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March 29, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (12:07 PM)

Greetings everyone. Heck of a performance from the Bulls here in the ATL last night has me wondering if we've had our eye off the ball -- forget Miami-OKC, maybe it's Chicago-San Antonio we should be thinking about. But enough about that ... onto the questions.

Steve (Los Angeles)

What is the first year salary that D Will will get if he signs with Dallas? That said, if they amnesty Haywood and sign D Will - can they go over the cap to re-sign Terry if they wanted to? Or could they only go up to it?

John Hollinger
  (12:08 PM)

They would have to renounced Terry to have enough cap space and could only re-sign for him the minimum; or they could re-sign Terry first at some very low number. Neither scenario is realistic obviously; he'll get much more $$ on open market.

Bobe Kryant (Champaign, IL)

How do you feel the Laker's will do in the playoffs? Are they a real contender? And how much is Sessions helping the team? Thanks!

John Hollinger
  (12:09 PM)

Spectacular advertisement for today's Per Diem. I go into all those issues there.

Alex Gama (Los Angeles, CA)

Do you think The nuggets will make the playoffs? If they don't any chance George Karl gets fire?

John Hollinger
  (12:09 PM)

I think it's about 50-50 whether they make it or not, but Karl's job is safe either way.

Joe Lacob (Oakland)

I can fix tanking!

John Hollinger
  (12:12 PM)

The Warriors are doing well enough in this department that they may indeed be able to keep their own pick. Losing at home to the Hornets last night really helped the cause, but they'll need to redouble their efforts. By my count they can only win three of their final 17 games to land in the worst seven records, and even that doesn't guarantee a top-seven pick.

Cory (Seattle)

With Derrick Favors emerging, what do you see the Jazz doing with Jefferson or Millsap?

John Hollinger
  (12:13 PM)

I think there's a strong chance you'll see one of them traded this offseason, but only if the Jazz have an opportunity to get a big-time perimeter player out of it.

Aaron (Texas)

Am I crazy to think the Spurs are the favorites in the West? OKC has only beat the Spurs twice in three years!

John Hollinger
  (12:14 PM)

No, you are not crazy. They're second in the West while getting virtually nothing from Manu, and they've managed the season much better than any other team in terms of fatigue.

Mark (Indianapolis)

Do you see the Pacers keeping Roy Hibbert and George Hill? Both are RFA's after the season.

John Hollinger
  (12:15 PM)

Yes. Part of the reason they traded for Hill is that he was from Indy and they knew it wouldn't be a struggle to re-sign him. As for Hibbert, they'll pay what it takes because centers like that don't grow on trees. Only way they'd deal is if a sign-trade opened up for an elite point guard.

Brett (Altoona, Pa)

With Rudy Gay in the mix and Z-Bo coming back, do the Grizz have a shot of winning the west?

John Hollinger
  (12:16 PM)

Puncher's chance, but I want to see how they look down the stretch. Memphis has hit some wobbles trying to reintegrate Z-Bo these past few games.

Sean (Salt Lake City)

Do you think Gordon Hayward could be an all-defensive team at some point in his career? Did you see those blocks last night?

John Hollinger
  (12:17 PM)

Yes, I think it's possible. Big for a wing, excellent athlete, and it's not just the blocks -- he has great feet laterally, perhaps from his youth as a tennis prodigy.

Ryan (Wilmington, De)

Who is going to win the Atlantic?

John Hollinger
  (12:18 PM)

Still have Philly winning it fairly comfortably. Boston still has three games left against Miami and several other doozies, while Sixers have several bottom-feeders left on schedule.

Dan (CA)

What do you think Eric Gordon's offer sheet will look like this summer? I imagine someone will offer 4 years 40 - 42 million and New Orleans will match.

John Hollinger
  (12:20 PM)

I think you're several million too low, but much depends on what comes back from the medical people. Nobody is committing $50 mil without a good long look at his knee, which is why he's pushing to come back before end of season and show everyone he's healthy.

Troy B. (Greendale,CO)

Do you know there's some guy in the comments section below pretending to be you and answering questions through the comments

John Hollinger
  (12:21 PM)

This has happened before. It's not me, everyone.

Jackson (IA)

True or false...if Kobe had the same mentality as Tim Duncan, the lakers would have as good a shot as anyone to win the title this year.

John Hollinger
  (12:22 PM)

False. Kobe's mentality can't make Metta World Peace into a decent starter.

Ned (NY)

How good are the Woodson Knicks, when healthy?

