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May 10, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (12:09 PM)

What's up everyone? Three huge Game 6s tonight, another tomorrow, and Heat-Pacers on deck. Best time of the year ...

Dan (CA)

Do you see Asik getting a big offer sheet from anyone over the summer? So limited on offense.

John Hollinger
  (12:10 PM)

I do think he'll get an offer sheet, but it will be a midlevelish thing rather than DeAndre Jordan money. And as much as I like Asik, I do have questions about whether he can justify the dollars given his offensive shortcomings, and the fact that wherever he goes isn't going to have a defensive system like Chicago's.

Ned (NYC)

If you were the Knicks GM, your offseason plan would entail?

John Hollinger
  (12:12 PM)

Trying to trade Amare, but that won't work. It's an uninsured contract and thus pretty much toxic for the rest of the league. Beyond that, they have to use their midlevel to re-sign Lin and then get good role players to take the minimum. New York's overriding idea with the Melo-Amare combo has been that any other player they get has to either make 3s or defend. Expect more of that.

Prashant (Baghdad, Iraq)

Who you got for Sixers-Bulls tonight? And can the Bulls get an injured player exemption for Rose?

John Hollinger
  (12:13 PM)

They could only get an injury exception if he's expected to miss all of next season, which he isn't. As for Sixers-Bulls, I still cling to the idea that Rose-less Chicago remains the better team, but this free-throw disparity has to stop. I don't totally understand why Philly is getting to the line so easily, but it's the difference in the series right now.

Rad nice (New York)

With Miami outmatched in every position except Wade and Lebron in the IND MIA series why are so many experts giving Miami a bye to ECF? Not to mention IND and MIA last matchup box score

John Hollinger
  (12:14 PM)

Today's Per Diem is on Heat-Pacers and the many matchup questions involved. Suffice it to say I expect a much closer series than many of my colleagues.

Tom (MI)

First they bring back prince, now the pistons want to keep jason maxiell too. Isn't this counterproductive for rebuilding the team?

John Hollinger
  (12:15 PM)

I understood the Prince deal but don't get why they'd bring back Maxiell unless it's a value contract. This season was an obvious contract year push and he wasn't even that good. As soon as he gets paid he's gonna put the weight back on.

Tyler (Chicago)

Key injuries notwithstanding, I believe the playoffs have exposed the Bulls roster as being built for the regular season. How does this team get to the next level?

John Hollinger
  (12:17 PM)

replace "roster" with "mindset." They have to find a better balance between fighting tooth and nail for every win and having the guys peaking for the games that matter most. Otherwise they probably just need to tweak around the edges and let these guys develop as a group. I'm not sure Rip fit in all that well and they may explore different options this summer.

Dave (LA)

No matter who wins the championship this season, will these playoffs be remembered mostly for the injuries that changed the course of several teams postseasons?

John Hollinger
  (12:19 PM)

I doubt it. Five of the top six teams are basically totally healthy, unless you want to throw in Eric Maynor's knee injury in the first month of the season. The Rose injury was obviously a factor, but how many people had Chicago actually winning it all? Now if LeBron or Parker get hurt, we have a different discussion.

Ron (RI)

If Boston beats the ATL, do the Hawks try to blow up their team? Who do they keep?

John Hollinger
  (12:20 PM)

I don't understand the "blow up the Hawks" talk at all. After a year in which Horford didn't play? Really? Besides, it's nonsense ... Atlanta is keeping this group together until the team is sold, the only thing that might force their hand is if Josh agitates for a trade ahead of his opt-out year.

John (Boston)

Hi John - prior to the all star break, the prevailing thought was that Danny Ainge should blow up the Celtics and build for the future. Now, it's clear (at least to me) that they should keep Rondo and the big three and give this core another year or two to compete for a title. Do you agree? Should Ainge use hos two first round picks or use them try to trade for another piece to help in the short term? Thanks

John Hollinger
  (12:22 PM)

It's not totally clear to me, actually. At times they've looked very good. At other times they've looked very ordinary, against an opponent that nobody is comparing to the '96 Bulls. For instance, Game 3 would be really troubling for me, even though they won -- Atlanta had no bigs and still nearly beat them at home. They may make the ECF regardless, but I think that only makes the offseason decisions messier for the Celtics' front office.

