Good afternoon. Let's get right at it ...
Chris are the Magic officially done and can anyone in the East beat the Celtics?
No, the Magic are not done. That's like asking: Are the Lakers done? Because they are struggling similarly. Take a deep breath. It is early-February. Let's see if Gilbert becomes the old Gilbert given a little more time and a little less trauma (that was not the first time Laura Govan had a process server awaiting Gil at an NBA arena). Let's see who they add as their backup big, and how healthy Brandon Bass can stay. More than any team in the East, they are a team that should be watched closely in early April to see how they are playing together. To your second question, my answer remains no. Celtics have been my pick all along.
I know its the not the most popular topic. but I've been a die-hard Bucks fan for a long time now. This team has grossly underachieved this year. Whats the problem? they seem to have good individual talent but just the wrong mix. So could a trade be coming? If so... who may be on the way in and out?
In their defense, Brandon Jennings has been out a month. Andrew Bogut is playing with half an arm (go back and do a Google video search of his injury, with the sound turned up, to remind yourself just how traumatic of an event that was). Carlos Delfino has had more concussion than the average NFL lineman. So those are the excuses. But the Drew Gooden signing last summer? A killer bad move. Not valuing Luke Ridnour properly and losing him to Minnesota? Bad thing. So they are paying for their offseason mistakes now, too. I look for Skiles to go with the guys he trusts the rest of the way, shortening the rotation. (Note to fantasy basketball players: That means go out and pick up Luc Richard Mbah a Moute).
Do you think the Thunder will make any moves before the trade deadline?
I would say they are in the best position of practically any NBA team to make a serious upgrde somewhere, because they have Mo Peterson's expiring $6.2 million contract plus the rights to a Clippers No. 1 pick to use as trade chips. Plus, they appear to be the quintessenial "one player away" team.
If the Bulls cannot upgrade significantly at the 2 by trading a combo of picks/Bogans/Brewer, they should just stay as is. Any trade involving Deng (who has been awesome this year) and the Bulls would have the same problem at the 3 as they currently do at the 2 position.
I tend to agree on one level, because Thibodeau is a defensive coach and Bogans is a nice fit for his team. But at a certain point you need some consistent scoring from that position, and Korver hasn't provided it. Sam Smith postulates today on Bulls.com that O.J. Mayo may be their man. And with Memphis ranked 29th in 3-pointers, Korver may appeal to the Grizzlies.
Apologies for the delay. Had to take a call. Trying to get a 12-year-old ringer in against Ray Felton and/or Ronny Turiaf at Knicks bowling outing tonight (Chelsea Piers, 6:30 p.m.). Turiaf is questionable with a sprained ankle.
This Brooks suspension shows that Houston has to many guys for to many minutes. Any chance lowry/brooks are traded? Lee looks most likely to be gone, but can they make a package to go after a big name?
I disagree that Lee is the most likely to be gone, unless the Rockets need him as an enticement for someone to take Brad Miller's contract off their hands. Houston is only $3.5 million over the luxury tax threshold, and they and Portland ($2.6 million) are they only tax-paying teams that have a shot at getting below the threshold. They could use Brooks as a Miller enticement, too, though his value is waaaay down from last season.
Chris, why are people so down on the Hawks? They're currently in 4th (ahead of the Magic), despite missing 40+ games collectively from their starters. As this team gets healthy, don't they have a chance to make some noise?
Frankly, because I think you'd have a hard time finding many people who believe the Hawks could get past the beat Celtics, Heat, Magic or Bulls in the playoffs. They have the same team as last season, and look how they did: Had to win Games 6 and 7 to beat Bogut-less Bucks, then got swept by Magic. Give me one valid reason why expectations should be higher this season.
Besides ever looming injury fears, what is the biggest obstacle to the Spurs winning the title?
The Mavericks in a playoff series, and then (provided they would win that series and emerge from the West) they'll have to be healthy and crisp aginst whatever beast emerges from the East.
This week's Melo update?
75-20-5, same as always. But I do think Donnie Walsh betrayed a bit of confidence yesterday in saying the Knick have a better idea now than they did a week ago about how certain situations are going to be resolved.
