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December 9, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (2:01 PM)

Greetings everyone on a typically dreary December Portland morning. More coffee, please...

Reg (London)

Given Felton's play, who should the Knicks target in trades / free agency?

John Hollinger
  (2:02 PM)

Well, given that Carmelo Anthony is pretty much hell-bent on going to New York next year, it would be awfully silly for New York to allocate any future cap money that could be used to sign him. Knicks could trade with Nuggets and get him sooner if they can interest Denver in some kind of Gallo/Fields/Douglas platter, but they can afford to be patient too.

miguel (los angeles)

Common John you have the lakers 6th? thats too high a hater like you should have them at least 10 or lower.

John Hollinger
  (2:04 PM)

Feels weird to not be getting flak from Laker or Mavs fans about their Power Rankings position. It's like I've slipped into some kind of parallel universe. And the one thing the Power Rankings don't know is that Bynum hasn't played a game yet. I think they'll have an adjustment period in the first two weeks or so when he comes back, but then they should move up the rankings.

Disco (Chicago)

Will the Cavs trade as many players as possible? Who is tradeable on that team?

John Hollinger
  (2:06 PM)

I'm afraid the answer to the second question reduces the possibility of the first. Cleveland has a few movable veteran pieces, especially Varejao but also Jamison and Williams, but they'll be lucky to get much of a package for those guys. Basically, it's going to be a long, painful rebuilding project. Sadly for Cleveland fans, this season is totally validating LeBron's two MVP awards.

Charles (San Jose)

Why did Byron Scott's shakeup involve Ramon Sessions? Hasn't he been one of the few Cavs playing well lately?

John Hollinger
  (2:07 PM)

You found that odd too? I think one way trading Williams would help is that the Cavs could play Sessions 35 minutes at the point and get a real thumbs-up/thumbs-down on whether he can be a long-term solution as a starter or is merely a capable third guard.

William (NY)

what happened to Chauncey Billups? he looked awful last night and I read that he hasn't looked that great when Melo was on the court either...

John Hollinger
  (2:08 PM)

He's in his mid-30s. It happens. I was shocked how much better Denver looked with Lawson on the court, but they also gave Ty a lot more help -- Chauncey had Forbes and Shelden out there with him. If I'm Denver, I have to look at trading Billups while his reputation still exceeds his output ...

John T (Eagan, MN)

When's the last time the NBA had someone who averaged 15 boards a game and shot over 40% on 3s? Kevin Love is unique.

John Hollinger
  (2:09 PM)

Um, never? Love is one of the most unique players in league annals. I think he has a real case for the All-Star team, but I guarantee the coaches will shaft him because of the Wolves' record.

Jimmy K (Cleveland)

Is Danny Ferry responsible for leaving the Cavs with the worst possible situation moving forward? Bad contracts with mediocre talent that nobody wants. SAD

John Hollinger
  (2:11 PM)

Can't pin this all on Ferry. Adding all those vets was part of an organization-wide strategy to placate LeBron at every turn. The only part that you can justifiably pin on Ferry was the Hughes/Marshall free-agent flop five years ago that started the whole vortex spinning out of control.

Ben (Hartford, CT)

Who's a better PF garnett or galinari?

John Hollinger
  (2:11 PM)

OK, Knicks-mania has officially gone out of control.

jeff (jax)

it doesnt look like Orlando will be getting melo. Wouldnt kevin martin be an ideal fit?I would believe a combo of gortat, anderson VC gets it done.

John Hollinger
  (2:12 PM)

Takes two to tango. I don't believe Houston is looking to move Martin, and I don't believe that package would cause them to reconsider.

Dror (Israel)

Hi John. Do you still plan to keep your June reservation for the Miami Hotel?

John Hollinger
  (2:13 PM)

Ha, gotta enjoy obscure references to Tweets I made in July. Miami is playing better, but Boston looms as a real issue. The Celtics are just far, far better than I expected, and while I'm a bit leery of their tendency to fade after Christmas, I don't think Miami matches up terribly well against them.

Jacob (Seattle)

Any chance the Hornets move to SEATTLE? I have no problem stealing someone else's team!

John Hollinger
  (2:15 PM)

I think the poker game from the league's perspective works like this: 1) Use the threat of contraction as leverage in the CBA negotations, 2) Try to get a sweetheart deal from New Orleans and a local owner (such as the Yahoo guy) to buy it, 3) essentially auction the team to the highest bidder/market. If it gets to 3), I think Seattle has a shot if Ballmer gets involved, but I would more readily put my money on a Larry Ellison/San Jose combo.

Disco (Chicago)

Hornets to Anaheim is one rumor, but 3 teams in LA?

