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June 14, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (12:02 PM)

Greetings from Oklahoma City, where we're all investing time in figuring out where the best restaurants/coffee shops/etc. are located on the premise that we'll be coming back here every June for several years. Have found two Portland-caliber coffee places, so we're getting somewhere ...

Charly (Oxford MS)

Why doesn't Bosh get in the paint and bang around more? Is he still hurt too bad to get really physical?

John Hollinger
  (12:03 PM)

Er, have you seen Bosh play before? He's a jump-shooting, face up big whose main weapon is being able to take other big men off the dribble. Also, he weighs 46 pounds. He's an incredibly effective player, but banging around isn't his shtick.

Aneesh (Indy)

If you were the Pacers, would you trade Danny Granger and reload with Paul George at SF and trade for/sign/draft a young, scoring minded SG?

John Hollinger
  (12:04 PM)

I think the Pacers will explore the studio space with Granger trades, let's put it that way. George is a more natural 3 than a 2 and I think that Granger's presence is getting in his way; on the other hand, Granger is a near-All-Star talent himself and the Pacers aren't in a bind cap-wise (at least yet), so they needn't be in any hurry.

Flip (NYC)

Is there something physically wrong with Wade or has he just been bad? What are realistic expectations for him tonight/rest of series?

John Hollinger
  (12:07 PM)

The Heat Index guys have done a great job on this -- Wade is obviously not 100% with his knee, you don't get your knee drained because everything is fine. You could tell he didn't have the juice to get by his man in Game 1, which is partly why he settled for so many Js. Heat have to hope he has more energy in Game 2.

Greg (Switzerland)

You are the Portland's GM. What is your plan for this offseason (Trade, Draft, Free Agency)?

John Hollinger
  (12:09 PM)

I don't think it's a rebuild, but I do think they'll go younger -- use the draft picks, bring in Claver and Freeland from Europe to shore up the bench and go after a young free-agent point guard. Dragic is obviously a key name, but they also could try to trade for Kyle Lowry if Houston keeps Dragic. I'd expect Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton are long gone, I think they'll keep Batum, I think they'll explore Wes Matthews' trade value but not necessarily do anything. Most interesting variable is the coach.

Joe (NY)

Why doesn't Pat Riley get blamed?

John Hollinger
  (12:11 PM)

He has been, to an extent. He's certainly taken some heat (sorry) from these quarters for his inability to surround the three stars with effective bench players. And he'll get more if they lose this series, especially if the supporting cast is outplayed.

John (Syracuse)

What're your thoughts on Dion Waiters? Had a great sophomore PER but isn't he a tweener?

John Hollinger
  (12:12 PM)

I'm concerned about his size and how that will translate defensively, yes. Offensively he's an NBA player and possibly a very good one, and he's a lotto pick on that basis alone.

Grease (New Orleans)

The consensus is that the Heat need to refrain from switching on screens. Do you agree with that? Do you sacrifice a Joel Anthony or Turiaf's lack of offensive production for paint security? Heat seem to be lacking rim protectors with Bosh and Haslem in.

John Hollinger
  (12:14 PM)

The switching wasn't helpful, but I don't think it's why they lost either. Spoelstra was totally right about this in the press conference yesterday, it wasn't schemes that lost the game. Miami just got flat beat on the dribble and in transition quite a bit in Game 1; they just have to stay in front of their man better.

Joe (FL)

Re: Portland's point guard search. Is Lillard a possibility at 6? Cheaper than Lowry or Dragic...

John Hollinger
  (12:14 PM)

A lot of Lillard talk for Portland at both 6 and 11. Personally I'm pretty lukewarm on the guy, and historically rookie point guards take a beating.

Joe (Philly)

Any chance philly tries to trade iggy to move up and get either beal or drummond?

John Hollinger
  (12:16 PM)

Iggy for a pick is extremely difficult to pull off without a large contract coming back to the Sixers, so I'd say it's highly unlikely. On the more general idea of an Iguodala trade -- they tried to last year (for Monta Ellis) and new owners shot it down (wisely I might add), and he and Collins have a pretty icy relationship, so I could definitely see that happening.

Paul (Portland, OR)

John, you say Portland's most interesting variable is the coach. Who would YOU want to see as Portland's coach?

John Hollinger
  (12:17 PM)

Stan Van Gundy, but unfortunately his irreverence will not sit well with the Vulcans. They prefer a guy who won't make waves in the Nate McMillan mold.

Karlson (Charlotte)

Hey John, which rookie are you most excited to see next season?

John Hollinger
  (12:18 PM)

Quincy Miller. Everybody is sleeping on him. No idea why his stock is dropping so much.

Jim (Fort Wayne)

I am flabbergasted that, not only are the Heat's Big 3 signed through two more years, but most of the rest of the team is, too! If the Heat fail to win now, can they ever with this squad?