Mark (Madison, WI)

What should the Pacers gameplan for the offseason be? I'm thinking figure out a way to sign Gordon away from NO then see what type of PG they could get for a Granger/Collison or George/Collison combo. Any good?

John Hollinger
  (12:23 PM)

First domino is Hibbert, not Gordon -- he's a restricted free agent, and teams may test the Pacers' willingness to spend in that market. Collison and Hill are both RFAs as well, so you can't trade them unless they agree to a sign-and-trade deal. Very interesting offseason all the way around for Indy.

Hazeltine (Vegas)

On the Amnesty Clause, can it be used in the Summer of 2013? For example, say the Hawks bring everyone back for one more run, and say it doesn't work. Then, could they use the clause on Joe Johnson? Wouldn't that be better than wasting it on Marvin Williams this summer?

John Hollinger
  (12:24 PM)

Yes and Yes. That is precisely why I don't think they'll amnesty Marvin this summer -- they need insurance against the huge liability the Johnson deal could become.

Ethan ((Providence))

Sup John, who do you actually have winning the title? Why?

John Hollinger
  (12:25 PM)

Spurs. Because they're better than everybody else.

Slim (Chicago)

Boozer for Amare...Bulls get a PF to run with Rose and NY gets someone that doesn't demand the ball as much...Which team says No?

John Hollinger
  (12:26 PM)

You mean besides Chicago? That would be an incredibly bad trade for the Bulls. I know Chicago fans are down on Boozer, but Amare declined dramatically this year and is an even worse defender than Booz.

Tony (Sitting in Class)

If the Pacers beat the Heat and the Bulls lose to Philly, Would it make the Pacers the favorite in the east?

John Hollinger
  (12:27 PM)

The winner of Indiana-Miami will be the favorite in the conference finals, yes. But I suspect a lot of people would pick Boston over Indiana, citing "experience" while really meaning "TV familiarity"

John (USA)

Bigger threat to San Antonio LAC or MEM

John Hollinger
  (12:28 PM)

Tough question. Memphis beat San Antonio last year and has shown they can defend the Spurs' stuff much better than most; but the Clippers' pick-and-roll game can give the Spurs trouble and they don't match up well against Blake.

John Hollinger
  (12:28 PM)

But ultimately I'd say Memphis. The Spurs will just shred the Clippers' defense to pieces, and it's hard for me to imagine a Popovich-VDN battle swinging in LA's favor.

Joe (NY)

You are basing picking the Spurs on them beating a horrible Utah team in the 1st round?? Whether they draw LAC or Mem in round 2 and then OKC or LAL in round 3 it is gonna be alot tougher

John Hollinger
  (12:33 PM)

I'm picking them based on their going 28-3 in their past 31 games, and winning the season series against every remaining team in the West, with at least one humiliating win against every one of them. Or how about this: They're 22-3 in their past 25 road games. Two of the losses came when they sat their starters. Nobody's beating them.

big pig (dc)

Thoughts on Kevin Seraphin? I was kinda shocked how quickly he developed.

John Hollinger
  (12:34 PM)

Me too. Take the April garbage time with a grain of salt, but I had no expectation that he'd develop a mid-range game or show such good instincts in the post. He always had the toughness and the jump hook, but he made a lot of progress in other areas. Which would make him the first player development success story in Washington since ... yeesh .... Brendan Haywood?

Dan (Philly)

Sixers Offseason Plans: Amnesty Brand's lofty $17M contract, any chance he'll resign to a veteran contract with the team sometime afterwards? Although Iguodala's contract is way too high, his defense is really an asset I don't think Sixers can afford to loose, unless they can get a consistent scorer/solid big man in return...what do you think the Sixers will look to do after this postseason has come to an end?

John Hollinger
  (12:36 PM)

Reminder: Once you amnesty a player you can't re-sign him for a full year. So scratch that option. I'm not sure Philly can get far enough under the cap, or present enough of a free agent lure, that amnestying Brand would be worth it. I do think, however, they need to consider a "sell high" strategy with Iggy.

Damon (Santa Cruz)

What moves would you like Utah to make this summer?

