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February 16, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (12:08 PM)

Greetings from the Rose City everyone, where we got the Clips and Blazers on tap for tonight. I'll be there with detailed analysis on exactly how this game affects Jeremy Lin.

Trevor (Sandusky, Ohio)

Do you see the Cavaliers future as being bright with Kyrie Irving at the point and all the assets they have?

John Hollinger
  (12:10 PM)

Yes, I think they're generally in pretty good shape. They're going to have a lot of cap space, they have a rising star in Kyrie, and they have draft picks and a couple other decent players (Varejao, Thompson) to build around.

Dan (Vancouver)

The PER difference between Lebron and #2 D Wade is the same difference as #Wade and #31 (S Hawes). Is there a close 2nd in the MVP race so far?

John Hollinger
  (12:11 PM)

There is not a close second, no. I think you have to look at CP in a very distant second place, although you can make solid arguments for several different players as being worthy of No. 2 on the ballot. There is no argument about No. 1.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH)

What do you use to determine whether a player is considered X position on your PER rankings? For example, Anderson Varejeo is listed as a PF, but has played C for the Cavs all of this year and last.

John Hollinger
  (12:12 PM)

We're working on the positions. There's some technical stuff involved with feeds from other sources, but we're on it and Andy will be with the centers.

Tony (NYC)

Do the new Knicks match-up well with the Heat?

John Hollinger
  (12:13 PM)

Linsanity is now officially out of control

Shawn (Rochester, MN)

Hi John. Have you seen what Pekovic is doing the last few weeks? He has been terrific. Any idea whether he can sustain 90% of this or is this just a small sample size phenomenon?

John Hollinger
  (12:14 PM)

Pekovic's translated stats from Europe were very good, so I was surprised he struggled so much last season. He isn't THIS good, mind you, but I think he can remain a viable starter.

Charles (Charleston)

How many wins before the Spurs actually get a nod from the press?

John Hollinger
  (12:16 PM)

Hey, I wrote about them late last week. San Antonio is again doing its thing, quietly moving up the standings while everybody focuses on the coasts. They're playing as well as any team in the league right now and are doing it while limiting the minutes for their key players.

Ethan (Blandburg)

This is by no means disrespecting Jeremy Lin, but do you think that more players like him (undrafted, D-Leaguer's, deep bench players, etc.) could succeed at such a rate if given the same kind of opportunity? Do (most of) these players have the talent, just not the chance?

John Hollinger
  (12:17 PM)

You mean like Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby? No, what's happened with Lin is once-a-decade stuff. There are a lot of fringe players who could find a role if they landed on the right team, but very few that are capable of this.

Jeff (NYC)

With the way chandler is playing as the dive man in D'Antoni's offense, (70% FG), and the fact that he has transformed them into a top 10 defense, Doesn't Amare become sort of... unnecessary?

John Hollinger
  (12:18 PM)

Only if they change to a 2-on-2 league. Last I checked you still needed a power forward and Jared Jeffries wasn't getting named to any All-Star teams.

RoytheBoy (Cleveland)

What do you make of Erden's performance last night? 18 points 8 boards and held David West to 1 FG?

John Hollinger
  (12:18 PM)

Blind squirrel. Nut.

JD (Lincoln City)

Does Portland still have a legit shot at being a top 4 team in the west? Early in the season that 7-2 start shot the expectations through the roof. Even thought they've sputtered they're still number 4 in the west in you rankings. Thoughts?

John Hollinger
  (12:20 PM)

Still think they can, yes, but they need some fairly immaculate health to do it. Blazers have been unlucky on point differential but very lucky on injuries up til Aldridge's ankle; if he's back soon they can still make a run but they really only have nine players and two of them are nearly 40-year old centers.

Mark (Los Angeles)

Is Lin locked for MIP award? NBA may have to rename this. If he can average 25pt and 8assist and top 4 seeds, even MVP? Linpossible!

John Hollinger
  (12:20 PM)

If Lin doesn't win MIP there will be multiple investigations.

Doug (Utah)

Do you see the Jazz moving Al Jefferson before the deadline? Jazz are 24th in defense and significantly worse with him on the court and have bigs they need to develop.

John Hollinger
  (12:21 PM)

I don't, but like you I think there's a strong argument for doing so. Favors and Kanter need to play and Millsap is much better suited to playing next to them.

Darryl (Oakland, CA)

Should Carmelo be traded? Isn't it obvious he's not going to be able to mesh now with his ball hogging tactics? He'll be the new cancer of the team!

John Hollinger
  (12:23 PM)

Actually the Knicks really need more scoring help, unless they can schedule Toronto and Sacramento for all their remaining 36 games. I think Melo will help take some of the load off of Lin and reduce New York's dependence on the Walkers and Novaks of the world.

