What's up everyone ... lots of trade drama going on after the Nets pulled out (we think) of the Melo sweepstakes ... let's discuss....
Blazers say Camby could return from surgery for the final 20 games or so of the season. Will they still be in the playoff hunt by that time?
I'd say so. Portland's schedule is going to be somewhat in its favor the rest of the way, plus they've built up a couple games of advantage. And remember, if the Nuggets blow it up they may slide right past the Blazers, Griz and Rockets and out of the top nine, leaving two spots to fight for instead of one.
That said, I found the three-week estimate kinda optimistic for a big man in his late 30s. Let's see when he really comes back.
Why buyout Peja now? Why not wait until after the trade deadline?
It's possible they were able to get better terms now than they could have later; that's all I can think of. And they don't need his expiring in deals since they still have $12.2M in trade exception and Barbosa's 7.1M expiring
the Bulls really struggle to score without Boozer. I know he should be back soon but any chance they will add another scorer before the deadline?
If they do, it's going to be at shooting guard where they're getting very little from Bogans and running Deng into the ground to compensate. If you're thinking Melo, forget it. Nuggets aren't taking back Deng and Bulls aren't giving up Noah, plus I'm not sure the Rose-Melo chemistry is gonna work.
Which point guard(s) do you leave off the all-star team? Westbrook, Nash, Paul, Williams, Parker?
Great question because it's going to be tough to put more than three on the team. I'd say Parker is the easiest one to eliminate, despite the Spurs' gaudy record, because the other four have unquestionably produced more and San Antonio is likely to get two other All-Stars. I'd like to see them take the other four, but I fear Nash will get hosed because of his team's record.
Do you think Jim Carrey will make a movie about his time coaching the Mavs?
No, but John Lithgow is seriously considering a documentary about his time at the helm of the Nuggets.
If the Wizards find a way to finally win a road game, is there any chance they make a run at that 8th seed in the east? It seems like it only takes a few wins in a row to get right back in that race.
Sorry, too far gone. They're not only 4.5 games back but also have to pass five teams. It ain't happening. But Nick Young is making a real case for MIP votes. And I find it weirdly entertaining to watch Kirk Hinrich constantly fiddle with his glasses.
Are the Nuggets regretting playing hardball with the Nets? After all, they're not going to get a better offer from anyone else.
There wasn't a deal to be made if Melo didn't agree, and it appears he never agreed. The team with the real regrets is Detroit, who just held Rip out for several games for no reason while they still have a puncher's chance at a playoff spot.
If Manu doesn't make the all-star game then the game is a sham.
I wouldn't lose sleep over that one. Duncan and Parker are more on the bubble, but I can't imagine Manu not getting in.
is it possible for the clippers to land carmelo. Im aware of the trades that could take place, but has he ever commented on his willingness to be next to baron blake and gordon? And if they did land him do you think they could win a championship in the next 5 years?
Melo has shown no inclination whatsoever to go to L.A. And he's probably been advised by everyone around him that Donald Sterling is the last person on earth he wants to work for. So as appetizing as a Gordon-Melo-Griffin nucleus sounds, I can't see this one happening.
Any update on the Nets trying to move Troy Murphy? Potential Suitors?
I doubt they've done much legwork on this yet since he was originally a centerpiece of the Melo deal. They've done an amazing job of destroying his trade value, however. I'm curious to see if they get anything more than a No. 2 out of this.
Hey John, can you list 3 or 4 cities in the order you would like to see a franchise land in?
1. Maui 2. Bora Bora 3. Bangkok
OK, as far as realistic lists go ... I'd love to see San Jose get a team, I think the market can support it and the arena is there. I'd be thrilled to see the league return to Vancouver, a fantastic city that was bailed on far too quickly. The arena is still there and still pretty functional too. I'll go with Seattle as the third one since it's a great basketball town, although it needs to get the arena thing figured out. West Coast Bias? Actually I think it's that all the solid candidates East of the Mississippi already have winter sports teams.
Some ESPN sports writers like Boston over the Spurs. But shouldn't the Spurs get credit for playing in the West?
Not sure who you're talking about specifically since we often get lumped in with things that were said on TV or radio or whatever ... but if they played right now I think San Antonio would win. Plus, as I wrote today, they're gonna have home court.
John, are the Mavs going to make any big moves or will Pavlovic remain the starting 3 for the team?
Hope for your sake he isn't. (And hope things are starting to dry out down there). The TNT guys were talking up Pavlovic last night, but they really need a strict "no dribbling" rule with him and he's average at best as a spot-up shooter. Between all the lost dribbles and the Heisman Trophy offensive fouls when he goes to the rim, few players are less effective off the bounce.
John, will you be in Portland tonight?
