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July 23, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John hollinger
  (3:00 PM)

Greetings everyone. Before we start, let me make sure I have this straight. Chris Paul is upset at the way the Hornets have been operated ... and as a result he wants to go to that landmark of organizational operating efficiency known as the Knicks?!?!?!?

Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)

I am a Knicks fan and have had nothing to be excited about for about 100 years. Now, I hear Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and I am starting to get my hopes up again. Is there really a shot that this could happen or should I temper my expectations?

John hollinger
  (3:02 PM)

Could get one or the other, but really no shot I can see at getting both. Getting Paul requires taking on Okafor at a minimum, and probably Posey too, which kills any chance of having enough cap space for Melo. Only way they could get both is if CP plays out the last two years of his contract and becomes a free agent in 2012.

Will (New Orleans)

What jersey will CP3 be wearing on opening day?

John hollinger
  (3:03 PM)

I still say Hornets. Paul still has two years left on his deal, which means he can bristle all he wants but he really has very little leverage. If you'll recall we had a similar situation two summers ago with a fellow named Kobe; that one worked out OK for the Lakers if I remember correctly.

Joseph (Portland, OR)

Chances of the Blazers landing Chris Paul if he gets traded at all? What would that package look like?

John hollinger
  (3:04 PM)

**IF** the Hornets put CP on the market -- which I seriously doubt will happen until midseason at the absolute earliest -- the Blazers are in great position to win a bidding war because of the exirings (Przybilla + Miller) and all the other young assets they can put into a deal.

John hollinger
  (3:04 PM)

One thing for Blazer fans to remember, however, is that getting CP fundamentally will change how they play. Brandon Roy in particular would have to radically alter his game, and Nate McMillan would have to change a lot of how he does things.

revisionist (history)

2 summers ago lakers lost to boston in the finals, i think you mean three summers ago

John hollinger
  (3:06 PM)

Time flies when you're having fun. Indeed, that is already three years old. Wow. I remember having a brew with Chris Sheridan on the Riverwalk at the '07 Finals trying to figure out where Kobe would end up ... I can tell you, we didn't think "Lakers" would be the answer.

Ricky Tuck (Clemson, SC)

I don't see Chris Paul seriously going anywhere except for to the Knicks. I think all this talk of him teaming up with Amare and Carmelo after this coming season is very real. They all three probably see it as the only way to beat the three, by simply forming another three.

John hollinger
  (3:08 PM)

It's not realistic at all under the cap, however. And the Hornets are under no obligation to trade him to New York, and the Knicks are unlikely to have enough assets to win what will essentially become a 29-team bidding war. I still think the best odds are Orlando -- the non-guaranteed Vince contract, the young assets like Anderson and Orton, the ability to take Posey AND Okafor off their hands -- it all adds up.

Rudy Fernandez (Portland)

Where am I playing next season? Do you think this new GM can send me somewhere I want to play or am I going back to Europe?

John hollinger
  (3:09 PM)

He's not going back to Europe, no matter what his people try to feed to Spanish papers, because he still has a contract for at least one (and most likely two) more seasons over here. I think Rudy to New Orleans makes all kinds of sense, but Blazers may not be in a mood to help Hornets improve right now.

JR (Edmonton, AB)

Why are people dissing the Amir Johnson contract? Good big men who rebound and defend and finish well cost money. Amir can be Noah/Varejao if he gets his fouls down

John hollinger
  (3:11 PM)

Amir blocks shots, but I'm not sure you'd really call him a good defender at this point. I suppose that could change. He also has no shooting range, which makes him an odd duck in Toronto's system. It's possible it will work out, but five year deals for half-good players have a long history of ending in disaster.

Andrew (Corvallis OR)

so you think that the non-guaranteed Vince contract, the young assets like Anderson and Orton are a better package then rudy bayless miller priz and camby for CP3 okafor and posey?

John hollinger
  (3:13 PM)

It's a close call. Hornets already have two good young guards so the young bigs would be more valuable to them. Not much need for Camby in a rebuilding project, they'd presumably try to flip him to a third team, and that second year he's owed changes their cap picture.

Chris Paul (New Orleans)

I demand to take my talents to Denver with my boy Melo, make this happen:Me (Chris Paul), James Posey, Okafor = K-Mart, JR Smith, C-Bill (T Lawson if Shinn insists)

John hollinger
  (3:16 PM)

I'm surprised Denver isn't on his list, since that's the easiest way to team up with Melo. A deal would get really complex and involve a third or even fourth team, since Hornets would want to flip Chauncey and/or Lawson to other teams. Also, I'm not sure Nuggies have enough young talent to pull this off. But they're a sleeper.

