Good afternoon everyone. For those who haven't seen yet, the Interwebs are abuzz with reports that Jerry Sloan has stepped down as coach of the Utah Jazz. More news as we get it. In the mean time, let's talk...
Let's get this question over with first, why do you think Sloan is resigning (if it's true)?
Could be any number of reasons. I doubt management forced him out, though. I suspect it may be something really simple -- like he woke up yesterday and realized he didn't want to do this anymore. But I suppose we'll get a better answer in a couple hours.
Why is Jerry Sloan retiring and does this affect if Dwill stays
I think Sloan leaving in itself doesn't affect Williams, it's what comes next that has the impact. I'm sure he presumed he wouldn't be able to play his whole career with Sloan as his coach, given the laws of aging and such, so in that sense I doubt this is a huge shock to him... although the timing may be.
Loved the trades article but wish the Sixers were in the discussion. Any rumors at all of them trying to trade Iggy and/or Brand?
Brand has trade value again because of how well he's played, but if you look around the league power forward isn't a "need" position for many teams. And they're still going to have to take back an onerous contract to make the money work.
I noticed a few games ago the blazers ran Rudy at the point with matthews and batum on the wings. Could you see the Blazers trading Andre Miller and using a PG mixture of Roy, Rudy and Patty Mills?
That's more of an emergency lineup than a real solution ... it works against teams that don't pressure the ball or for short stints, but you can't play that way for a full game. It's a nice wrinkle to throw out when Miller isn't in, however, because of the size.
John, Would Detroit or LA say no to just Prince for Kaman. Seems to fill a need for both teams, and be an overall wash with respect to talent, with Detroit losing financially.
Unfortunately the money owed Kaman is a deal-breaker if it's just Prince going back. Detroit can't take on any money while they're selling the team. That's why I think it has to be Hamilton and Prince for Kaman and Foye, with cash and a pick going back to the Pistons, because that way it doesn't impact the finances for a sale.
I know he is injured, but do yyou think the Hawks should try to trade for Mo Williams? They desperatly need a PG.
Yes, I think Mo Williams would be really good in the ATL but I'm not sure what Atlanta has to dangle. Jeff Teague? I don't think that's getting it done.
Would the Jazz potentially consider a trade of A.K. and Memo Okur for Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, and Jason Maxiell as filler?
I strongly suspect any Utah trade right now would have a very strong luxury tax reduction angle to it, which would make Detroit a poor trade partner for them.
Any chance my nets get more value for Troy Murphy than a 2012 2nd round pick from an Orlando Magic type team?
I'm shocked how much they've destroyed his trade value this year. You know where he'd be really good though -- New York! The Nets could trade him for Curry, cash and a second. They probably want more, but I'm not sure they can get it at this point.
Do you think the Celtics find a backup 2/3 now that Daniels is out? Pierce's D has deteriorated a bit this eyar, they could use a stopper-type vs Miami and LAL. Tony Allen anyone?
Exit Daniels, enter West. I think Delonte takes over the minutes Daniels was playing and occupies a similar role. By the way, I was mere days away from pointing out the irony that while the rest of the Cs were plagued by injuries, Daniels (who misses 25 games every year) had played every game. Not anymore...
What should Nate do with Roy when he comes back?
20 minutes, off the bench, and let's see what happens. Also, Roy is talking about returning the game before the break against New Orleans, but that sounds wishful to me. First game after the break makes a lot more sense.
Any chance the Celtics would be interested in Brandon Rush as a fill in for Daniels? Any chance theyd be willing to give up Avery Bradley in said deal?
I'd say that's a pretty decent trade proposal, but I imagine Boston would only agree if West had a health setback.
John, Denver can't be serious in hanging onto Melo and risking him walking for nothing; they just need to look at Cleveland and Toronto for that reminder. Any chance the Nets are able to get Melo for a trade that doesn't involve Favors?
Actually, one thing I've argued the past several weeks is that Denver is in a much stronger position cap-wise than Cleveland and Toronto were and could rebuild much more quickly. I still think Favors has to be in the deal.
With Tyrone Corbin being the only coach left on the Jazz staff does he get the dreaded interim tag? Who would be a candidate for HC going forward?
Strong possibility that it's Corbin, yes; very difficult to cram in an outsider at this point in the season. Only question is whether they name him the permanent replacement right away.