John Hollinger
  (12:38 PM)

I'd like them to move to an arena with better press seats. Short of that, I think they have to looking at trading Jefferson for a starting guard, especially one that can shoot. They also need to get Corbin to move away from the retro-Sloan stuff and get some corner 3s into their offense; a lot of Jerry's stuff still works but they're so philosophically wedded to it that I think it's holding them back.

Matt (Indy)

John, in your opinion, which Pacers players are the most important to keep/build around in the near future?

John Hollinger
  (12:39 PM)

Paul George, Paul George, Paul George, Paul George and Paul George. I believe he will be in the 2014 All-Star Game.

Javier (Austin)

Are the Nuggets capable of coming back and winning the series against the Lakers?

John Hollinger
  (12:40 PM)

Capable? Absolutely. Likely? No. But stranger things have happened; they match up pretty evenly with L.A. and would have the advantage if they could ever make an outside shot. Of course, the Lakers have had much the same problem. They've done a great job of running at L.A. and need to keep it up to offset the size disadvantage.

Will (Portland)

Assuming Portland will have to over pay to keep Batum. Any reason why they shouldn't?

John Hollinger
  (12:41 PM)

Not sure they'll need to. As a restricted free agent for a franchise that most assume will match, other teams will be reluctant to tie up their cash waiting for Portland's response while other players are disappearing off the market. That's the leverage restricted free agency gives, unfortunately a lot of teams still don't get this and get played by agents into giving what are basically unrestricted free-agent type deals.

Joe (NY)

Miami would have the 3 best players in a series against the Spurs. Tough to overcome that even considering Heats lack of depth

John Hollinger
  (12:43 PM)

Two best, yes. But I'd argue 3, 4 and 5 play for San Antonio, as do 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Chalmers could probably be the Spurs' 10th man if he applied himself; he's the fourth-best payer on Miami. That's why I'd take San Antonio.

Adnan (SPCR)

Is Gregg Popovich an all time great coach?

John Hollinger
  (12:43 PM)

Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Automatic Hall of Famer.

John (USA)

Can Greg Monroe be the number one guy on the Pistons if they want to be a contender?

John Hollinger
  (12:44 PM)

Offensively, yes. Defensively, no way. They need to get him some help on D with more toughness/athleticism and surround him with better shooters.

Rashid (Karachi)

perkins missing few games make the lakers favorite right?

John Hollinger
  (12:45 PM)

Some would argue it makes OKC an even heavier favorite. Thunder would be thin in the frontcourt without Perk, but they play small a lot and will do it vs. L.A. any time one of Pau or Bynum is off the floor.

Tony (L.A)

Can Kemba Walker turn into a great player if he gets off the Bobcats

John Hollinger
  (12:47 PM)

Not sure. His numbers were decent but the scouts I talked to weren't real impressed; he's a classic 2 in a 1s body so he needs to be an amazing scorer; so far he's been average. I think his long-term role is as a scoring guard off the bench.

Ty (Maryland)

What do you see the series going to if boston and miami plays in the ECF?

John Hollinger
  (12:48 PM)

A speedy ending. Boston can't score. They'll lose in 5 again.

JT (Orlando)

If you had to guess. What Jersey will Dwight Howard wear at the start of next season??

John Hollinger
  (12:49 PM)

I think he'll be a Brooklyn Net. The Magic seem ready for a top-to-bottom dismemberment and the Nets can do some things to help them rebuild quickly. That possibility becomes a lot more likely if New Jersey lands in the top three in the lottery and doesn't owe the pick to Portland.

Gregg (Guatemala)

you said that OKC might be better vs the Lakers without Perkins, how about vs the Heat, assuming both teams make the finals?

John Hollinger
  (12:51 PM)

Perk has some value against Miami, in an odd way, unless Miami goes small. If not, Perk guards Bosh and frees Ibaka to roam against Heat players he doesn't have to worry that much about guarding.

Joe (NY)

Would Denver actually be a tougher matchup for the Thunder than the Lakers?? I have been unimpressed with LA and they matchup horribly with the Thunder??

John Hollinger
  (12:53 PM)

You can make a fair argument. I know OKC rolled Denver in the playoffs last year, but the Nuggets gave them problems head to head this season; in three games, they won one convincingly, lost one at home, and won the other in overtime. (The memorable 50-40-triple double game, which I had the privilege to attend and was one of the best regular season games in memory.) Denver's pace and quirky Harrington-at-center stuff really throws OKC off for some reason.

