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December 10, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Ric Bucher

Ric Bucher
  (1:04 PM)

Good morning/afternoon everybody. Thanks for joining me. Nothing speaks to the respect Kobe Bryant has for Derrick Rose than the psychological trick he pulled with the anointing-Rose quotes today. Unless, of course, you think it's an accident that he'd say all that to appear the day the Lakers are playing the Bulls - after getting a taste of how far Rose has come just a week or so ago. That's the kind of stuff that messes with a young guy's head and Kobe knows it. So, with that, let's get going...

James (Dayton)

Ric - If NBA GMs were given their pick of the following players for the next decade, how do you think they would be desired (in order):Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Steph Curry? Thanks

Lee (NYC)

Right now, rank these 6 PGs based on who you would start a franchise with TODAY: Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, John Wall

Ric Bucher
  (1:08 PM)

On the GMs, I'd say that's exactly the order in which they'd put them. For me, starting a franchise today is a tricky question. If I want to win right now, it's a toss-up as to who I'd take first DWill or DRose. If it's building for the future, I'm going Rose. CP3 would be in the convo if it weren't for knee that clearly isn't right and his injury history raises doubts. So moving forward, I'd go Rose, Russ, Rajon. The other two are really a half-generation ahead.

Thomas (Indiana)

Does certain teams get up to play other teams, the Orlando Magic blow out the Bulls then lose three straight, then the Celtics blowout the Bulls then barely beat the sixers by one. This is bizzaro world.

Ric Bucher
  (1:10 PM)

Some of it is getting up, more of it has to do with matchups. That's what will make these playoffs so interesting, especially in the east. Who faces who when could decide who gets the conference finals. I could see the Bulls getting there, but not if they have to get through Boston or Orlando.

Joe (Virginia)

I don't think Utah has a strong enough bench to make it out of the West. Do you?

Ric Bucher
  (1:13 PM)

I'm in the minority here, but I don't think they're as good as last year, in spite of their record. I don't like the combo of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap on the front line; the way they played vs. Miami in SLC reflects guys who haven't had to carry the water in big games and don't know how to do it. I also don't think they have enough shooting. I credit their record to Deron being other-worldly and Jerry Sloan squeezing what he can out of the rest.

Tom (Boise)

The way the Knicks are playing would it be in their best interest to make a trade for 'Melo if in fact Denver becomes open minded to a trade with them and if so what would it take on the Knicks part to get it done should they choose to go through with it?

Ric Bucher
  (1:17 PM)

Was looking for another question that posed a trade sending Fields, Curry, Gallo and Chandler to Denver for Melo. If I'm the Knicks, I don't do anything until I get through this next stretch. Not convinced their record right now isn't, in a big way, a figment of their schedule. In any case, I don't see Den dealing him unless they get back at least a potential future star and the Knicks don't have the wherewithal to do that. I see Melo going to a team willing to risk renting him for the rest of the season. Orlando? Dallas? Portland? Those are teams that have to make a move, whether it's for Melo or somebody else.

Ric Bucher
  (1:17 PM)

Let's go rapid fire for the next 15 minutes...Ready, set...

Mike (Phoenix)

How come you won't commit to a landline so we can have a 3-man pod with you, Simmons and Steiny-Mo

Ric Bucher
  (1:18 PM)

have a landline. Ready to go. Bang on Simmons.

From The 3s (Boston, MA)

Hi Ric, There's a lot of talk in the upcoming CBA about contraction. It seems more of a threat than realistic, as Stern has always been proud of his expansion into the markets nationwide. What would you say the actual odds of this happening are, and if so, what are the min/max you foresee? Related question - will we ever see a European NBA division?

Ric Bucher
  (1:18 PM)

I see the two related. There won't be any contraction any time soon. But if Stern said to Heisley, you can have your franchise in Munich/London/Barcelona instead of Memphis, does Heisley say no?

David (OKC)

Based on what has happened with the Hornets sale to the NBA, do you think David Stern regrets ever moving them back to New Orleans? If the league could have found a public relations way to keep the team in OKC permanently and not just temporarily they would be more financially solvent right now. (Not that I'm complaining, I'd take Durant/Westbrook over Paul/West any day)

Ric Bucher
  (1:19 PM)

League knew from Day One that NO was not a market that could afford an NBA team. The owners approved the move because they don't want anyone tying their hands. Shortsighted, in my opinion.

Ric Bucher
  (1:20 PM)

It's also why I have no sympathy for them when they cry poor now and want a draconian CBA.

