Hollinger
  (2:22 PM)

Wow, a question from my hometown! The only way it maeks sense to me to deal Iguodala is if they can put either Brand or Dalembert+Kapono into the deal and get expirings in return; doing so would make them a player in free agency next summer and they could try again. Obviously that's massive money for another team to take on and so I doubt anything happens; a McGrady deal would be about the only semi-plausible option.

Jeff (Cleveland)

Lawson vastly better than Curry? What are you smoking down there?

John Hollinger
  (2:27 PM)

I had no expectation that I would need to defend this statement, but enough people apparently believe Curry is better that I guess I must. Per-minute, they create just as many shots and score just as many points, but Lawson has more assists, fewer turnovers and shoots a higher percentage; plus, he periodically guards people. The only difference is that Lawson was drafted by a team that already had Chauncey Billups, so he only plays 22 minutes a game. But he's clearly been better.

Paul (Toronto)

I read somewhere that the Spurs might be interested in trading for Amare. Good idea or bad idea?

John Hollinger
  (2:27 PM)

Smacks of desperation if you ask me, but Spurs see the clock ticking and know they don't have the goods to win anything with the present roster.

Jon (NYC)

Lawson over Flynn, not Curry. Lawson > Curry > Flynn.

John Hollinger
  (2:28 PM)

You can make a credible argument that way, yes.

Paul Millsap (SLC)

So John, I've been working the trade machine to see if we can move Boozer so I can finally get the starting job I earned. Why don't we trade Booze (who will more than likely not resign with us) for a capable wing like KEVIN MARTIN? Makes sense for both teams.

John Hollinger
  (2:31 PM)

I'm not seeing it. The Jazz could pay Boozer $11 mil next year just like they'd have to pay Martin; the reason they're looking at Boozer deals is because they want to get that money off the books and get under the tax.

K (Boston)

Do you think Paul Pierce would be a good candidate for this year's 3 point contest?

John Hollinger
  (2:32 PM)

Yes, he'd be a good one too. Problem every year is that there are far more qualified candidates than places in the contest; plus they tend to magnify the problem with idiot choices (like the infamous Antoine Walker invite).

Kenny (Richmond va)

Kevin Durant should be on the western all-star squad no questions asked. If he keeps improving at the rate he is now I think its safe to say hes the second best shooting gaurd in the league behind Kobe Bryant.

John Hollinger
  (2:34 PM)

I hope you either a) meant the Western Conference or b) momentarily forgot Dwyane Wade is still in the league. Also, Durant hasn't played any shooting guard this year -- he's strictly a small forward. It's a better comparison to say he's pushing Melo for the title of second-best small forward after LeBron.

Sachikevious (Greece)

You should try watching a Warrior game every now and then John. Curry SHUTDOWN Tyreke Evans in the second half of last nights game.

John Hollinger
  (2:36 PM)

And the Golden State homers are back. Question for fans in the Bay: At what point do you turn on this team? How many 27-55 campaigns will you need to suffer through before you stop slurping up every drop of PR spin thrown your away about this team?

Mark (Shoreview, IL)

Would Kevin Love merit ASG consideration if he had been healthy all season?

John Hollinger
  (2:38 PM)

I think he'd have a strong case. Of course he'd have no chance of getting votes because of his team's record, but Love's per-minute production this year is off the charts.

Scott (San Antonio)

Would the Spurs consider trading Tony Parker?

John Hollinger
  (2:39 PM)

Well, they were fine with trading Parker if it brought back Chris Paul. Short of that I don't think it's a major consideration for them. Tony has certainly looked like he's lost a gear this year, and I presume the plantar fasciitis is a big reason why.

Jerry (Atlanta, GA)

How many Atlanta Hawks are allstars this year? They have one of the best records in the league.

John Hollinger
  (2:40 PM)

I say two: Smith and Johnson get in and Horford misses out. It's possible they could only get one, and possible they get all three, but my money is on two.

Josh (DC)

I usually don't ask questions like this, but how is the Finals and champion % calculated on your playoff rater? For example, the Nuggets have a greater chance to win the NW, and get the first seed than the Jazz (and are up 3-0 this season on the Jazz (including a win in Utah sans Melo and Chauncey)), yet the Jazz have a better chance to win the west and the championship. Where is the disconnect coming from?

John Hollinger
  (2:42 PM)

The Playoff Odds see Utah as a better team, but because the Nuggets have a lead on them in the standings it doesn't necessarily follow that the Jazz will have caught up by the end of the year. So Utah would enter the playoffs as a lower seed but be favored against several teams seeded above them. That's why you see the disconnect.