Mike (charlotte)

What are the chances Chris Kaman gets bought out by the league owned Hornets? And if that happens, what are that chances that he takes less to sign w/ Miami? And if that happens, what are the chances Stern vetoes the signing?

John Hollinger
  (12:25 PM)

I see a buyout as unlikely, simply because the Hornets would probably prefer to retain his Bird Rights and be able to sign-and-trade him after the season. Also, I think New Orleans will go down to the wire looking for trades. If he is bought out, the destination depends on whether he's looking for minutes or money.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

Can you think of a realistic trade situation involving Antwan Jamison to a contender? He's playing well now (on offense, we know defensively he has limitations) and could conceivably help a playoff team as a scorer off the bench.

John Hollinger
  (12:27 PM)

The problem is finding a large, deadweight expiring contract for Cleveland to take back, which greatly limits the potential partners. Unlike Kaman, I do wonder if a buyout is the more realistic endgame here.

Joe (302)

Do you see the 76ers making any moves for a big man? They can't rely on Vucevic and Mr. 500 all year long, especially against CHI and MIA

John Hollinger
  (12:29 PM)

With what? Are you willing to trade Evan Turner for that piece? Getting Hawes back at some point will help, but Philly's biggest problem is figuring out how they can get from their current nine-good-players model to something with a bit more star power

Brendan (Dallas)

John, the Blazers aren't making the playoffs, sorry. You'll just have to drink mega-brew beer.

John Hollinger
  (12:31 PM)

Let's go Nuggets. Can at least get me some Fat Tire.

Jimbo (Boston, MA)

Realistically, do you think the Knicks can reach the second round of the playoffs? They aren't beating Chicago or Miami for sure in the semis...

John Hollinger
  (12:33 PM)

Again, the Knicks are in 8th at the moment and need to make up several games to move into the top 6, which is where they'd need to be to avoid Chicago or Miami in the first round. Let's not plan the parade just yet.

Chris (Minneapolis)

What do you think of the rumor of the Wolves trying to get Gasol for Williams? Any traction? Seems like less of a need w/ Pek playing well.

John Hollinger
  (12:35 PM)

It makes no sense to me on any level. Not the right player for Minny to target, and not the right move for a veteran L.A. team. Sounds to me like somebody floating a trial balloon rather than anything serious.

Lindy (Missouri)

What's the deal with Korver not getting invited to the 3-point contest? He's said in the past that he really wants to do it. Wouldn't he be a natural choice instead of having two competitors from the same team participating?

John Hollinger
  (12:36 PM)

Jodie Meeks and Kyle Korver should be there instead of Love and Johnson. I don't understand what the league's logic is in selecting participants for this contest; the fact they once tabbed Antoine Walker indicates that they aren't exactly taking a scientific approach to ensuring the best shooters participate.

Daniel (St. Louis)

If you had to guess right now, what kind of contract do you think Lin signs in the off season? Could the Knicks have thrown some team options in there as a matter of course or is that outlawed in the new CBA?

John Hollinger
  (12:38 PM)

The Knicks couldn't do anything because they picked him up on waivers, which means they grabbed the contract that Lin originally signed in Golden State at the start of last season. Lin will be a restricted free agent and under the "early Bird" rule New York can re-sign him for the mid-level exception or the average salary; I don't remember which applies (the two numbers used to be the same but aren't anymore) but you're looking at $5-6 million for the first year.

Marqus (MN)

Should the Wolves target M. Ellis instead?

John Hollinger
  (12:40 PM)

No, he'd be a terrible fit. Actually, I struggle to think of places where he'd really be a good fit.... maybe Indiana.

Sam (Dallas)

Who beats Dallas in the West (as in who matches up the best)?

John Hollinger
  (12:42 PM)

The one team they really didn't want to face a year ago was Memphis. Not sure if the Griz even make the playoffs this year, but if Z-Bo is back I still think that match-up is the one that freaks them out a little. San Antonio also strikes me as a major problem for them.

Ryan (San Mateo, CA)

Curry is top 20 in PER. He's clearly better than Lee and Monta, right?

John Hollinger
  (12:43 PM)

I'm a big Curry fan and he's quietly played extremely well when the ankle has allowed. Obviously he needs to be able to stay on the court, but to me he's by far their best offensive player.

Dan (La)

I see the Thunder, Spurs and Mavs as the only 3 teams with finals potential in the west at this time...agree?

John Hollinger
  (12:45 PM)

Actually, I would cast as a much wider net that goes eight or nine deep. The field is close enough that if you picture any of these teams at full strength, or at full strength plus a minor trade, you can see them getting to the Finals.

WH (NYC)

Not tryin to be funny but do you actually see some *big* trades before the deadline? we say Dwight but has the talk lost a lot of traction with the team playing better?