John Hollinger
  (2:18 PM)

there are lots of possibilities, but none are clean-cut favorites. All have a "but." KC has the arena but everyone I've talked to is lukewarm at best about the market -- "basically another New Orleans" as one person put it to me. Seattle has the market but no arena and little demonstrated willpower to build one. San Jose and Anaheim have the arenas and the markets, but they already have local teams who would demand compensation. Louisville apparently is itching for a team too and has a building (they tried to get the Grizzlies and basically came in second, for those who remember), but again the market is a concern.

tom (chicago)

Hornets to London. NBA could still own them and use it for international showcase. Entire divisions could travel there at the same time and play round robins. Global fandom

John Hollinger
  (2:18 PM)

I threw out that possibility to somebody and was shot down ... I think the international thing is still too far into the future for the Hornets to fit into that.

Jeff (Houston)

Should the Rockets trade Yao and go to a different direction?

John Hollinger
  (2:19 PM)

Little early to bail, isn't it? I mean it's not even like he reinjured his foot -- he sprained his ankle, which everyone who has ever played basketball for more than an hour has done at some point. Houston still projects to have a decent season and I think the Rockets will make the playoffs.

andy (ann arbor)

what has hurt the pistons more: joe d's hands being tied due to the ownership issues, OR joe d's roster decisions in the last 4-5 years?!

John Hollinger
  (2:20 PM)

I'll go with the latter, but the reason it's taken them so long to escape lottery purgatory is because he can't make any further moves to undo all his mistakes.

kyle (indy)

Why do you think the pacers had Jeff foster in at the end of last nights game and not a more athletic person?

John Hollinger
  (2:21 PM)

I didn't see the game, but Foster is a stellar defensive player who is mobile enough to switch onto smaller players, so his presence in a last-second defensive situation strikes me as entirely reasonable.

NBA Jay (Cincinnati)

Whats your take on why the struggling Bobcats only play T Thomas 21 minutes per game?

John Hollinger
  (2:22 PM)

There is no good answer for this. As good a coach as he is, Larry Brown has his weird neuroses about players and Thomas is another example. He's been by far the Bobcats' best player when he's on the court, and yet the coach won't play him.

Disco (Chicago)

Wilbon said the Bulls should trade for Rip Hamilton, do you like that idea?

John Hollinger
  (2:24 PM)

No, I think they want somebody a) younger and b) a better 3-point shooter, since floor spacing is still a real problem for them. Also, what are they trading to get him? They'd have to deal Deng ... no way on earth I'd do that deal.

Morgan (Baltimore)

What's going on with the Warriors?

John Hollinger
  (2:25 PM)

Different coach, same program. They've slowed down the pace a little, but they still don't guard and their bench is much worse than a year ago, as the Lee injury exposed. GS will turn the corner soon now that the new owners are in place, but this won't be the year.

Ryan (San Antonio)

Do the Nets plan on trading Troy Murphy at some point? Who do you think they could get for him?

John Hollinger
  (2:26 PM)

I think it absolutely makes sense for them to trade Murphy and acquire a small forward who can make a shot and/or prevent his opponent from doing the same. Outlaw and Williams have been brutal. Murphy has a lot of value around the league because he spaces the floor and rebounds and he's on an ending contract.

Nick (Canada)

Chad, why not another team in Canada? Instead of looking at tiny markets like Louisville and Kansas City, you could go somewhere like Montreal or Vancouver -- cities with populations bigger than 2.5 million people and brand-new arenas. Why not?

John Hollinger
  (2:27 PM)

Maybe you should ask Chad.... In all seriousness, the possibility of Vancouver, however remote, has to at least be mentioned because of the arena and the fact the loony is now back to parity with the greenback. Montreal, not so much.

John (Bismarck, ND)

Do the Cavs have the worst wings in the NBA? Moon, Graham, Parker, Jawad, Harris...

John Hollinger
  (2:28 PM)

Perhaps, but the Nets would like to have a word with you.

Ivan (Toronto)

Ronny Turiaf, best beard in the NBA?

John Hollinger
  (2:29 PM)

Third at best. James Harden and Baron Davis are clearly first and second.

Justin (Portland, OR)

Why not trade Murphy to the Suns? The Suns have roughly 11 small forwards, and could use rebounding and three point shooting.

John Hollinger
  (2:30 PM)

Had two different people ask me about Murphy in Phoenix. It makes sense if they want to re-sign him, but remember he's basically a short-term rental since he's a free agent after the year. So I'd think a team further up the food chain, like say the Lakers, would have more interest.

Disco (Chicago)

Noah for worst beard in the NBA? or Peja?