Do you think Houston would accept an offer of Omer Asik + pick for Courtney Lee?
In a hot second. It's an interesting trade because Lee is a perfect fit for Chicago, but I would be reluctant to part with Asik. He's really mistake-prone offensively, but on D he's a total game-changer.
Do you think with Sloan gone the Jazz will utilize the 3pt shot more? Wasn't one of the biggest problems with Sloan his inability to use the 3pt shot.
Put it this way: Utah was better at offense than defense virtually every year. So I'd be reluctant to ditch Jerry's playbook, even if it seemed the 3 went under-utilized.
Your trade has JR Smith and Birdman going to Portland....that would certainly bring back the nickname "Trail Gangstas"
Ha ... Smith is an expiring, I have him in there as a vehicle to get them to this year's playoffs. I think PDX would like Birdman actually ... there are plenty of people in Hawthorne with way more body art than he's got.
John, with the Hinrich trade, how does that improve the Lakers? It looks like they're getting rid of Barnes to swap Hinrich for Brown. How does that make sense?
Just to be clear, he's talking about my column today on proposed trades, and NOT an actual trade. You're right that it's a big price to pay for an upgrade at the point for L.A.; I had Cartier Martin coming back because I thought he would actually help L.A. but you can argue there should be something better in there.
What's going to happen with Jeff Green?
I suspect he'll get an offer from another team that Oklahoma City won't want to match, and that they'll insert Ibaka as a starter in his place. But much of this depends on the new CBA -- if they can keep Green at a reasonable figure they will.
I thought the proper term was "Jail Blazers".
Yes, just giving our friend the benefit of the doubt. Many variations have been heard over the years.
Hollinger, I think this late in the game, you roll with what you got if you're the Lakers, (too hard to integrate someone now, to the triangle, and have him really be a threat to help you get a third Championship in a row), Really, Don't these guys deserve the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, on a playoff stage? Much Ado about Nothin', Media is getting everyone all cranked up!
I'd actually be a little worried if I was L.A. Most other teams would klil for their problems, but if the bar is set at **winning the championship** -- which it undoubtedly is -- then I'd argue they don't look the part. L.A.'s struggles in past years always had an obvious cause -- i.e. one of Kobe/Pau/Andrew was hurting. Right now everyone's healthy and they're playing decently enough, but if this their ceiling or close to it, that won't get it done.
If Jerry Sloan has stepped down, do you see him retiring from coaching or perusing a new job?
I have a feeling you won't be seeing him again unless you live in Illinois and are involved in agriculture.
Will the Orlando Magic be doing anything to pick-up a big and where do you see Earl Clark fitting over time?
I've thought from day 1 that it's more likely Orlando gets a big man via the buyout route than from a trade. Sam Dalembert in particular seems to me a likely prospect.
I know Lebron has been the best player in the league but would you be upset if Chris Paul won the MVP? His PER's only 1.5 less and he does have a lot less help. Surely there's something to the theory that it's easier to put up numbers when a defense has to pay attention to Dwyane Wade instead of Willie Green.
Posting this because I think CP's MVP case has been vastly understated by the masses. That said, Dwight Howard has passed CP in the PER charts and obviously has more defensive value, so if I was pulling the lever today I'd put LeBron first and Howard second.
If your Mayo-Bulls trade goes through do you think Thibs can even work with a defense that has such defensive liabilities in two key spots(i.e Boozer and Mayo)?
I think he could, yes; right now Chicago's defensive performance stems heavily from its bench anyway. The starters have been good, sure, but it's the Gibson-Asik frontcourt that has been impenetrable.
Any chance Jamison gets bought out? Can't imagine he has much trade value.
He still has a year left after this one so a buyout is really unlikely. And I disagree on his trade value; I think there are deals that can be done with him. Although it would help if he'd play some defense himself rather than pointing at whomever he'd like J.J. Hickson to cover.
As a Jazz fan, I'm tempted to assume the Jazz will be worse without Jerry. Is there any chance the team will actually improve under a new coach?
Most teams see a short-term spike from midseason coaching changes and then revert to being their normal selves. Kind of like we've seen from Charlotte and Indiana. So I could see Utah having a two-week renaissance of some kind.
As a Bulls fan I'd love for us to get Mayo, but the trade you proposed would get rid of our only player (Watson) who can even pretend to play point guard other than Rose. Could Mayo handle the ball while Rose sat, or would Derrick have to prove his MVP chops by playing 48 minutes a night?