Ben (Lansing)

Why are people so focused on what Chris Paul wants in his future team? The Hornets could trade him to any team, and if he really forces a trade, they're more likely to trade him a team that sucks but can give decent pieces in return than a contender who gives them spare parts.

John hollinger
  (3:18 PM)

The one thing CP can do is say he's going to leave his new team after two years when he hits free agency. But again, two years is a long time ... he'll have much more leverage a year from now.

Dave (Portland)

Getting away from Chris Paul talk for a moment, what's the ceiling on Wes Matthews?

John hollinger
  (3:19 PM)

I'm not sure he'll justify that contract, but he's a much better fit than Andre Miller, I'll put it that way. Spot-up shooter who can also slash to rim, and he can really defend. I think a lot of nights he'll finish games, either as the 2 with Roy at the 1, or they'll go small and have Batum at 4 with Matthews at 3.

Jerry (Chicago)

Can Omer Asik contribute to the Bulls this season?

John hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

Yes, I really liked him in the draft and thought he should have been a mid-first-round pick. Probably needs to add strength and first year can be a rough one for Euro rookies, but he'll be a decent backup C.

brian (de)

Should I assume any Orlando deal would include Jameer Nelson? If not to NO then has to be to someone bc makes no sense to have Nelson and Paul.

John hollinger
  (3:22 PM)

I think that's a fair assumption; I presume they would route Nelson to a third team since the Hornets don't seem to need him either.

James (Anchorage)

Have not seen your update on the Lakers signing of Barnes and Ratliff. What/if any will this impact the Lakers chances for next year?

John hollinger
  (3:24 PM)

I like the Barnes addition a lot at that price, but it really doesn't change anything for LA -- they were overwhelming favorites to win the West before getting Barnes, and now they still are. Will be interested to see how much they use him as a smallball 4 -- Phil historically hasn't done much of that.

Nick (Wisconsin)

Who had the second best off season behind Miami this year?

John hollinger
  (3:24 PM)

Next week's column topic. Let's not spoil it just yet.

Winston (Los Angeles)

What's the worst contract in the NBA right now? I contend it's Peja at $15.3 million (or maybe the one Darko just signed).

John hollinger
  (3:25 PM)

Elton Brand. Peja only has one year left, but Brand has three at a total of about $50 million.

Jordan (NEW ORLEANS)

DO you think CP3 is giving up on the Hornets if you remember when the Hornets won 56 games they were healthy. The next season Tyson Chandler was hurt a lot and they only won 49 games. Last year CP was hurt. They have good pieces with Thornton, Pondexter, and Collison. I think if they stay healthy they could win 50-52 games

John hollinger
  (3:26 PM)

I think you're right -- they were 18-10 last year in between the two CP injuries, and he wasn't 100% for much of it -- but he's frustrated at their complete non-participation in the free-agent market. Partly that's been because they fired the GM in the middle of free agency, which isn't really the optimal way to go about this.

Jeff Klepper (Los Angeles)

What do you think of the Lakers off-season signings? Ratliff, Barnes and Blake make the Lakers a lot stronger where last season they were barely able to go to their bench for help.

John hollinger
  (3:27 PM)

I'm not sure they change that much. Blake is a better fit than Jordan Farmar, but I'm not sure you'll get much from Ratliff, and if Barnes replaces Shannon Brown the production will be about the same there. They're better, but we're talking fairly minor upgrades here.

Greg (Austin)

Speaking of Peja, what can the Hornets get for Peja's expiring deal? Couldn't that net a significant player?

John hollinger
  (3:28 PM)

Only in the robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul way that the Hornets have managed their cap the last three years-- they could trade him for a slightly better player with another year left on his contract at less money. Anything returning a genuinely good player would require including Collison.

John hollinger
  (3:30 PM)

Also, there's one other important thing to remember everyone: Expiring contracts won't be worth diddly this year as long as teams like Cleveland and Toronto are sitting on massive trade exceptions and several other teams (Nets, Kings, Wolves, etc.) are well under the cap.

M Prokorov (Former USSR)

Do I know what I'm doing? Outlaw 5 years at 7mm per, Johan Petro, and BILLY FREAKING KING??

John hollinger
  (3:32 PM)

Well, at least there was a plan. The Nets went after all young free agents. I like the Farmar and Morrow deals especially. Petro and Outlaw, not so much. But I agree with your basic point: I'm not getting a good vibe about how they run things over there under the new regime. I don't get the King hiring, and I don't like that it appears to be Avery Johnson's show on personnel.

Chris ((Heaven))

Any chance Mavs get Paul and who would they trade for him?