John Hollinger
  (2:31 PM)

Strong candidates, but I think Andrew Bogut has to be in that discussion too.

JasonD (TN)

What's going on with Tyreke Evans? He's stinking it up.

John Hollinger
  (2:32 PM)

Plantar fasciitis is some bad stuff. You can play on it, but it's tough to play very well.

Thomas (Los Angeles)

Who's more untradeable: Arenas or Roy?

John Hollinger
  (2:34 PM)

Gotta say Arenas ... Roy's contract looks nearly as bad, but he doesn't have the same character issues.

Starkey (Chicago)

Prof. Hollinger, why does nobody see the Orlando as a real contender? What moves should/could they make the "get over the hump" ?

John Hollinger
  (2:35 PM)

They need an A-list perimeter threat to complement Howard, to use against opponents that can single-cover Dwight. Also, they'd be more of a threat if Rashard Lewis was still on the team. I'm gonna get another good look at Orlando in Portland tonight, so we'll see if they shift my opinion any.

Pat Riley (Miami)

Is it funny to you how quiet all the heat haters are as the Heat are starting to figure this thing out? You think the rest of the NBA should start getting worried because its really starting to look like the Heat(wade and lebron) have begun to figure this out and it will only get better right?

John Hollinger
  (2:37 PM)

Good point. Haven't had a single Heat-bashing question so far. I think everyone else is quietly terrified right now; that Cleveland game might have really been a turning point.

coyote (sa)

Was that Rashard Lewis comment sarcastic or did you mean Turkoglu?

John Hollinger
  (2:37 PM)

Wait, you mean he's still on the team?

Thomas (Los Angeles)

Are the Clippers turning the corner as an organization? They're giving their young guys real run and bringing guys like Baron and Butler and Jarron Collins off the bench. At any other time in Clipper history, wouldn't they be starting those three, playing Bledsoe and Aminu for 10 mins each, and trying to get from 20 wins to 25 wins?

John Hollinger
  (2:38 PM)

Not sure. On the one hand, the Clippers look like they have a very promising future. On the other hand, we've said that in about 20 of the past 25 seasons and have never been right. If anyone can screw up a Griffin-Gordon nucleus, it's these guys.

Jason (Nashville)

Has Wilson Chandler's efficiency improvement from abysmal to not so abysmal given him any value around the league? Should the Knicks be upset they will almost certainly lose him at year's end?

John Hollinger
  (2:41 PM)

He's a restricted free agent, and his qualifying offer is low enough ($3.1 mil) that they could sign Melo under the cap and then go back to the trough and re-sign Chandler. That's what Miami did with Joel Anthony this summer. So I don't think Chandler will be departing unless the CBA landscape changes dramatically.

Justin (Detroit Lakes)

What is the one NBA match up that you would LEAST want to watch this season?

John Hollinger
  (2:42 PM)

The Pistons would definitely be one of the teams, they are just a horrifyingly boring basketball team. I guess Detroit-Cleveland would probably be the bottom-of-the-barrel match-up.

patrick (dallas)

How about a boston/san antonio finals? last hurrah for the old guard, duncan v garnett, rondo v parker, gino v pierce!

John Hollinger
  (2:43 PM)

I think this is a real possibility, yes, and while the networks may be disappointed I think it would be a fantastic series.

Vlada (Minneapolis)

Most disappointing rookie: Cousins, Johnson, Monroe, Turner, the list goes on...

John Hollinger
  (2:44 PM)

Not a real invigorating start by this year's class, eh? Based on production to date Landry Fields should have gone second. But remember, a lot of other years we've thought the same thing after 20 games, only to have several players improve in the second half.

Jim (Pdx)

Is Roy all of a sudden washed up or something? The dude's been injured...no way is he even comparable to arenas, who's virtually useless unless you count throwing up a 6 for 17 shooting night a valuable contribution.

John Hollinger
  (2:45 PM)

Roy's injury appears to be a fairly permanent one. You can't fix a body part that isn't there....

Ben (Princeton)

Murphy to the Lakers? How would they get him? Not enough expiring contracts/compelling young players to nab him. Only way he ends up on the Lakers is if they pick him off the waiver wire.

John Hollinger
  (2:46 PM)

It's a looooongshot, yes, because they'd basically have to pay somebody to take Luke Walton ... I'm just saying that a short-term rental like Murphy makes more sense for the legit contenders.

Mike (NJ)

Once defense is factored in, where does Gary Payton rank amongst the all-time great point guards?

John Hollinger
  (2:47 PM)

A lot higher than people realize. One of the most underrated players in NBA history; Alex English and Bob Pettit also merit spots on that list.