John Hollinger
  (12:20 PM)

A few things to remember: 1) It's not like they went 29-53, they've won consecutive conference titles. 2) They still are allowed to make trades. 3) Miami can use its exception money to add another player or two. So no, this is not the final referendum on their championship worthiness.

Rip (Toronto)

Rumblings that the Raps want to trade their pick for a veteran 3... this seems short sighted and typical Colangelo. Agree?

John Hollinger
  (12:21 PM)

You mean like he's trying to rush the process along rather than playing it out? I'd agree with that, especially since Raps apparently are going to go hard after Nash.

Billy (SD)

I'm looking over the bench press results from the NBA Combine. I'm an un-athletic guy in my early 30's but I can bench press 185 a few times which is more than some of the guys at the combine. Should I be expecting a call on draft night?

John Hollinger
  (12:22 PM)

The thing to remember is most of these guys have extremely long arms, which means that you're lifting the bar a much longer distance. The bench press is actually a reliably negative indicator of basketball ability; I can't ever remember the combine bench-press leader ever becoming a player of any significance.

pete (west palm beach)

How is OKC as a city in general? I bet you are looking forward to coming to south florida for a week. We have much more to offer.

John Hollinger
  (12:25 PM)

People here are over-the-top friendly and crazy excited about the team, but yes, in terms of off-day entertainment it falls a wee bit short of Miami. At least we've had good weather; last spring it seemed like it was 90 and boiling every time I came through.

Andrew (Tallahassee)

Which is more likely to happen in the offseason for Miami (regardless of finals result): Steve Nash or Ray Allen to the Heat? Also, people are talking like it's a sure thing Ray Allen is gone, if not Miami, where might he like to finish his career where he can get a ring or two more?

John Hollinger
  (12:26 PM)

Nash to Miami isn't happening. Allen to Miami is more possible, but I think Allen will have better financial offers from other cities, so it's just a question of whether he's willing to take less (Miami can only offer the taxpayer MLE). Another wrinkle -- Heat may prefer to use taxpayer MLE on a big.

John Hollinger
  (12:26 PM)

Nash to Miami isn't happening. Allen to Miami is more possible, but I think Allen will have better financial offers from other cities, so it's just a question of whether he's willing to take less (Miami can only offer the taxpayer MLE). Another wrinkle -- Heat may prefer to use taxpayer MLE on a big.

John Hollinger
  (12:26 PM)

Nash to Miami isn't happening. Allen to Miami is more possible, but I think Allen will have better financial offers from other cities, so it's just a question of whether he's willing to take less (Miami can only offer the taxpayer MLE). Another wrinkle -- Heat may prefer to use taxpayer MLE on a big.

Brad (VA)

Thoughts on MKG being considered the second or third pick in the draft? He seems to be too offensively challenged to be picked that high.

John Hollinger
  (12:28 PM)

Here's the real problem: Nobody is qualified to be the No. 2 pick. When I ran my #s it's basically one overwhelming talent (Davis) and a bunch of guys who would look really good if you're picking fifth.

Dan (NYC)

Can Thabo play D on LeBron all series like he did in game 1?

John Hollinger
  (12:30 PM)

I thought Thabo was effective, especially in the second half, but the problem for Miami wasn't really on offense, and it certainly wasn't LeBron's offense. They have to get Wade and Bosh going and their defense needs to be much, much better. One thing, though -- Thabo and Fisher combined to blow up a lot of post-ups for LeBron, between Fisher bodying Chalmers and preventing an effective screen from being set, and Thabo working hard to deny James's cuts, they took away the deep catches.

@DarinForDeron (Dallas, TX)

Will Deron Williams sign with the Dallas Mavericks?

John Hollinger
  (12:31 PM)

I think there's a strong chance of this, yes. I don't think he returns to the Nets to play with Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries, let's put it that way, so if Brooklyn can't get Dwight I think he'll bolt. And if he's going to bolt, the only three realistic possibilities are Dallas, Phoenix, and a sign-trade to the Lakers for Pau. Of the three I'd put the best odds on Dallas.

Jim (Cleveland)

I am an unabashed Lebron and HEAT fan but in my heart of hearts I fail to see how they win one game in this series. The Thunder never go away and send waves of waves of guys the HEAT simply can't counter that can they? How do they win a game?

John Hollinger
  (12:33 PM)

Everybody is in a rush to declare the series over after Game 1. Every series. Every year. I wouldn't be quite so despondent. OKC had more energy in Game 1, but they also were playing at home, and it's not like they blew Miami out. This still shapes up as an extremely competitive series.

Matt (Portland)

Portland has cap space and needs a PG. Would Deron come here?