John hollinger
  (3:33 PM)

As much as I'd love to see CP and Dirk run a screen and roll, I have a hard time putting a winning deal together. Chandler, Butler and Stevenson give you the matching money, but Beaubois would be the only prospect ... unless you could deal Kidd to a third team and get another prospect to send to Hornets.

John hollinger
  (3:34 PM)

Remember, for any of these teams, you can make a deal that works under the cap. But the key is that it must be the winning bid -- i.e., better than anything Portland or Orlando can throw out there.

John (MT)

How well do you think a player like Ante Tomic will transfer to the NBA? His PER in Europe is high, but it seems like he will get pushed around by stronger players here.

John hollinger
  (3:35 PM)

yes and yes. I like Tomic but he'll probably need a an adjustment period when he comes over here.

ruobing (china)

Hey. Any chance jeff green get an extension b4 season start? Also, the thunder have signed Royal Ivey, so they have 16 players under contract, maybe some trade soon?

John hollinger
  (3:38 PM)

I highly doubt Green gets an extension -- Thunder want to know what the new CBA rules will be before they commit $$ to anyone besides Durant. As for the roster, I suspect a buyout is coming for Mo Peterson.

Brad Miller's Signing (Houston)

Curious how you feel about this move? I trust Morey's stats and instincts, but seems an odd fit for this team, no?

John hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

I think Adelman really wanted him too. Miller had a bad year in Chicago last year and he's getting up there in years, so this definitely doesn't qualify as a "value" signing. Unfortunately the market for bigs was really inflated this year -- the same reason Scola got so much dough.

Aaron (Dallas)

How do you think Splitter will fair this season? Is he the sleeper ROY?

John hollinger
  (3:40 PM)

I doubt he'll play enough minutes to win ROY, but he's a good bet to make first-team All-Rookie

Jeff (Dayton)

Do the 2010 Eastern Conference Champs have anything to be excited about? Marquis Daniels re-upped. Yay?

John hollinger
  (3:42 PM)

The one card left in their pocket is to trade Rasheed Wallace (and let his new team buy him out) to get, hopefully, a decent stretch 4. Otherwise, as you point out, it's the same team except older, with Perk out for half the year.

Franz Osenbrot (Berlin, Germany)

John, is Lin really an NBA player, or more of a PR-signing up in GS? Did John Wall maybe just not give 100% in that - for him - meaningless summer league game?

John hollinger
  (3:43 PM)

I had Lin rated as a high second-rounder and was surprised he went undrafted. While I think it is partly a PR ploy by the Warriors, because they do this kind of stuff, I do believe he's an NBA player as a 10th-11th man type.

John (Santa Barbara, CA)

Gilbert Arenas makes more money for more years and has a horrible off court history. How is his contract NOT worse than Elton Brands? The ESPN bias towards Phialdlephia sports is tiresome. Arenas contract is worse

John hollinger
  (3:44 PM)

Arenas has a strong case since his contract goes one year longer, but he was much more productive on the court last year than Brand.

Kyle (San Diego)

Is Don Nelson gone once the ownership transition is complete? Will they seek out a more fundamentals and defensive-oriented coach? Please say yes...

John hollinger
  (3:44 PM)

That has always been the presumption, but the truth is, nobody knows yet.

Stockton's Shorts (SLC)

Do the jazz have any shot of acquiring two blazers that are being dangled in trades, Fernandez and Pryzbilla?

John hollinger
  (3:46 PM)

Rudy would help them with his shooting, but I'm not seeing a workable trade there. Przybilla, by the way, is rehabbing a knee injury and might need a while to come around. He's mainly valuable for the expiring contract right now.

Joe (SA)

Would you give up Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter & Antonio McDyess to get Chris Paul

John hollinger
  (3:47 PM)

In 0.00003 seconds. But it will take more than that to get a deal done -- you gotta take on Okafor at a minimum, and probably Posey too.

Sal (Dallas)

Any word on where Kevin Pritchard is likely to end up?

John hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

There are no open GM jobs at the moment, but if and when Golden State's opens up the expectation is that he'll be on the short list.

Al Jefferson (Utah)

Am I a better fit, younger, and just better than Boozer over the next 5?

John hollinger
  (3:49 PM)

We'll see. Certainly Jefferson is a better fit with Millsap, and gives the Jazz a low-post component. The question is how much the knee comes back this year -- he couldn't move well at all last season.

Majeed (San Dee)

Joe Johnson has the worst contract in the league by FAR!

John hollinger
  (3:49 PM)

Good one. I'd say Richard Jefferson is moving up the rankings as well.