John Hollinger
  (12:46 PM)

No, I still think Dwight trade makes the most sense. Orlando is playing better but will be hard-pressed to win more than one round and could be one-and-done again.

Jay (Louisiana)

Why are the Blazers so bad in close games? I blame Mcmillan.

John Hollinger
  (12:48 PM)

There's a good chance it's mostly dumb luck. But I'd also say Aldridge has had some of his worst moments in the final minute of several close losses.

Dan (La)

Even with CP, can you see the Clips doing anything in the playoffs? I don't see it this year for 2 reasons:1. VDN is their coach2. Blake and DAJ have zero playoff experience

John Hollinger
  (12:49 PM)

Yes, I can see them making a run. CP and Blake is a tough combo to match up against for 40 minutes, even with Vinny calling the shots. If they can shore up the wing defense at the trade deadline they start looking scary.

Daniel (Alaska)

Your thoughts on Seattle potentially coming back?

John Hollinger
  (12:50 PM)

I'm pretty excited for this, although I don't think it's fair to the folks in Sacramento or New Orleans -- one of whom would have to lose a team that they've largely supported well. Obviously the I-5 runs from Portland to Seattle would be a hoot for me.

Adrian (Oxford)

If we're talking about potential Seattle teams, how safe is the Bobcats franchise in Charlotte?

John Hollinger
  (12:55 PM)

I don't recall the specifics, but my understanding is that they're locked in for a while longer. The two truly portable franchises right now are the Kings and Hornets. The Kings are an either-or deal depending on whether they get an arena approved in the next two months; the variables with the Hornets are mushier.

Ash (Chicago)

Hey John, what did you think of Broussard's trade ide of Wade and Bosh to Orlando for D12, Turk and Anderson to Miami? I actually think that would make alot of sense for both teams, although Miami would never be bold enough to trade Wade. But from a basketball perspective, do you think that would be a good trade?

John Hollinger
  (12:57 PM)

I've long felt that a Miami-Orlando deal could be hugely beneficial for both sides, whether it's Howard-LeBron or Howard-Wade, because it allows whatever wing is left to have the ball in his hands full-time again while providing a dominant big. The deal Broussard cooked up is about the best one I've seen yet.

Nathan (Portland)

If the NBA comes back to Seattle, does the new team become the Sonics? If I recall the city of Seattle retained the rights to the name and records when they bolted to OKC.

John Hollinger
  (12:58 PM)

Yes, it would absolutely be named the Sonics.

Kerry (Twin Cities)

You should be rooting for the Wolves to go to the playoffs... you ever had the micro-brews up here?

John Hollinger
  (12:59 PM)

No, I just know I like the airport. There are worse fates I could envision.

Jaime (Georgia)

Are the Bobcats the worst team ever?

John Hollinger
  (1:00 PM)

They're getting into the discussion, yes, although now that some guys are healthy I think they'll snag a couple more wins.

Jivas (formerly Chicago)

Where do you place the odds of the Bulls beating the Heat in a 7-game series if (a) Chicago has home-court and (b) if Miami has home court?

John Hollinger
  (1:02 PM)

I would make Miami the favorite in either scenario, but not by a lot ... I think Chicago definitely has the goods to *possibly* beat the Heat, but I still think it's more likely Miami wins.

Dan (La)

Is it possible Anaheim would get a team before Seattle? If so that's absurd and tragic.

John Hollinger
  (1:04 PM)

If Seattle builds an arena they absolutely, positively move to the front of the line, no questions asked. No other market can trump a new arena plus a large metro area plus lots of rich people.

Alexei (Prague)

Hello from Czech. Do you think there will ever be NBA teams in Europe? Or maybe a European division of it?

John Hollinger
  (1:05 PM)

Seemed more realistic a few years ago. The league isn't looking at expansion at all right now and the economic upheaval in the Mediterranean countries has made a Euro division less alluring. If they ever did it, yes, the idea is to put five or so teams over there and make it a division.

Nathan (Portland)

Any chance Paul Allen tries to pull the blazers to his home town Seattle? Wait nevermind, thats just crazy . . .

John Hollinger
  (1:06 PM)

This is a foolproof way to freak out everybody in Portland, but there is no chance of this happening.

Matt (DC)

Which GM is going to get shown the door first this? Will any happen in season?

John Hollinger
  (1:10 PM)

I think we may see a couple changes later this spring, but probably not before the trade deadline. Certainly Ernie Grunfeld appears to be on borrowed time in Washington; Sacramento may make a move once it knows more about its future, and I have to think Otis Smith's seat is a bit toasty in Orlando too.

John Hollinger
  (1:11 PM)

Folks that's all the time I have but thanks again for the questions and we'll do this again next week.