The idea in the trade I put together was to have Mayo play the point when Rose was out, but you could also have Vasquez go back to the Bulls from Memphis in return for Johnson.
As a Bucks fan, I am tempted to give up on the the Bucks. Any reason I shouldn't?
Well, last night sure was depressing, because they had everybody except Gooden healthy and they still looked terrible. Merely making the playoffs is starting to look like an uphill climb, let alone doing anything once there.
Houston: In or out of the playoffs? And do you see them making a move to help with their playoff push?
The first and second items are related. Houston will fall a game or two short with its current roster, but if they can upgrade at the deadline it could give them a leg up in what's become a six-team race for three spots.
Do you really think that Indiana's newfound success is "a short-term spike" and that they will "revert to their normal selves"? It really does look like Jim O'Brien was holding them back.
We don't know yet. After three and a half years it sometimes helps to have a new voice saying the same things, but it also helps when you're playing the Cavs, Raptors and Nets.
Can the Milwaukee Bucks use Michael Redd's expiring contract as a trade chip at the deadline?
Possibly, but it's not a unique asset -- virtually every team has large expiring contracts, so the Bucks need to bring more than that to the table.
OKC Thunder....are they the Atlanta Hawks of the west? Destined to get the 4 seed each year, maybe go second round but never get much further?
No, they have an incredibly bright future, and you're going to see them make more aggressive moves once there's a new CBA and more cost certainty. For this year though I'm guessing they win one round and that's it.
Even if Ray Allen breaks Reggie Miller's three point record tonight, do you still have Steve Nash as the best shooter of all time?
Yes, but Ray is on the short list.
Do the Jazz make make the playoffs without Sloan?
Interestingly enough, today was the first time all year Utah's Playoff Odds were at less than 50% -- 47 to be exact. The Jazz still have a couple games of cushion, but the other contenders all are playing much better basketball than they are.
So do the Hawks also have "an incredibly bright future"?? Will they make "more aggressive moves" as well?
No, as I keep writing, they seem weirdly content to go 47-35 every year. Hope I'm wrong about that. But the other issue is that they don't have a ton of trade assets right now. They'd basically have to move Josh Smith if they really wanted to shake things up.
Do you think the Suns have a realistic shot of making the playoffs? They have looked much better lately and are climbing in your power rankings and playoff odds.
A shot? yes. But I'd still say less than 50-50, and we have to see what moves their competition makes at the deadline. If Houston gets Melo, for instance, that dramatically lowers Phoenix's chances.
Would Smith and Bibby for Nash and Hill make sense?
Smith and Teague is the deal that the Suns would at least have to think about. Probably should have slipped that one into today's column too, but if Nash went to Atlanta I'd be spending all my time finding acceptable burger joints for Marc Stein, and I can't squeeze that in to my day.
Do you view the MVP as the best player in the league or the most valuable to their team?
Let me remove that question to another level -- I don't think "most valuable to their team" becomes a contest to see who has the crappiest backup or the worst cohort of teammates. And that's what passes for "debate" about the MVP has devolved into.
Did you know that there have been 245 coaching changes since coach Sloan took over? I don't think you will ever see a coach like that ever again in sports.
A better did you know: Did you know he was the only coach who would eat the media buffet before every game, home or away? I have no idea how he aged so well eating some of that stuff (Side note: some arenas are very good. Several others... not so much). Or maybe he just went hungry every night and that's how he stayed thin.
Are you getting as many ridiculous Derrick Rose questions as last week?
Fewer, but they're out there. Mostly talking about his outplaying Williams last night.
watching the hornets games, it seems in their latest skids that Monty Williams has not been engaging the referees as much as his counterpart coaches, and the Hornets opponents are going to the free throw line more. I know David West's problems have more to do with his incessant whining, but do you think the rookie coach should lobby on the floor more for his team?
He did plenty of lobbying in the Orlando game I went to, he's just not as flamboyant about it so you don't notice it if you're watching on the tube or from a distance. The reason for the struggles isn't the refs, it's the lack of frontcourt depth. When Okafor gets back they'll play better, provided nobody else gets hurt.
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the questions -- nearly 2,000 today, so it was impossible for me to get to most of them. Sorry about that. We'll do this again next week.