JD (VA)

How good do you see the T-Wolves being when (if) Rubio makes it overseas?

John Hollinger
  (2:49 PM)

Here's the problem: I'm not sure Rubio is really that good. He translates as about a 35% shooter right now, and it's not just his jumper -- he's a lousy finisher too. He fills the stat sheet in enough other ways that he'd still be a useful player, but if he doesn't provide at least a little scoring, he's going to have a hard time being a long-term starter, let alone any kind of star.

Warren (TN)

I am suddenly mildly interested to watch the Hawks play, which was never true with Iso-Joe around. Think management can see the same thing, or do they have blinders on? How hard are they hoping the new CBA changes that contract?

John Hollinger
  (2:52 PM)

Horford and Smith should both make the All-Star team; they've been that good, essentially carrying the team while the backcourt drops off from a year ago. I think we'll see Joe take a more deferential role upon his return if they continue winning without him -- that was already underway a bit -- but I'm also interested to see if Drew will start playing Horford more minutes and stop this two-fouls-and-you're-out craziness in first halves.

Chad (Duluth)

Hi John...record aside...The NBA cannot allow someone who averages 20ppg and 15rpg and shoots 3s (as mentioned previously) to sit at home during the all-star festivities. Kevin Love has to be there (if he maintains his current pace). We 'Wolves fans need something to cheer about.

John Hollinger
  (2:53 PM)

Go back and look at how many times they have allowed it. History says Love will be disappointed.

Damon (Santa Cruz, CA)

John, do you think the Jazz, as presently constructed, could at least take the Lakers to 6 or 7 games?

John Hollinger
  (2:53 PM)

Not if Bynum is playing. Without Bynum, I think they can probably hang, yes.

Travs (San Antonio)

How impressed have you been with Tyson Chandler?

John Hollinger
  (2:54 PM)

Blown away. Give the guy credit for working so hard to improve as a shooter. He's also in much better shape physically than I expected; I thought the injuries were basically going to nag him the rest of his career.

Lance (Pdx )

Hi John, B Roy looked pretty good last night against the Suns but picked his spots carefully. What do you make of the blazers?

John Hollinger
  (2:55 PM)

The Blazers' last two games were at home against the two worst defensive teams in the league. Everybody should have looked pretty good. Tonight against Orlando will be a much more valid test.

Cliff (Sac)

In your Hornets future scenarios answer, you mention San Jose as a possibility. How does that happen with the Warriors in the Bay Area and the Kings in Sac? I think those areas can sustain those teams, but sure seems like a lot for Northern California.

John Hollinger
  (2:56 PM)

That's why it's a messy solution. I think the South Bay could support its own team, but the Warriors would want compensation, and the Kings might complain too ... that is, if they aren't trying to do the same thing.

Ash (Vancouver)

Its Patty Mills time!

John Hollinger
  (2:58 PM)

I thought Mills provided a real spark the other night. He's a much better passer than I expected -- lost in that Przybilla flagrant vs. the Clips was that it came from a great find by Mills. Only problem right now is his handle -- teams will pressure him in the backcourt, and he got picked clean by Dragic on Tuesday. But Portland needs his shooting to space the floor right now, and they need his energy to amp up their slow pace a bit.

matt (nyc)

What about Juarez, Mexico as a possible Hornets destination?

John Hollinger
  (2:58 PM)

Can you say "unattractive free agent destination"? No, I don't see that one happening.

Warren (TN)

How long until we get to see some D-league callups?

John Hollinger
  (3:01 PM)

Usually that happens in earnest once 10-day contracts become signable in mid-January. The D-League Showcase happens in early January and much of the league's braintrust will be on the South Texas coast then, looking at players, setting groundwork for trades, and, most importanty, analyzing burger joints and steakhouses with Marc Stein.

Jason (IA)

So...you're saying Rubio is a lot like Rondo was when he came in the league. I'd take a chance on that...

John Hollinger
  (3:01 PM)

One is a great finisher, the other is terrible. Big difference.

Garrett (Orlando, Fl)

Is Dwight Howard the best candidate for the league MVP?

John Hollinger
  (3:02 PM)

Some guy named "James" on Miami is up to fifth in PER and leads the league in EWA ... we're still allowed to vote for him, right?

Jacob (Seattle)

Is Blake Griffin the best PF in the league right now?

John Hollinger
  (3:04 PM)

No, his game still has too many rough edges in it; defensible answers to that question are Dirk, Pau and Amare. But in another year he might be.