John Hollinger
  (12:33 PM)

No. Move along, nothing to see here.

John (Portland, OR)

If Deron Williams does sign with someone other than Brooklyn, the Nets will be the worst team in the league for 5-7 years, right?

John Hollinger
  (12:34 PM)

Pretty much. Have to think Wallace and Humphries would leave too, leaving the Nets with basically one halfway decent young player (Brooks), no draft pick, and Brook Lopez. Great way to kick off a new era in Brooklyn, eh?

Manny (AUS)

Kanter, Vesely, and Biyombo all struggled in there rookie seasons or couldn't get many minutes. What makes people think Jonas V will be any different?

John Hollinger
  (12:36 PM)

Jonas V had far better overseas numbers than those other three guys. He should be effective immediately, reminiscent of Andris Biedrins before Biedrins lost his will to live, but with more strength.

Jean Madera (D.R)

should Brooks sit Perkins a little bit more? he's not that good against the Heat, no low-post offensive threats.

John Hollinger
  (12:37 PM)

Brooks figured that out in the second half, when he played his best pick-and-roll defender (Collison) the final 15 minutes. I thought coming in that this was a Collison series and I expect to see a lot of him the rest of the way.

JazzMan (SLC)

Any thoughts on Kanter's future?

John Hollinger
  (12:38 PM)

I think he kept a lot hidden in his first year. He has a pick-and-pop game that he didn't get a chance to display because Utah basically just asked him to be a rebounding grunt.

Robbie (Memphis, TN)

Rudy Gay has been the subject of MANY trade rumors since losing to the Clippers. What would you do and what do you think the new owner will do?

John Hollinger
  (12:40 PM)

They have to tread carefully here, they arguably have the second-best team in the West entering next year and they don't want to screw that up. But the lure of a Gay trade is if it can help them manage their tax situation, which is about to get precarious. I think they'll be active listeners, let me put it that way, but the whole "Gay can't play with Randolph" meme people are putting out there is silliness.

Lon Babby (Phoenix)

Do you think I can/will trade some of my assets (Dudley, Morris, Frye, and #13) for a proven young vet? Perhaps Al Horford or Rudy Gay? And then go after Deron Williams?

John Hollinger
  (12:41 PM)

Your description of the Suns' "assets" amuses me. You're not getting All-Star caliber frontcourt players for that pu pu platter, sorry.

Flavio (Brazil)

Can the clippers use the amnesty clause on jordan? he looked terrible in the playoffs...

John Hollinger
  (12:44 PM)

No, because he signed after the new CBA went into effect. In fact, the only amnesty-eligible player on their whole roster is Ryan Gomes.

Joe (NY)

Ray Allen on Memphis? Does that put them on par with the Thunder?

John Hollinger
  (12:44 PM)

Very interesting, because Griz certainly need a shooter. I'm not sure if he's willing to go there, and Memphis's cap mess makes it difficult (but not impossible) to pull off ... but yes, that's an intriguing combination.

Brandon (IN)

what do you think about Jared Sullinger's horrible combine numbers? how will he translate to the NBA? and Chad Ford has Sullinger going to N.O. in the 1st round, thoughts?

John Hollinger
  (12:46 PM)

Sullinger is going to put up numbers, the question is what kind of numbers his man will put up against him. That's the real dilemma with his combine numbers -- people know what he can do in terms of scoring and rebounding, but the ability to defend his position is suspect and the combine data won't help his case.

Ryan (OKC)

What franchises are in position to and would make a good fit to offer Harden the max?

John Hollinger
  (12:47 PM)

Don't sweat it, it's not happening. OKC can sign him to an extension this summer and they'll get something done.

Justin (GA)

John, you had Spurs in 5, which I thought was plausible given their dominance. Given the way that okc won 4 straight in convincing fashion, why are you picking miami in 7? Aren't you making too much of bosh's hot shooting?

John Hollinger
  (12:49 PM)

One thing we've been guilty of in the past is overreacting to the previous series. The longer-trend data suggested Miami was a little better. It's the opposite of reacting to Bosh's hot shooting, actually -- it's maintaining a degree of skepticism that OKC could maintain the torrid play of the last four conference finals games.

Ryan (OKC)

Any thoughts on Ibaka as well? Can't OKC amnesty Perkins to alleviate luxury tax concerns?

John Hollinger
  (12:50 PM)

That is precisely the dilemma for Thunder -- whether they should pay Ibaka, amnesty Perkins, or suck it up, go deep in tax and lose a bunch of money for a couple years. If Presti can negotiate sub-max deals for those two it will help considerably.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

If the Nuggets move forward witha core of Lawson, Gallo, Faried and McGee, which it appears they intend to do, what's the ceiling for that group?...a bunch of above-average starters getting the 6 seed every year?