Kyle (San Diego)

Does Paul need to approve of his desired trade? If he keeps bad-mouthing the Hornets whats to stop them from shipping him off to a non-contender who could provide more in a trade than a top team...

John hollinger
  (3:51 PM)

Paul doesn't have a no-trade clause. The only thing he can do is tell the potential new team that he'll opt out in two years and leave as a free agent. Kobe was in a much stronger position because he had a no-trade clause.

Bob ((det))

Do you think we will ever see the day where a franchise can franchise one plyer on their team. I think it is a shame that teams like Toronto lose their best players because of the location of the team. It kills the fans in the end

John hollinger
  (3:51 PM)

I think we could easily see that in the next CBA, yes.

Mike (Tallahassee)

Joe Johnson's contract is terrible, but let's be realistic. Several teams were lining up to give him a max deal just two months ago. At least he is still an all-star caliber player, unlike guys like Arenas or Brand.

John hollinger
  (3:52 PM)

That's why I didn't mention him originally -- Johnson is overpaid, but he can still play. That's a very different situation from having "dead money" sitting on your cap.

Rashard Lewis' contract (Orlando)

*whistling*

7th Seed (New York)

Is this where the knicks wind up this season? Whats the highest you see them potentially finishing in the East with the roster as is? And what are the chances they make the playoffs, period? Thanks

John hollinger
  (3:55 PM)

I think they're more respectable, a playoff contender perhaps, but I wouldn't call them a likely playoff team. On paper, six teams look like they'll be back (Orl, Mia, Chi, Atl, Bos, Mil), so only two spots left ... Knicks, Charlotte, Cleveland, and Philly would seem most likely candidates for last two spots. Could be a 35-win No. 8 seed.

tbucky34 (boston)

Prediction: Celtics will be a bottom 3 seed and will go one and done. Ainge wanted to build this team after 2 years but the owners wanted Pierce at all costs. How bad will PP's 4 year deal hurt the Celtics?

John hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

I actually thought Boston did a great job of building this year's team to have a two-year window -- all the other guys expire in two years -- and then being able to blowing it up. Pierce's deal going longer doesn't change the picture that much.

Josh (Chicago)

Do you think the Bulls made the best of a bad situation? I think they have been pretty smart with the length and $ on contracts given out to Korver, Brewer, Watson etc. As long as Boozer can play about 70 games a year, I think they did well this summer.

John hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

I agree. The Brewer signing isn't great in terms of fit, but value-wise they probably felt like they had to do it. Would still like to see them add another shooter on the wing.

Matt (Fort Collins)

Does Jefferson learn to make a jumper off the screen-n-roll or does D-will run that with someone else mostly (millsap)?

John hollinger
  (3:58 PM)

The latter. When they run it with Jefferson, he'll be diving straight to the basket.

Bob (Montgomery)

Yes, but they did not have to sign Pierce for four years. There's no way he's any good four years from now.

John hollinger
  (3:59 PM)

If they wanted to keep him they probably did. Have you seen the other deals that got signed this summer?

Chris (MS)

Celtics need a defender. What are the chances of them getting Shannon Brown? They also, need another big so wouldn't signing Mbenga be a good idea?

John hollinger
  (4:00 PM)

Celtics don't have a midlevel or a biannual exception, so they're left with minimum deals and whatever they can get in a trade for Sheed. That takes them out of running for Brown. Mbenga is a more realistic possibility.

Adil (LA)

Do you think the rockets have a shot at cp3? i know they werent mentioned as one of his preferred destinations but with there assets and the fact that paul has 2 years left on his deal i think theres a chance

John hollinger
  (4:01 PM)

I think he could be convinced yes, and Houston has some assets they could use to make a winning bid, plus the Rockets aren't afraid to pay tax. A dark horse for sure.

tbucky34 (boston)

Rookie, Avery Bradley is Boston's "Shannon Brown".

John hollinger
  (4:02 PM)

Pretty much. He's an elite defender so he'll probably be their new Tony Allen.

Charlie (CT)

do you think denver will get another Big? Williams is not the answer n

John hollinger
  (4:03 PM)

The issue is resources -- Denver only has biannual exception left so it's not much of a lure, and in a trade they'd pretty much have to give up Lawson.

Rhett (Canada)

How bad will the Raptors be this year? I'm hoping for a top 3 pick. Am I going to be disappointed?

John hollinger
  (4:03 PM)

Unfortunately for you, I think they'll be just good enough to land later in the lottery.

John hollinger
  (4:04 PM)

Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the great questions. Summer schedule is a little irregular but we'll do this again soon -- I'll post an update on my Twitter (@johnhollinger) when I know.