Joe (NYC)

If Dallas completely whiffs on Deron Williams this summer, what's next? Nash-Nowitzki reunion? Overpaying for Eric Gordon, Nic Batum, and/or Roy Hibbert?

John Hollinger
  (12:54 PM)

I have to think they try to get Nash on a bargain deal and use the rest of the cap space on a mid-tier free agent, probably a big to replace Haywood since he'd have to be amnestied in that scenario.

David (Vermont)

How much has JaVale McGee added to his next contract over the past week? Maybe as much as $3M/year?

John Hollinger
  (12:56 PM)

I wouldn't go that far. NBA GMs don't only watch games involving the Lakers; they've seen the rest of his body of work. But his development in his brief time in Denver has definitely improved his value.

Joe (NYC)

I'm not really Joe but you keep answering his questions

John Hollinger
  (12:56 PM)

I don't look at names when I do this, I just look at the questions. Sometimes I end up taking a few from the same person.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

How much value would Jeff Foster have had in this Miami series? Judging from last year against Chicago, it would be good at least to have him to try and kill Lebron or Wade coming down the middle.

John Hollinger
  (12:58 PM)

Foster the Person would have helped in two ways: 1) pick and roll defense, and 2) he's not Lou Amundson. Pacers have really struggled with Amundson-Hansbrough combo; he'd make their bench unit better.

D. Brown (ATL)

What do you make of the Garnett Horford matchup?

John Hollinger
  (12:59 PM)

Best thing about it for Atlanta is that it forces Bass to guard Josh Smith. Smith can't do jack against KG on the block, but against Bass he can be effective.

Ephy (NYC)

Denver or LAL tonight?

John Hollinger
  (12:59 PM)

Denver. I had Lakers in 7 when this started and see no need to shift now.

Andrew (Santa Barbara)

Will Patty Mills be in the NBA next season? He's looked good in some games, but the opposition was basically D-league.

John Hollinger
  (1:00 PM)

Absolutely will be. In fact I believe the contract he signed has him with Spurs for 2012-13.

Luis (LA)

Hollinger, remind us which teams you picked to win the title in the past few years....? Is this the first year since 2008 you didn't pick LeBron?

John Hollinger
  (1:02 PM)

I believe you're correct on that. Had the Cavs coming out of the East for sure but I'd have to go back and see what I had for Finals.

Eric (New Haven)

Is there any reason to think that playoff experience counts (e.g., the players have been there, just on different teams) over and above the experience that a team has playing together? If not, why is D Fisher playing?

John Hollinger
  (1:03 PM)

DFisher is playing because the Thunder's other perimeter players aren't any good either. As for the experience factor -- a study at this year's Sloan conference showed the main variable was the playoff experience of the coach rather than that of the players.

Harrison (Atlanta)

ATL or BOS tonight? PP and Jsmoove will both be limping around on bum knees. KG can't roam around because ATL will actually have 5 offensive players on the court. Gotta go with ATL right?

John Hollinger
  (1:05 PM)

Atlanta's in a good position for the reasons you mention, but in almost any individual NBA playoff game between roughly evenly matched teams, the smart money is always on the home team.

Dan (Philly)

Which playoff team is in most danger of regressing and missing the postseason next year if something is not done this off-season...Dallas has got to be at the top of the list right?...

John Hollinger
  (1:06 PM)

I think it's safe to say the Mavs have a wide range of potential outcomes for next season, depending on how this summer's fishing expedition goes. Nuggets also have some work to do though.

Jack ((chi))

"Pacers have really struggled with Amundson-Hansbrough combo; he'd make their bench unit better"Given this fact, any chance that we see Fes play some minutes to guard the rim and pickup some cheap fouls?

John Hollinger
  (1:08 PM)

Not against Miami, but I could see it if they drew a team that played with more size. Unfortunately the horizon doesn't contain much of that unless we got a highly improbable Lakers-Pacers Finals.

Ant (SA)

How many more games until the Spurs current winning streak ends?

John Hollinger
  (1:09 PM)

I'll say Game 3 of the second round, en route to a five-game series win. But we'll have plenty more time to dissect those possibilities in next week's chat. That's all the time I have but thanks again for all the great questions. We'll do this at a date and time to be determined once I know where I'm going to be in round 2.