Ric Bucher
  (1:21 PM)

Wish more fans felt the same way, rather than accusing the players of being greedy. That weight would help justice be served.

Noah (Champaign)

Ric, am I crazy or would Jason Richardson be a perfect running mate for DRose?

Ric Bucher
  (1:21 PM)

Not crazy. Very nice complement. Or condiment. At the right price.

Mike (Iowa)

Why can't D Rose be in the running for MVP, this 22 year point guard has willed the Bulls to victories on several occasions this season. While the Bulls played the toughest NBA schedule without Boozer

Ric Bucher
  (1:21 PM)

He should be and is.

Joe (Virginia)

Seriously, does Otis Smith honestly believe the roster he has now in Orlando is enough to get to the Finals, much less actually win the whole thing?

Ric Bucher
  (1:22 PM)

No, he doesn't. But they already have a ton of money invested in this squad. If he moves VC and his expiring contract, it has to be for a guy who makes them THE favorite to come out of the east.

Alex (Houston)

Is David Kahn going to keep Ricky Rubio or move his rights at the deadline? If they do decide to move him, what will it take?

Ric Bucher
  (1:23 PM)

Every time I've talked to David, he's insisted Rubio will play in Minnesota before any place else. Unless he's sandbagging, I have to believe that's what will happen.

Michael C. (Westport, CT)

If Denver offered Carmelo and riff raff for Fields, Chandler, Gallo and Curry's expiring, would the Knicks take it? Would you?

Ric Bucher
  (1:24 PM)

Ah, here's the question - no, Denver wouldn't and I wouldn't either. Smacks of the Barkley to Phoenix for Hornacek, Perry and, dang, that other guy whose face I can see but am blanking on his name. Sorry whoever you are. No offense.

SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)

Such an interesting matchup tonight. Kobe and the Lakers vs Rose and the Bulls. One mega star on the last leg of his career and another very young potential mega star on the verge of exploding in to what could end up being one of the best players in the game, if not the best in 4-5 years. Are the Bulls a 2 away from betting thru the East an giving the Lakers a run in the finals or is Boston just too tough this year for anyone in the East?

Ric Bucher
  (1:25 PM)

I'm more interested in seeing Boozer vs. Gasol and LO. He has to be able to score against length for the Bulls to be a contender in the East, whether it's now or in the next few years. Hasn't always been able to do that.

Monterrio (Memphis)

Why do you think most people just consider stats to determine players now instead of what you see on the court?

Ric Bucher
  (1:33 PM)

Two reasons: stats are easy to latch on to and make an argument. My issue is that the stats available in hoops don't come anywhere close to capturing a player's true worth or effectiveness. I'm all for stats, but they have to be meaningful, used in context and given proper weight. Second reason: teams are complicated machines. Relationships are a huge part of what makes them work. But how do you measure effective relationships and how many people understand the way relationships have to work for a team to win? It's not as simple as liking each other or being unselfish or the sepia-toned images we like to use. I have to admit, I've been covering the league for almost two decades and I know a winning formula when I see it, but I can't always draw a diagram that would make sense to someone who doesn't see it, too.

Joe (Virginia)

What is going on with OJ Mayo this season? His up and down scoring totals and recently been coming off the bench has me confused...

Ric Bucher
  (1:35 PM)

Me, too. When he was drafted, the feeling was his upside wasn't that great but he'd be pretty good right away. Maybe we're just seeing him flatline a bit. Or maybe with Gay and Conley getting loaded up, there's the need to justify that money and Mayo's role has changed. This is one of those things I mean about an element that affects stats that isn't taken into account -- on individual or collective performance. And I haven't been around the Griz enough lately to tell you what's up. Sorry. But that's where I'd start my search.

Kelly (Pittsburgh)

Is TP the only member of San Antonio's Big Three who doesn't end up in the HOF?

Ric Bucher
  (1:36 PM)

Not sure Manu gets there, either. He would if I were voting.

Junior J. (Los Angeles )

" . . . interested in seeing Boozer vs. Gasol and LO?" Didn't you see Boozer in Round 2 last year? What's going to change?

Ric Bucher
  (1:37 PM)

I did. And I have my doubts. That's why I brought it up. But he's with a different team and a different coach. I want to see if any of that makes a difference. Not inclined to bury a guy as smart and resourceful as Booz just yet.

Sean (Illinois)

Do you think DRose lack of getting to the line is because he avoids contact, hasn't earned the respect of the officials, or a little bit of both?