Samuel Dalembert looks like he can be a rebounding, shot blocking middle man that might make a big difference in the playoffs. Any word on who might be making a play for him?
I mentioned this in my Knicks chat Friday: Dalembert for Curry and $3 million is a decent fallback for the Knicks if the Melo talk fail and they want to get something for EC. The Maloofs would take the $3 million and whatever else they could save in a Curry buyout.
So I see you've pretty much written off the Lakers as an obstacle for the Spurs huh?
Right now I see the Mavericks as a bigger impediment, but you are correct: They did merit a mention. But as I was discussing with a certain veteran member of the Sixers yesterday, folks tend to underestimate how veteran teams like the Lakers can tend to mail in regular season games more so than most teams. The Celtics did it last year for the final two months. You still have to beat them in a seven-game series.
Calderon ($9M, two years left) would seem to have the most untradeable contract of the three. Barbosa would probably be the most likely to go, though Evans is a wild card if he comes back and plays as well as he did before breaking his foot. I would expect him to be rushed back and showcased soon. Raptors still have $12 million of their Bosh trade exception remaining, so they can be more creative than most teams in making uneven deals. (Barbosa fits in OKC, no? Bet the Raptors would love to get their hands on that Clippers' pick).
Chris, rumours up north here that all Raptors veterans are on the block -- Leandro Barbosa, Jose Calderon, Reggie Evans. Do you think any of those names will attract interest from contenders?
In a chat room rarity, the previous answer was posted before the question. Damn Gremlins.
How about Lowry on the Lakers, that would be awesome
An upgrade to Steve Blake appears their greatest need. Problem is they have few expendable assets to deal. Vujacic was the last of them, IMO. Blake does have a tradeable contract, though.
Sheridan. Who do you think wins the championship this year?
The Boston Celtics.
is Randolph's lack of playing time more a knock on Randolph, D'Antoni, or Walsh for bringing in a guy coach D wouldn't use?
It is a product of D'Antoni's short rotation, and AR's inability to play well back when he was given a chance as an 8-minute per game player. He is simply squeezed out right now, and he's still a young kid with a ton of potential and athleticism who will be a nice addition in the right place. I believe he is hoping for a trade to Indiana, where he'd have more opportunity than he would behind K.Love in Minnesota.
75-20-5--- this needs revision, at the very least because information has changed. Can we really keep the chances of him returning to Denver at 1 in 5? I'd say 85 (knicks via trade or FA) 15 (trade somewhere other than Denver)
If the Nuggets don't believe they are getting enough from the Knicks, they can hang onto him. Remember, there's still a chance they could trade him on draft night to a team he'd be willing to sign the extension with. (In order for that to happen, Anthony and the Nuggest would have to amend his contract to remove the ETO. That would made him trade-eligible again). And also don't forget that they can roll the dice with him in the playofs, or they could do a sign-and-trade with him if those are still allowed in the new labor deal.
Most under-the-radar issue for the Knicks?
Who will win their bowling outing tonight. Turiaf, Toney Douglas, Ray Felton and Andy Rautins all have skills. Mozgov is a bowling mystery. What was President Obama's famous bowling score? We can make that tonight's over/under for Mozgov's score. (Proceeds from Knicks bowling event go to Garden of Dreams foundation, which does some very good things. You can read about them on the Knicks Web site.)
Of the trio being discussed in a possible Melo trade (Gallinari, Fields, Chandler) who do you think the Knicks should be most and least willing to part with? And what do you put odds of the trade that has been reported recently going down?
Of the three, the Knicks are most willing to part with Chandler. Fields is in the middle, and Gallinari is the guy in that thresome that the Knicks like most. Also, chances are Chandler will leave as a FA if Knicks have to pursue 'Melo that way, so NY is sort of operating under the assumption that they are at risk of losing Chandler one way or another.
Could that last Knicks answer have been any worse or more of a plug without giving any real insight?
It was a plug, of course. I can't give a charitable organization a plug? Plus, I did identify the Knicks' good bowlers.
That is a wrap. We shall chat again, same time next week at this location. Over and out.