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February 28, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan
  (2:04 PM)

Good afternoon from New York, where ESPN drew its highest rating ever for an NBA regular-season game for last night's Heat-Knicks game (despite the fact that the game was also being shown on the team's flagship, the MSG Network). So today we will discuss popularity dynamic and the league-wide ramifications, including the school of thought that all these big players flocking to big markets is a bad thing for the NBA. I don't think it is. Questions?

Jon (Fairfield, CA)

Chris, in the top-heavy East, no one seems to be talking about the Sixers resurgence. How far can they go in the playoffs?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:07 PM)

I assure you they are talking about it in New York, because the Sixers have been nipping at the Knicks heels for a while now and threatening to send them into the seventh spot. The thing of it is, I don't expect the Sizers to have much of a chance against the Heat, Celtics and/or Bulls, and this is a year in which being the No. 6 seed or the No. 7 seed might not matter so much because it depends on how the 1-2-3 race shakes out at the top. After last night, I'm sure the Knicks would be glad to fall into the No. 7 seed if it assured them of a matchup against the Heat. But Miami might fall to No. 3, in which case the Knicks must hold off the Sixers because they alternative might be the Celtics in a 2-7 matchup. All this, mind you, because the Bulls are a legit threat to be No. 1 coming out of the East.

Benjamin (Concord)

Is there anything to stop Dwight Howard and Deron Williams joining forces in 2012? with the Lakers? Because I see that as a lot more realistic than them joining forces with the Brooklyn Pseudo-Nets in 2012

Chris Sheridan
  (2:10 PM)

Only if both of them leverage themselves into trades next year, a la Carmelo, and the Lakers somehow manage to find two trades that work cap-wise. They would not have enough cap space otherwise to get either player as a free agent. Anyhow, the future of the NBA, with the labor situation and all, produces too foggy a vision for anyone to have a clear crystal ball on a lot of this summer of '12 stuff.

Al (Salem)

Who is going to be the biggest name to be bought out and where are they heading?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:12 PM)

Colleague Marc Stein has already reported the buyout news for the biggest name out there, Troy Murphy, and the next guy to watch for is Mike Bibby, who would move into the starting job and who can hit 3s (unlike C.Arroyo and M.Chalmers, the players Miami has used there to date). Rasual Butler got waived today by the Clippers, and shooters are always in demand.

Edward (The Bronx, NY)

Is Corey Brewer ever going to get a shot in Mike D'Antoni's system?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:15 PM)

It appears not, at least right now, but people would have said the same thing about Shawne Williams back in late November. Now he is their first guy off the bench. Depends on the opponent, the matchup needs and the level of confidence M.D'Antoni retains in L.Fields, who sat out crunch time last night. C.Brewer can be a perimeter defender with six fouls to use, which is a good weapon is utilized properly. Same way K.Azubuike is a career 41 pct 3-point shooter who could bring benefits down the road that the Knicks have not yet seen.

Javier (San Juan)

I like Miami...but I just don't see them winning the title this year. They don't seem to be able to finish quaters and even thought they have two of the best players in the nba Wade & LeBron they don't seem to have that killer instict whe the games is on the line. But on the other had do you see any team beating them on a 7 game series? I just don't see game a la NCAA yes but 4 games...mmm NOT.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:20 PM)

Their record against quality opponents is certainly worrisome. They've destroyed the dregs of the league and played mediocre against the rest. I have been saying all season they won't get past Boston in a seven-game series, but that was before Danny Ainge felt the need to pull a Joe Dumars and dynamite his chemistry when his team was on top. As for the killer instinct factor, that is something earned over time -- and LeBron hasn't shown it in the past few seasons, though D.Wade has (e.g. Game 4 vs. Boston last year). At the end of the day, I think they may see a seven-game series sooner than they would have expected.

Rod (Chicago)

Durant signed a "Max" extension that says his 1st year salary is 25% of cap number in current CBA; what if cap number is so low that his salary is less than the extensions signed by Horford/Noah; will he be grandfathered in?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:23 PM)

That is To Be Determined, but I ask you this: If Billy Hunter presents a deal to is membership for ratification that includes substantial real money pay cuts, do you think there's a snowball's chance in hell that deal will be approved? I, for one, do not. As I've said repeatedly regarding the labor situation, all that's out there right now is posturing and doomsday rhetoric. In the end, however, both sides are going to have to be reasonable and come out of this with some kind of deal. It's a question of how much damage they want to do along the way to a sport whose ratings and popularity are through the roof this season. Rant over.