John Hollinger
  (12:23 PM)

The truth is we don't really know, it appears they are quite talented but that their pieces don't fit together very well. Nonetheless, a dangerous team to see as a 7 or 8 seed if everyone is healthy.

Thomas (Washington DC)

What's Jordan Crawford's upside? He can be maddeningly inefficient and his shot selection's awful, plus he's not that physically impressive, but he's really been producing for Washington this year. Is he fools gold? Solid sixth man? Starting shooting guard?

John Hollinger
  (12:26 PM)

Long-term I think he's a sixth man. He has both scoring and passing talent, but he has absolutely no idea what a good shot is and he's not content to move the ball when the situation calls for it. Additionally, despite good quickness his overall defense is fairly poor. You don't mind a player like that as much if he's creating shots for the second unit, but as a starter he's a big negative.

Taylor h (Lbk)

What do you think about the signing of Diaw? A great passing big is always good in SA.

John Hollinger
  (12:28 PM)

Fifth big man if everyone's healthy, basically just insurance against injury and an option as a 4 against smallball lineups. Be surprised if he plays more than 10 minutes a game in postseason.

Ryan (San Mateo, Ca)

The bobcats have one of the worst point differentials in league history. Could Kentucky hang w/ them in a 40 minute game?

John Hollinger
  (12:30 PM)

The Bobcats would destroy Kentucky. Consider that Charlotte has seven lottery picks, including the best collegian from a year ago, and you'll get some idea of the talent disparity.

Taylor (LBK TX )

Do you like Patty Mills as backup PG in SA? Dare I say better than TJ Ford was? Gary Neal?

John Hollinger
  (12:31 PM)

Not as much as I like Manu Ginobili as their backup PG. San Antonio's moves this week: Diaw, Jack, Mills -- were all about covering their bases at the back end of the rotation. Mills gives them another option as a quick PG who can shoot, but his real value is in case of injury. If everyone's healthy he'll play 5-10 minutes at most.

Chris (NYC)

I know Mike D'Antoni isn't completely at fault for what's happened with the Knicks this year but after watching them play under Mike Woodson, do you think he'll consider playing defense is a good thing?

John Hollinger
  (12:32 PM)

This year's Knicks, under D'Antoni, were vastly better at defense than offense.

Adam (Puerto Vallarta)

Why would Deron sign with the Mavericks when the Nets can sign him for $28 million more? Dwight or Josh Smith can sign in 2013 too, and Dallas' roster will look terrible in a year or two

John Hollinger
  (12:34 PM)

Because he's already made more money playing basketball than he could ever spend. General rule of thumb: On the first big contract players just want to get paid, on the second they'll sacrifice some dough to go someplace they want. Better question might be if he would choose Dallas over a sign-and-trade to Lakers for Pau Gasol.

Kobe (LA)

Isn't cute when Mike Brown pretends to be in charge?

John Hollinger
  (12:35 PM)

It's better than the alternative. That shot by Bynum was so egregiously awful that I couldn't imagine a coach NOT taking him out.

Frank (Boston)

if rivers is on board when celtics pick do they take him?

John Hollinger
  (12:36 PM)

This would be a bad idea on about a hundred different levels. There is no easier way to lose the locker room than if they think you're playing favorites with Junior.

Matt (Houston)

Based on the past few weeks, I would say that Ricky Rubio is vitally more important to the Wolves success than originally thought. Kevin Love is amazing, but Ricky just brought out the best in everyone. Will they be contending next year provided he's fully recovered?

John Hollinger
  (12:36 PM)

You spelled "Pekovic" wrong

DJ (Philly)

What do you think the Sixers should do with Evan Turner after this year?

John Hollinger
  (12:37 PM)

It's not clear to me what his trade value is. They might have better luck selling high on Iguodala, as distasteful as that might be given the year he's having.

Jamie (Ogden)

I know Pacers need an upgrade at point guard and have cash to spend any thoughts on how they may get someone to go to Indy?

John Hollinger
  (12:38 PM)

The two tried-and-true methods are 1) grossly overpay somebody, and 2) trade using the cap space as a chip. They may try the latter if there's a juicy sign-trade opportunity with Hibbert (coughRondocough)

Andrew (SF)

Does Biyombo have enough offensive skills to start long-term? Potentially pairing with Davis on D...

John Hollinger
  (12:39 PM)

Yes, he does. He's not great, but he can catch and finish so you have to guard him, and he and Davis would be a monstrous combo at the defensive end.

Larry (ATL)

AnNy way the Hawks can get a 5, and move Al to the 4? Zaza has been great - but not contender great. Is Hinrich's salary enough to make an offer to Kaman? Is Kaman the right move? Any other potential big men out there?