Ric Bucher
  (1:42 PM)

Players who are both ultra strong and ultra quick are always hard to officiate. LBJ and Shaq went through the same issues. I don't get the questioning of Rose not getting to the line at all. If a guy is not aggressive attacking the rim, fine, it's his fault. But Rose clearly is as aggressive as anyone. My sense is that his incredible strength and body control allow him to take bumps and finish plays and the refs think, "Well, the contact must not have been that bad." He might have to act a little bit more or learn to yell upon contact. A lot of guys have had to do that. He also just beats so many guys so cleanly that they can't foul him if they wanted to; again, hard for me to see how that's Rose's fault.

Valentin (brooklyn, ny)

the Sun player you blanking on in the Barkley trade was named Andrew Lang

Ric Bucher
  (1:42 PM)

Yes, thank you. Sorry, Andrew.

Kenny (Oregon)

If it's true that the Blazers are getting ready to trade there veterans, where do you think Marcus Camby lands? I think he would be good with the 76ers since they don't have a center.

Ric Bucher
  (1:45 PM)

Marcus Camby fascinates me. If you talk to GMs, they'll tell you he's a dangerous vet to have around younger players and that he's obsessed with getting his numbers ahead of team play. Yet players will tell you he's a good teammate and he's certainly helped some teams in his day. Get the sense he's one of those high-maintenance players and it just depends on your team whether he's worth the time and energy to keep happy.

Mark (Portland)

There's a place for Manu in Simmons' proper HOF, I bet!

Justin (Fargo)

Manu is a lock for the HOF, how could he not get in?

Gooshie (Phoenix)

Manu not in the HOF? Are you crazy? Combine his International accomplishments with his NBA feats, and he is a first ballot shoo- in.

Ric Bucher
  (1:47 PM)

As I said, he'd be in if I were voting. But if you took a poll, I'm not sure he'd get in. I am sure it wouldn't be a landslide. Still haven't figured out exactly what the HOF criteria is.

edizz1e (Queens, NY)

Will Brandon Roy ever play at his previous All Star level again? Perhaps with a different team (and training staff)?

Ric Bucher
  (1:48 PM)

Team and training staff have nothing to do with his issues. He has a knee that isn't going to get better. By the sounds of it, CP3 isn't that far away from the same problem. I'd keep a close eye on that.

Sean Gordon (Brooklyn, NY)

Do you think Wilson Chandler be able to keep putting up the kinds of numbers he's been putting up in terms of scoring and blocks?And do you think Nicolas Batum will live up to the preseason hype even though he's lost his starting position to Wesley Matthews?

Ric Bucher
  (1:51 PM)

Glad someone mentioned Wes Matthews. I questioned whether he was worth the contract Portland gave him at the time. Teams aren't keying on him - that's still Roy and Lamarcus - and Andre Miller is playing well, but he at least has shown he's more than a product of Utah's system. Which a lot of guys haven't been able to do. Hats off to Rich Cho and Wes.

Bakl (Miami)

I CANT STOP LAUGHIN TO MYSELF REALIZING ALL THE HEAT HATERS ARE QUITE QUIET THESE DAYS......

Ric Bucher
  (1:53 PM)

Yeah, it's funny how the pendulum swings. They're one of the better teams in the league, for sure. Are they a title contender? Don't see it this year. Too many missing parts. But now that DWade isn't deferring but leading, they're a different team. A better team.

Chad Fraud (NY)

So you think a championship caliber team that wants to rent Melo can offer a package (which inlcludes a future star) thats better than Gallo, Fields, Chandler and Curry? WOW

Ric Bucher
  (1:54 PM)

Think draft picks and someone like Beaubois. Not saying he's been offered on the table, but there has to be elements included that the Nuggets can sell their fan base to as having star potential down the line.

Thinking Outside the Box (DC)

Ric, can teams conspire to make lopsided trades in consecutive seasons so they both can compete for a title. Case in point, someone trades a really good player to NO, like Cousins and cash. Than next year, NO trades Chris Paul and Cousins back for cash and their #1 pick cash, sac abosrbs players with cap space.

Ric Bucher
  (1:55 PM)

Nah. Too much can change from season to season. And now? With a new CBA coming in that could change the competitive landscape entirely? No chance.

Joe (Chicago)

Earlier this week you tweeted about Westbrook and Rose and how they finished games. I didn't get what you were trying to say - care to elaborate?

Ric Bucher
  (1:57 PM)

Westbrook, by and large, has one speed and doesn't always assess everything that is going on before he attacks. Gets him into tough spots and produces untimely turnovers or crazy shots. What I really admire about Rose's improvement is how calculating he has become. He's measuring opponents now and figuring out where and when to attack, and with what. Westbrook doesn't have that yet.