Ashleigh (Providence, RI)

Mr. Sheridan, was wondering what you thought about Dwight Howard's play? He looks like an MVP to me, and this is coming from Celtic land.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:27 PM)

He is in the debate, but his chances of winning I'd say are small. At a certain point he will be judged more for his team's record than for his worth to his team, because voters like to give preference to a player's contributions to a team that exceeded expectations. Hence Derrick Rose leading the parade right now. And do not underestimate the respect Manu Ginobili will receive. Then you have the two Miami guys and Amar'e, not to mention Durant, who sort of falls into the same group with D.Howard.

Kyle (Cleveland, OH)

Assuming that Jamison and Baron Davis will actually be committed to winning instead of leaving, What do you make of the Cavs? Davis, Hickson, Jamison, and seems like they have talent.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:29 PM)

Talent to compete for the 7-8 seed next season, maybe. But this season just got a whole lot tougher if Jamison's broken finger knocks him out for any length of time.

Big E (Houston, TX)

So you're saying the Bulls is exceeding expectations? No one expected the Bulls to be playoff contenders this season? That's a bunch of crock.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:31 PM)

Nobody expected the Bulls to contend for the No. 1 seed in the East is what I am saying. They are only 2 behind Boston in the loss column, and they can tie the season series with the Celtics if they win their final meeting April 7.

Jabali (Orlando)

Do you think Orlando will do what Denver did as opposed to what Toronto and Cleveland and trade Howard this off season?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:34 PM)

No. Not at all. The worst they could do is let him play out the final seasons of his contract and then try to re-sign him, or do a sign-and-trade. Their biggest worry might be whether the Nets have max cap space when they are going into Brooklyn in 2012, and whether D-Will stays with that franchise. If Dwight bolted for Kings County, that's the only way I could see the Magic losing him for nothing. In the meantime, they have two years to be a lgitimate threat to win the title.

John (Fl)

To Jabali: Orlando is NOT going to trade Howard, they have a top of the line arena, no state income taxes, and owner that doesnt care about money, and one of the winningest franchises over the past several years! They are buyers not sellers.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:35 PM)

John backs up my point, Jabali.

Joe (RI)

I love Kendrick Perkins as much as the next guy, but whats the deal with all the analysts turning him into some sort of hybrid of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlin? Perk rode the pine the last 6 minutes of every game because he is so limited offensively. He's a great role player not Robert Parish 2.0.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:36 PM)

He was he only guy in the Eastern Conference who was effective against Dwight Howard the past two postseasons. That is why Celtic Nation is losing its mind.

Mendel (fl)

Reports are coming out that Bibby WILL be bought out, and makes most sense to go to the heat. Seeing what a quality - elite pg could do for teams with superstars (See big-shot, Mr. ) would Bibby be a significant upgrade over Chalmers/arroyo?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:39 PM)

From a shooting standpoint, yes. He could give them what they are missing from their rotation players other than M.Miller. (Notice that 3-point shootout champion James Jones was on the bench last night when Miami needed a 3 late). From a defensive standpoint, he would be a huge dropoff from Chalmers. I do not even factor Arroyo into the equation anymore.

Jorge (New York)

Murphy and Powe to the Celtics? Bibby to the Heat? Butler to the Bulls?sound about right?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:41 PM)

Knicks are the wild card in all this with the bigs, because they are looking for size and have become a desired destination. Gotta wait until tomorrow night to see how big the buyout list becomes. For instance, just postulating here, what if C.Kaman goes onto the market suddenly? He would be in greater demand than T.Murphy or L.Powe, that's for sure.

Chris (CT)

Why are the Laker's missing out on these waived players?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:43 PM)

Jerry Buss doesn't like spending extra money (and remember, he pays a 100 percent premium on players becuse of the luxury tax), which is why they did the Vujacic-Joe Smith deal. Unless they are going to add a player who actually will play, I think Dr. Buss believes he has enough despite the Lakers' inconsistent regular-season play. They will still be a tough nut for anyone to crack in a seven-game series.