It appears not, since I'm in Atlanta right now and there's no Lear waiting in the yard. But I will be at Billy Knight Appreciation Night in Atlanta tomorrow, when Chris Paul's Hornets make their only visit of the season and remind everybody what coulda been.
Is Anthony Randolph worth a protected 1st round pick? Or is it a possible steal like Beasley. Right place right time.
I'd say so, as long as the protections are very strict. I still think he has the potential to be a Camby-esque defender and rebounder, and he can really handle the ball for his size, but the doubts about his offensive role are what has him riding the pine in New York. It has to be a team that will run and has enough other guys who can shoot that his lack of a J won't be a liability.
Here's something I'd like to add on the Melo situation. I think Melo is disheartened in Denver, he kinda feels like he's letting the town of Denver down, I really think he's going to apologize to the city by staying in Denver. Do you feel this way John?
Actually, no. I think the only chance of his staying is if the Nuggets decide to call his bluff and hope that either A) he'll sign the extension on June 30 or B) the new CBA will have a "franchise tag" that lets the Nuggets block his departure.
Prof. Hollinger,What do you make of the Heat's recent slide?
Pretty elementary -- they have three very good players and nine very mediocre ones. So when one or two of those three are out of the lineup, Miami becomes very beatable. Although I should mention the Clips already had them beat by the time LeBron rolled his ankle. I should also mention that if you're Mike Miller, and the team signed you to shoot the ball, it would help to, you know, shoot it.
With the word that O'brien has been letting Collison run more pick and roll and it paying dividends. Do you see them beating out PHI for the 8th seed? i don't...never been an O'brien fan. Should they consider a coaching change after the season with THAT MUCH TALENT?
Indy is 50-50 to get the 8 seed, and if you look a their defensive stats I think Obie is having a much more positive impact than you think. As far as all that "talent" you allege, I'm missing it. Indy has a lot of solid young players who can be important parts of a winning team two or three years down the road .... but they're missing the biggest part, the A-list All-Star for all the other guys to play off of. Rush, Hibbert, Collison, George, Hansbrough ... those are all great pieces. But they've gotta score a centerpiece star either in free agency or trade. And no, Danny Granger doesn't qualify.
Why does Sports Center not give the attention to the Spurs that they deserve?
I'd guess it's related to the fact that any time I write about the Spurs, nobody reads it. It's really quite fascinating, because most other great teams attract a ton of attention. San Antonio, for some reason, has been deemed uniquely uninteresting by the public. I don't get it because they're a rather entertaining team to watch, but that's the deal.
Any chance the Spurs make a move before the deadline?
The Spurs virtually never make in-season deals, with the 2005 Nazr Mohammed trade the lone exception I can think of. Given how good they've looked, I'm not counting on this year bucking the trend.
John, does the Hornet's recent run validate their hot early start? Also, who might they target before the deadline? Could West and say Thornton be packaged for a bigger name?
Validates in the sense that they look like a legit playoff team again and could even get a top four seed (shameless plug -- more on that today's Per Diem) although I still think they're one-and-done in the postseason. I'm glad you mentioned West, though, since he's the free agent nobody is talking about. Unlike Melo there's really no hope of an extension, since the only legal extension he can sign is at a price well below his market value. So the Hornets either have to get him to re-sign over the summer, or they have to trade him now to get something of more lasting value. It's a rather interesting dilemma and for some reason nobody's discussing it.
What are your thoughts on the Spurs making the NBA Finals?
Rosario's! Cool! I'm in favor as long as they get a different airport some time between now and June. In all seriousness, the West looks very much like a two horse race at the top, with Dallas and OKC scheming to join them but looking more like second-round speed bumps at the moment. Spurs have to like their chances against LAL as long as everyone stays healthy.
I know this sounds crazy, but I think part of the Spurs "boring" stigma comes from their colors. I mean, black, white and grey? Really?Almost all teams can easily be identified by their colors and for me personally, when I hear "Lakers" or "Celtics," images in my head are laced with Purple/Gold or Green/White. Point is, you don't see many companies advertising products with flagship colors of black and grey... Your thoughts?
Could be, although it seems to me the Raiders aren't exactly starved for attention. Or perhaps it's the "Go Spurs Go" battle cry. Seriously, that's the best they could come up with? That may be the most unoriginal arena chant in sports right there.
Is tonight's Blazers vs clippers matchup determine whether lamarcus or Blake make it to the all-star game? Lamarcus is on a winning team tho?
No. Blake is getting in regardless. LaMarcus has an uphill battle regardless. But the national TV exposure this week and next, when he goes against KG, will help him if he plays well.
Will Monta Ellis be an all-star?