James (OH)

Anderson Varejao for DPOY. Some people laughed, but I agree. Can you defend your selection to us, maybe why he's been better than DHoward or JSmith?

John Hollinger
  (2:44 PM)

I see Smith every day and he's been really good, but the Hawks are only a middle of the pack defensive team overall and have some other pretty good defenders, so it's hard for me to argue he's been more impactful than any other defender in basketball. Howard, as I've noted in other spots, looks a half-step slower to me than he seemed a year ago. Varejao has been a monstrous presence all five times I've seen the Cavs in person, and that may be unduly influencing me, but his numbers back up my subjective viewpoint.

Adam (Bay Area)

Which of your picks for the All-Star game do you see as the most likely to be snubbed. I don't see four PGs getting picked in the West, as you have it, and that looks like a snub for Deron or Chuancey where I'm sitting.

John Hollinger
  (2:44 PM)

I think Billups will be snubbed for Chris Kaman. While Kaman making it is totally indefensible, the momentum on this one is taking on a life of its own.

Travis (SLC)

You mentioned D-Will last year, but is he good enough this year to make the All-Star game? Anyone from the surging Jazz?

John Hollinger
  (2:45 PM)

I see Williams as almost certain to make it, Boozer is a much bigger question and I think he'll end up missing. Just too many good forwards and guards in the West.

David Kahn (MN)

So you're saying you're not impressed that I drafted three point guards in the first round this year and the worst one is the only one on the roster? It's not that easy to do.

John Hollinger
  (2:48 PM)

I know they're trying to rebuild and take the long view in Minny, but the draft-day shenanigans don't look any less head-scratching today than they seemed at the time and the pieces they have are fitting terribly.

Ian (Toronto)

Who picks the Rookie team? DeRozan hasn't been amazing, but he is playing solid ball for a play-off team and I think he should have made it.

John Hollinger
  (2:49 PM)

They have to pick at least four forwards and centers, which meant they could only take five guards, which pretty much doomed DeRozan. He wasn't even the best guard left off --- that would be Lawson -- and Sam Young had a strong case to be next in line after Lawson.

Chad (Dallas)

Do you think this will be the worst 3 point contest in history because of the enormous size of cowboy stadium?

John Hollinger
  (2:51 PM)

Not having it there -- only the All-Star Game itself will be at the Stadium. The other events will be at American Airlines Arena, or Center. (I still get confused between Dallas and Miami).

Felix (Riga, Latvia)

Don't you think the Spurs will make their annual late season run? Why not?

John Hollinger
  (2:52 PM)

Remember, the Spurs didn't make their late run last year, and this season the odds are stacked against them as well because they're about to face the teeth of their schedule. It's not just the rodeo road trip, they have several high-profile contests afterward.

Jimmie (Bay Area)

Question for you, since I'm a homer. In the past 4 years how many 27-55 records have the Warriors put up?

John Hollinger
  (2:54 PM)

They went 29-53 last year and will end up something like 25-57 this year. I thought it was a pretty fair estimate ...

PDP (Walnut,CA)

I understand your endorsing of Nene and Marc Gasol over Chris Kaman as that is arguable, but Andrew Bynum? Bynum has been inconsistent all year, and the Clippers' record would be like the Nets or Twolves without Kaman. Do you even watch Clipper games? His defense has been solid, his offense has been exemplary.

John Hollinger
  (2:58 PM)

The Lakers are an elite defensive team; The Clippers are not. A big chunk of that is Bynum's presence around the basket, even though he hasn't been as active as he was at the start of last year. Offensively Bynum scores three points per 40 minutes less but converts at a much higher clip (60.3 TS% vs. 53.8%), which is why his PER is well ahead of Kaman's

CC (Atlanta)

What's your theory on why the crowds in Atlanta are so light? IMO it has nothing to do with being a fair weather town b/c this team is really good. Is it b/c they are on TV every night? Economy? Ownership?

John Hollinger
  (3:01 PM)

My hypothesis is that there are two big reasons: 1) traffic + sprawl, and 2) the SEC. For most people it's simply not worth the hassle to drive in from their far-flung burbs to take in a game. And many of those inclined to being rabid sports fans are ridiculously invested in their college teams -- football moreso, but basketball too -- limiting their attention span for the NBA. I realize there are college fans everywhere, but they take it to a completely different level in the south.

John Hollinger
  (3:02 PM)

Folks that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the great questions. I'll be your embedded Celtics reporter the next two nights -- seeing them in Orlando tomorrow and then back here in Atlanta on Friday -- so be sure to check out my dispatches from those games. We'll do this again next week, probably on Wednesday again but be sure to check out the schedule.