Albert (NYC)

John, what's your take on Andre Miller calling the league/officiating "soft" in light of his suspension? I kind of see where he's coming from (old school mentality)

John Hollinger
  (3:05 PM)

I'm sure he was upset about the suspension, but you can't just charge somebody like a rhinoceros because you think they fouled you.

Josh (Portland)

Any ideas about Portland's rumored youth movement?

John Hollinger
  (3:08 PM)

Look, it makes all kinds of sense to trade Miller + Przybilla and people here were talking about it before the season ... just with an eye toward a very different type of move than they'd be looking at right now. I don't see them rushing into anything, certainly Rich Cho isn't somebody prone to acting rashly ... but I do think Miller is certain to be gone by the deadline, and Przybilla at least 50-50.

Tom (Boise)

How about STAT for MVP, forget "James". STAT has revived that Knicks team regardless of the records of the teams they have played. NYK have to play who is on the schedule. STAT has to be in the discussion.

John Hollinger
  (3:10 PM)

If not for the "everything that happens in New York gets magnified by a hundred" factor, we aren't having this discussion. Amare has played extremely well of late, but he's not more valuable than LeBron, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, et al.

Adam (Minneapolis, MN)

Is it necessarily a bad thing that KC and Louisville are small markets? In light of the success of the Thunder in OKC, couldn't a well supported team thrive as the single pro-sport in a large midwest or mid-south city?

John Hollinger
  (3:12 PM)

KC has two other pro teams, one of which (the Royals) barely hangs on by a thread, so I don't think they'd generate enough local enthusiasm. Louisville might, especially combined with the Cincy market -- two great basketball towns, although more for college than pro. Of course, we thought the same thing about Memphis, and they can't get anybody to come to the games. The NBA, for whatever reason, has struggled pretty much everywhere in the south except Orlando.

Disco (Chicago)

Do you ever travel on team charters or are you a lone wolf traveling the general public?

John Hollinger
  (3:13 PM)

Never on team charters. Only ones who ride on those are the guys employed by the team -- announcers, Web site writers, etc. Actually, in the playoffs you'll sometimes see those guys (and lower-level team employees) in the airport because more important people bump them off the charter -- only so many seats to go around.

Warren (TN)

Any idea why Nashville is never on anyone's list for relocation? Arena not good enough? Sure the hockey team loses money but, come on, that's a hockey team in the South. Basketball would be different, right?

John Hollinger
  (3:14 PM)

I think the hockey team would have to leave before anyone seriously looked at places like Nashville, Raleigh or Columbus. Also, the presence of the Titans hurts Nashville. As the previous poster pointed out, NBA has usually done well, even in puny markets, when it's the only game in town.

Tim (Charlotte)

3 freaking questions from Warren (TN)?

John Hollinger
  (3:16 PM)

Sorry, I don't usually look at the questioner's name ...

Olumide (Baltimore)

Bargnani had another fantastic game last night. Effortlessly dropped 41 on the Knicks. Is he finally turning the corner. Seems more more confident now that he's "the man".

John Hollinger
  (3:17 PM)

Actually, his numbers were virtually identical to a year ago until he blew up on the Knicks last night. So basically, it's probably just one really good game amid an otherwise typically middling season.

Dave (Chicago)

Who do you think the Bulls will target at the trade deadline?

John Hollinger
  (3:17 PM)

A 2-guard who can make 3s and defend competently. Not easily found, but they'll be looking in every nook and cranny for one.

Zack (Vegas)

Since Vegas has no other teams, would the Hornets do well there?

John Hollinger
  (3:19 PM)

Vegas was a more viable option before the recent downturn ... local economy is in the dumps right now and seems implausible that they could get funding for an arena. Also, the casinos are at best luke-warm on the idea -- why provide a competing local attraction?

Mike (Tallahassee)

Are the Knicks really a +.500 team, or is it just a really, really weak schedule?

John Hollinger
  (3:20 PM)

If by "+.500" you mean "42-40", then sure. Current projection has them landing at 44-38, which makes them a solid playoff team and, to me, would represent a huge success for the Walsh-D'Antoni team given the mess they inherited from Isiah.

Jerry (Austin)

Do you see the bobcats makign the playoffs this season?

John Hollinger
  (3:20 PM)

Only if they expand the field to 64 teams.

Mike (Chicago)

Do you think D. Rose has a legitimate shot at the MVP? His play is amazing, but I may be biased just because I'm a fan.

John Hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

No, he doesn't. Not this year anyway. I'm going to be writing more about him tomorrow so I don't want to give the column away here, but you're correct that he's a mesmerizing player to watch.

John Hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

Folks, that's all the time I have but thanks again for joining in. I'll be at Blazers-Magic tonight and you can check out my report in the Daily Dime ...