Remember above when we talked about those five great point guards in the West? A maximum of six guards can get in from the West, and Kobe and Manu are guaranteed to be two of them. Which means, in the absolute best case scenario in which only four forwards and two centers are on the roster, Ellis would have to beat out two of Nash, Westbrook, Williams, Paul and Parker. He's having a nice year, but that ain't happening.
Do you see D West signing with the pacers this offseason?? the pacers need a known scorer at the PF don't they? or do they need a SG worse?
I think West would be a great fit in Indiana and the Pacers will have the cap room. Be interesting to see if he chooses that situation over his current one, or if a larger market team gets involved in a sign-and-trade scenario.
Getting James Anderson back will be like making a trade for the Spurs...
Good point, but you have to assume that at some point another player is gonna check out...Spurs have been freakishly healthy for an older team thus far.
If the Hornets pick up Peja and Thornton gets more PT, what chances do you give NOH at the third or fourth seed in the West?
Picking up Peja will have no impact whatsoever, and I suspect he may go to Dallas anyway given the gaping hole the Mavs offer at small forward. As far as Thornton, we're on the same page -- he saved their bacon in the Orlando game and I think their second unit needs that kind of single-minded scorer, even if he occasionally forces it.
If the NBA has a lockout next season, what will that mean for the D-League?
I'm hearing the D League will be business as usual, although it may be stripped bare talent-wise since everybody and his brother will be taking the sure money in Europe, given that there's no prospect of an NBA call-up.
So you?re saying the 3rd best scorer in the league doesn?t make the All-Star team but the 4th or 5th best PG in the West does?
Nice try. He's not the third "best" scorer once you adjust for minutes and pace, let alone for accuracy, and if the Warriors could trade Ellis for any of those five players they'd agree in a nanosecond. What he is, actually, is a distant third in the West shooting guard hierarchy. I'm comfortable with the #4 PG in a tight race making it over the #3 SG.
Here's the thing though: Monta Ellis is having a great year. I don't like knocking him down like that, because I think he has a great argument for MIP. But if you're asking me to compare him to those types of players, well ....
John, why the heck aren't the Suns trying to move Childress, Pietrus, and/or Warrick for someone marginally competent as a PF?
Not sure if you've noticed, but other teams aren't exactly salivating to give the Suns their best players for those three guys. Phoenix painted itself into a corner with a horrid offseason, although there's at least some hope now that Gentry has sorted the wheat from the chaff in the playing rotation. The nine-man set-up they're using now is the first coherent lineup they've used since the trade.
John, If Monta has an argument for MIP does Derrick Rose? I know it's far-fetched because he is a MVP candidate, but I think if you look at what he has done this season its pretty easy to see why its possible.
Actually I completely agree with your premise. I would vote Rose for MIP much more readily than for MVP.
Speaking of that, Mr Hollinger. How does a potential lockout reflect on possible moves to Europe? Is there any way it could affect the NBA, even in the short run? I mean, what if some of the richer Euro teams offer huge contracts, but under condition that the players at least spend that one full year abroad?
Yes, there's going to be some of that, especially with players on expiring deals. If there's a lockout we could see the strongest Euroleague ever in 2011-12. A lot of Euros in particular would flock back to the continent.
John, why do player's team records have to play such a large role in All-Star selection. I just want to see the best players play, I am going to be upset if Blake is left off of the All-Star team for a player like Tyson Chandler.
Because the coaches have made it a self-indulgent show about it being a "reward for a winning record", even though I've yet to find anything in the league's voting instructions that says anything about that. I love what Tyson Chandler's doing for Dallas, but anyone who doesn't think Griffin is ten times better is on crack. Hopefully they won't screw this one up....
Regarding Mike Miller...I always thought he could be a 20,6,5 guy...WHY DOESNT HE SHOOT?
Heat fans, this isn't a new trend -- he did the same thing Minnesota and Washington, and it's why his PER #s from the past two years are so low even though the 3-point %s and high rebound numbers make it like a good year. The guy passes up more open shots than any good shooter I can remember, and it really hurt Miami in his stint in the Atlanta game.
Hey John, what's your take on Chris Paul's seemingly non-aggressive playstyle this year? Do you think the knee is bothering him, or is something else going on?
I think it's bothering him, yes, and more particularly I think he gets tired and it bothers him more late in games, which is why he's been so deferential in fourth quarters. I was in Nawlins for the Orlando game last week, and what stuck out to me was that for three quarters he could get by Jameer Nelson any time he wanted to... but in the fourth when he went for that extra gear it wasn't there. He's still having a fantastic year even with the knee, but it does make you wonder about the future.
Folks, that's all the time I've got, but thanks again for the great questions and we'll do this again next Thursday ... be sure to check out my missives from the Hawks-Hornets game tomorrow on Twitter at @johnhollinger