John Hollinger
  (12:52 PM)

that's basically the problem ... They're the deepest team right now and that will get them to the postseason every time, but they really need to do a couple 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 deals to get more star caliber talent.

Patrick (Irvine)

Is O.J. Mayo a reasonable FA target for the Clippers?

John Hollinger
  (12:52 PM)

Yes, but I'd go with a wing defender first. Courtney Lee would make a lot of sense there.

Vinnie (ATL)

Look into your crystal ball and tell me what happens to Josh Smith this year: trade, extension, or plays the season out (please no).

John Hollinger
  (12:53 PM)

I'm expecting a trade, and there are a lot of intriguing possibilities for where he might end up. But normally, deals like this don't come together until after free agency, so it could be August or September.

Eddie (Fresno)

Is there any Trade market for Tyreke Evans, or does the rest of the league know that he is a ball killing wing player who can't shoot and has the lowest basketball IQ in the league?

John Hollinger
  (12:55 PM)

There's still a market for him. He's still quite young for one thing, and some still think he can be a poor man's Wade if he gets away from that mess of an organization.

big boy (la)

Just joined chat so amybe been asked and answered, but I think Heat's only chance to win is for LaBron to shut down KD. Just play him tough like DRose LY. Thoughts?

John Hollinger
  (12:56 PM)

I think that is their best hope, yes. LeBron was effective using fronting tactics on KD in fourth quarter and we'll likely see more of that tonight. But if LeBron is to guard KD most of the game, they also need to get him more rest. He's basically spent the past 48 hours begging Spoelstra to give him a few breathers.

Javale McGee (Denver)

I resent the implication that Tyreke Evans has the lowest basketball IQ in the league.

Jorge (Toronto)

Any extension coming for Derozen? He's a good person..

John Hollinger
  (12:59 PM)

I don't think it makes sense for DeRozan right now. He could earn a lot more with a big year, and the potential is there. But if you're paying on his present value, he's just not that good yet.

Brian (Hoboken)

Iggy Trade Scenario: Iggy/Thad for Josh Smith/Marvin or Iggy/Thad for Joe Johnson. Sixers either get the big man they need or the superstar they need. Hawks mix up their dysfunctional core.

John Hollinger
  (1:00 PM)

The Smith scenarios make more sense to me if the Sixers amnesty Brand. From Atlanta's side, however, they would probably want a signed-and-traded Hawes coming back rather than Young.

Vinnie (ATL)

Did you watch the Dream Team documentary? I hold 80s NBA basketball in reverence because of the players on that Olympic Team.

John Hollinger
  (1:01 PM)

I haven't yet, but it appears they'll be showing it when I'm chilling in my hotel room in Miami on Friday night. Looking forward to it.

Shawn (Kansas City)

OKC arena, best arena/fans in the NBA?

John Hollinger
  (1:01 PM)

Not the best arena by a longshot, but the best experience because the fans are so insanely loud. I thought my ears were gonna explode at the end of Game 4 of the San Antonio series.

Logan Campbell (IN)

Also do you think that if the Miami Heat lose the series that Erik Spolestra will get fired? It's just a question.

John Hollinger
  (1:03 PM)

It's a question a LOT of us were asking each other yesterday. I still think he stays -- Riley would have to go outside the family to hire a replacement, and it would diminish him as much as it diminished Spoelstra (who by the way would land on his feet and joing SVG near the top of any coaching search).

Brandon (Fort W)

Chris Palmer spent last night blasting the Dream Team, saying they wouldn't stand a chance against the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team... do you concur?

John Hollinger
  (1:04 PM)

Under international basketball rules they'd have a hard time, because the current guys are so much experienced with that game, whereas Dream Team could just overwhelm with pure talent. But if we were playing by NBA rules, I'd take the Dream Team.

Flavio (Brazil)

Rud Gay for Iggy makes sense for me, do you agree?

John Hollinger
  (1:05 PM)

I could definitely see that happening, yes.

Steve Nash (FA)

Why no one talks about me going to Indy? Perfect match for both sides. They need playmaker badly. They can offer 8m/per for 2-3 years. They need leadership. They become instant East contenders with him. And its not like he will be afterthought ring-chaser on that particular team. So why not?

John Hollinger
  (1:07 PM)

Um, how to put this gently ... the fact he'd have to live in Indiana? Fine place and all, but not exactly a magnet city for NBA players. I think Nash's main choices will end up being Phoenix, Dallas and Toronto.

John Hollinger
  (1:08 PM)

Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for the great questions and we'll do this again next week. And here's the link for today's PER Diem on OKC's amazing turnover reduction in the playoffs: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2012/story/_/page/PERDiem-120614/nba-playoffs-oklahoma-city-thunder-protecting-rock