Ric Bucher
  (1:59 PM)

Again, another element that is vital to measuring a player's capability that I have yet to see captured by a confluence of statistics.

D (Dallas) [via mobile]

If you were the mavs would you take a rental on carmelo or stay as is?

Ric Bucher
  (1:59 PM)

I don't see Melo as a great fit next to Dirk. But I'd be so fascinated by the experiment - and I love how Cuban just keeps throwing stuff against the wall to see if it'll stick - that I'd love to see it happen.

one (los angel)

And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

Ric Bucher
  (2:00 PM)

Someone take this guy's keys and move him away from the punch bowl.

Brian (Chicago, IL)

Any thoughts on the Pistons ownership situation being a hindrance to making any moves on the trade front? Should Dumars and Kuester be getting blame too for not doing a better job of making do with what they have right now?

Ric Bucher
  (2:01 PM)

It absolutely is a hindrance.

Ric Bucher
  (2:01 PM)

Let's go rapid fire again for five minutes and call it a day...

Mark (Portland)

How does Brandon Jennings improve so as to enter the PG convo?

Ric Bucher
  (2:02 PM)

Tough. Lots of equally quick, stronger PGs in the league right now. Needs to play fast but not hurry.

Sean (Chicago)

Wouldn't Mayo to the Bulls be the perfect fit and what would it take to get him out of Memphis

Ric Bucher
  (2:03 PM)

Worried about his evolution. I want pure shooters around Rose and no one who needs the ball in their hands to be effective. Not sure Mayo is that.

Dennis (Phoenix)

I feel the Suns are a .500 team and have a very little chance of making the playoffs. I feel they need to trade Nash and Richardson, in the next few months, to start rebuilding. What do you think?

Ric Bucher
  (2:04 PM)

What I hear is that Phoenix wants to make the playoffs at all costs and is looking to make a deal that will get them there. What that is I don't know yet. But I would venture to say it won't be pricey.

thomas (oregon)

please help? u & CB had a debate yesterday, mcgee vs love - love to garner all star consideration but mcgee has WHAT? LOVE VS MCGEE IS A LOVE NO-BRAINER - NO PUN INTENDED... SORRY, NOT TO INSULT U, BUT U GET PAID TO KNOW THIS STUFF, BUT U ARGUE THE WRONG WAY EVERY DEBATE... ALWAYS LIKED U THO CUZ U BROKE A LOT OF STUFF

Ric Bucher
  (2:06 PM)

you missed the point of the debate, which I explained IN THE DEBATE. it's not who is having the better season -- Love is. It's who has made the biggest jump from the player he was last year. Love already was a double-double machine last year and producing huge rebounding nights. McGee wasn't even in the rotation for most of the year and now is starting.

MIKE (BROOKLYN, NY)

Amar'e Stoudemire in shooting 55% from 3... WTF???

Ric Bucher
  (2:08 PM)

you know what surprises me? look at what Josh Smith is shooting from the 3. after not shooting it at all last year. or what al jefferson is shooting from the line. Amare always has had 3-point range. Just isn't where you get the most use of him.

Kevin (Chicago)

How surprising has Shaq been this year for people around the league? A lot of people thought he was done this year, do you think ome GM's are wishing they hadn't right about now or still too early?

Ric Bucher
  (2:11 PM)

Shaq's role has changed and he's a huge bargain. All this talk about him being an All-Star is goofy. Love what he's doing for the Cs, but he's fifth on the opponent's preparation chart. He's still talented enough to get solid numbers in that scenario. But he's not one of the first five reasons the Cs are winning. He's still a load, but he doesn't have to carry much of one anymore.

edizz1e (Queens, NY)

Do you think Kobe is a Top 10 player of all time?

Ric Bucher
  (2:11 PM)

Yes.

Jeremy (oregon)

isn't the new CBA a big possible blow to Miami's plans of world domination? For instance get rid of mid level exception and what do they do?

Ric Bucher
  (2:12 PM)

Yes.

VW (NYC)

What's the latest on the CBA btw....are we in for a lockout? who do we blame!!?

Ric Bucher
  (2:12 PM)

Yes.

Ric Bucher
  (2:13 PM)

Yes.

Ric Bucher
  (2:13 PM)

Yes.

Ric Bucher
  (2:13 PM)

Yes.

Ric Bucher
  (2:13 PM)

Looks as if my time is up. Something has stopped working. Let's do it again next week.