Mendel (fl)

RE:Bibby. If the Heat ARE able to scoop up both Bibby and Murphy, how much does it change your pick of Boston over Miami on a 1-5 scale (1 being the least).

Chris Sheridan
  (2:46 PM)

If Miami gets them both, it could tip the scales entirely. First, though, I want to take a longer look at how Jeff Green fits in in Boston and how healthy Shaq is going into April. Lots of variables in play as we sit here on the final day of February.

Bernard (Las Vegas)

Who do you have right now winning the Championship? And why?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:47 PM)

Right now? Spurs.

Kappy (Miami)

Watching the OKC game vs the Lakers on Sunday, it seemed as if OKC was missing Jeff Green's offense more then Perkins size. Think they are regretting the deal with Boston?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:48 PM)

They were missing a point guard who does not make mistakes. That was not Russell Westbrook's final hour. In the bigger picture, I think the Thunder are pleased that the score stayed that low. They'll need to play that way against LAL to beat them if they meet in the playoffs. And they'll be a much better defensive team against LAL with Perk.

Ant The G (TX)

Speaking of a tough nut to crack, the Spurs still control their destiny as far as having HCA throughout the playoffs, they have 2 tough games coming up, Lakers @ LA and the Heat @ home, which should somewhat gauge where they stand amongst the Media's elite teams...Barring any injury, do you see SA vs LA in the Conf. finals, and does that series go 7 games??

Tony (San Antonio)

A frozen margarita on the riverwalk in the middle of June for you Sheridan for picking the Spurs, sound good?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:50 PM)

Back-to-back Spurs posts came into the queue, but I'll pass on the Riverwalk in June. It's about 125 degrees down there. BarAmerica in S.A. is my preferred place. Still 25 cents to play pool.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:51 PM)

And to the previous question, right now I'd like the Spurs over the Lakers in a seven-game series, with the series going the distance.

Sam (La Jolla)

Watching the Hawks game last night, I realized I was their only fan in the world. Thanks for not wasting everybody else's time talking about their recent defensive renaissance post-Bibby.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:54 PM)

Some sarcasm from a displaced Atlantan? The thing with the Hawks is this: It looks like they will play the Magic in the first round, and that, my friend, is a sweep or a 5-game Magic win. Hinrich was a nice upgrade over Bibby, but they still can't compete with Orlando. That would be the series which nobody would pay any attention to. There's one every year (Bobcats-Magic last year, for example).

Brandon Chicago, IL [via mobile]

With the way the Bulls are playing, especially the consistent production of Deng and the Bulls bench- would you agree that the Boston Perkins to OKC trade swung the gate wide open for Chicago to take the East? Considering, the Heat haven't shown ability to win against solid teams consistently?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:55 PM)

It swung the door open for the Bulls as much as it did for the Magic.

Jon (Fairfield, CA)

Chris, game on the line, one shot needed to win. Who takes it for the Sixers?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:57 PM)

If it is not Iguodala, I like their chances better. I've seen him miss too many at the end of games.

Lukas (Minny)

Hi. Kevin Love went off for 37 and 23 last night. The average is still 21 and 15.5 Oh yeah, he plays for the T'Wolves so no one really cares. Just trying to get some pub for a small market team. Thanks Chris.

Chris Sheridan
  (3:00 PM)

He got some props by making the All-Star team, but he deserves bigger props for that 37-23 line last night. He does this kind of thing a lot, you may have noticed, Lukas. And he shoots 3s very well. Probably the most underrespected player in the NBA right now. I got to know him in Turkey last summer and he is a great kid, too.

jp (san antonio)

sheridan, bar america, really? you keeps it real man.

Chris Sheridan
  (3:02 PM)

Yes I do, hombre. See you in June, and see the rest of you back in this chat room next Monday at 2 p.m. EST (or in the Knicks chat room on Friday at 2 p.m. accessible through the ESPNNewYork homepage or by following me on Twitter @CSheridanESPN.)