John Hollinger
  (12:41 PM)

the hard part is the Hawks' contract situation -- with Atlanta being on the luxury tax line they can a) only offer Kaman the taxpayer midlevel and b) wouldn't do it anyway since they'd get hammered by the tax. The obvious way out is to trade Josh Smith for a true 5 and move Horford down to 4.

Ben (Philly)

Does the fact that the Bulls are destroying some teams/winning close games without Rose provide proof that LeBron shoulda been MVP last year?

John Hollinger
  (12:43 PM)

I thought Howard should have been MVP, with LeBron second. But everybody got caught up in the Rose story and willfully ignored that there was a lot more to Chicago's success last season. He's a fantastic player, certainly among league's ten best, but MVP last year seriously strained logic.

Chris (Oregon)

John, if Portland gets New Jersey's top 3 protected pick, assuming it is in the 4-8 range, who do you think they would target in the draft?

John Hollinger
  (12:45 PM)

I think they'd go best frontcourt player available. Too high to take one of the point guards and their wing positions seem pretty set. But they may also look to trade out of that spot for more immediate help.

B (Chicago)

The Bulls won 55 games the year Jordan retired, that does not mean Jordan was not the MVP...

John Hollinger
  (12:47 PM)

Actually he wasn't. Barkley won that year. But to your larger point, there was overwhelming evidence that Jordan was the best player in the league in the preceding several seasons. In Rose's case, not so much.

Kevin Durant (OKC)

Do you think we can ever win a ship with Westbrook shooting as much as he does?

John Hollinger
  (12:47 PM)

Focusing on the wrong end of the court, chief -- you're first in Offensive Efficiency. If the Thunder don't win the title, it will be their defense that's the reason.

D Simon (Bucktown)

I realize that coaches never win back-to-back COY awards, but should Thibs be the exception? What other coach has navigated this condensed season better? Who has won more with less? So many injuries (Rose, Deng, Hamilton, Watson) yet they still cruise along with the best record in the NBA. Some could argue Pops, but I don't think he's done a better job than Thibs. Thoughts?

John Hollinger
  (12:50 PM)

I'm in the Popovich camp, but I was blown away last night by what a well-oiled butt-kicking machine the Bulls have become under Thibodeau. Let me put it this way: They should be in the top two on every ballot.

Steve (Los Angeles)

"Because he's already more money playing basketball than he could ever spend." - ummmm...I think Iverson and Antoine Walker would disagree....

John Hollinger
  (12:51 PM)

I don't think Deron rolls like that. Unless they dramatically increase greens fees over the next quarter century I think he'll be fine.

Nate (Chicago)

John, your 3 favorite teams to watch this year?

John Hollinger
  (12:53 PM)

There's something I really enjoy about watching a no-talent New Orleans team compete its pants off every night, so they'd have to be up there. I'd also say Denver, because I love how they run after makes and get opponents spread out. And Phoenix is still must-watch TV when the maestro is on the court.

Hugo (Sydney)

Any chance Love can sneak his way into the All-NBA First Team?

John Hollinger
  (12:55 PM)

There's a chance, but I suspect he'll be relegated to second because LeBron and Durant will be the first team forwards.

Ben the Gringo (Chile)

Thoughts on Boston and where they end up in the playoff picture? 8, 7, 6, or 4?

John Hollinger
  (12:56 PM)

7. They're about to get hammered by the schedule, so it will be very tough to keep pace with Philly or catch Indiana/Atlanta.

John (Fort Worth)

You said previously that really iso heavy teams like the Hawks and Blazers have suffered in the playoffs. Might the Thunder have similar problems or does that rule apply only to volume shooting teams?

John Hollinger
  (12:58 PM)

Possibly, but as you point out the Thunder are different because they're a high-percentage offense despite all the isos. And another iso-heavy team, the Lakers, seemed to make out alright. The issue with Atlanta and Portland to me was that the isos weren't even creating good shots, they were just counting on sheer volume.

Nephi (Provo, Utah)

Who would be the most favorable opponent for the jazz to pull a 1st rd upset?

John Hollinger
  (1:01 PM)

Charlotte. But of the teams they could realistically face, I would think moving up to No. 6 and facing a Laker team they've already beaten twice is probably their best option. Memphis is their best match-up but it would be very difficult for that pairing to happen.

John Hollinger
  (1:02 PM)

Folks, that's all the time we have but we'll do this again next week. Stay tuned tomorrow night for my dispatches on Twitter at @johnhollinger when Linsanity comes to Atlanta, and thanks for all the great questions.