Aloha! Welcome to the chat everyone. Trade rumors really starting to heat up as we get closer to the February trade deadline. We'll tackle NBA in the first half hour and NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...
What's your take on the Dwight Howard situation? Do you think the Lakers actually trade him before the deadline?
Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne have both been accurately reporting that to date, the Lakers have rebuffed all trade inquiries for Howard. However, they may have to reconsider. Howard isn't happy. He's struggling to fit in with the rest of the team. The Lakers are standing by Mike D'Antoni. Something has to give. Atlanta and Brooklyn make the most sense for destinations. If the Lakers can get back Al Horford, Brook Lopez or even Josh Smith, they have to consider it. A Dirk for Howard trade might work as well except I keep hearing there is no way the Mavs are moving Dirk. Losing Dwight this summer is a very real possibility. If they were winning, that would be one thing. But in the death spiral the Lakers are currently in? I'm not sure I'd take the risk that he forgives and forgets over the summer.
You've mentioned the possibility of the Celtics dealing Rondo. If they went down that road, who might have the desire and pieces to be a trade partner?
It's just one option for Danny Ainge. I think their first preference is to add a big man without breaking up their veteran core of KG, Paul Pierce and Rondo. But if they can't do that, I do think the Rondo, and even Paul Pierce, trade options are on the table. Rondo's been on the block before and despite his incredible play, hasn't drawn huge interest because of his reputation of being a difficult player to coach and a tough teammate. With that said I wouldn't be shocked to see a team like the Nuggets get in the picture. Yes, they have two point guards already, but Rondo would be an upgrade on a team trying to compete right now and they have the pieces that could entice Danny Ainge to make a deal.
After the Grizzlies/Cavs trade do you still consider Memphis moving either ZBo or Rudy Gay before the deadline a possibility?
It's still a possibility, yes. But what the trade does do for Memphis is get them below the luxury tax threshold. They no longer have to trade Gay or Randolph to avoid the tax. Now the Grizzlies can hold out for either a great deal or they can stick with what they have this season and, if they don't perform well in the playoffs, they can make a deal this summer. What it bought them (at a pretty high cost I might add) is flexibility.
Will Andrea Bargnani be traded by the Raptors before the deadline. When he comes back from his injury, will it give both parties enough time to showcase his potential talents?
If there is a decent offer for Bargnani, I expect the Raptors will take it. They won't give him away, but with how well Ed Davis is playing, he's finally expendable. The issue right now is that I haven't spoken to a GM who is excited about trading anyone on their roster for Bargnani. That's a problem.
How does (potential) new ownership of the Kings affect the roster? Would they be able to make any moves before the deadline?
Yes. Until the sale of the team is approved by the NBA Board of Governors, the Maloofs are still running the show. However, it's unlikely that they would do a deal without consulting the potential buyers. Most GMs believe that the Kings' assets are essentially frozen until the deal is approved and until new ownership puts into place new management. So I'd put a big Kings deal as unlikely at this point.
Steve Nash has looked old. Is this a case of simply age or too much to do?
Possible it's age or nagging injuries. But it could also be weariness. Nash was the captain of his team for a long time. He got to do whatever he wanted out on the floor. That's not happening when Kobe Bryant is your teammate. The talent is there for the Lakers to be very good, but the chemistry is so bad, I think it's wearing on everyone. They all (including Dwight Howard) look old. It just goes to show you that basketball is still a game of chemistry.
Trade rumors have been swirling over Granger, but what about Hibbert? Might be a case of buyer's remorse, but I'd like to move his contract.
Doubt the Pacers move Hibbert. One, it's hard to find 7-foot-2 big men who can lock down the paint the way he does. He's a big reason the Pacers are the best defensive team in the league this year. Two, his contract will make him very tough to trade right now. Yes, the Pacers overpaid, but remember, they were just coming in to match an offer. If they had lost him and gotten nothing in return, they wouldn't be where they are right now in the standings. As for Granger, he's getting assurances that the team has no intention of trading him. But if the right scenario comes along that lands the Pacers a young talented power forward or point guard, I think there's a good chance he's gone by the deadline.
Is the value of cap room and a massive trade exception garnered in a S&T of Al Jefferson this summer greater than anything Utah could acquire in a Millsap/Al trade at the deadline?
Perhaps. That upside might mean that Utah refrains from making a deal in February for either Jefferson of Millsap. But the other side of the coin is that, at some point, they have to free more minutes for the development of Favors and Kanter.
Thoughts on the All-Star reserves? What would you have done differently?
Here would be my picks: East: Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, Tyson Chandler, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Paul GeorgeWest: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson, Marc Gasol, David Lee
Do you expect Kyle Anderson to go pro this year at the rate he is playing at?
Tough one. He's getting better and better and I know many scouts are very intrigued. Another year at UCLA would do him a lot of good, but if he came out right now? He'd be a first round pick.
Marcus Smart quickly moved up your draft board. What is it that makes him such a draw for NBA teams? Who would you choose as an NBA comparison?
NBA body/strength. Great size for a point guard. Very good passer. Excellent defender. Just a natural leader at his position. If he was a better shooter, he'd be a Top 5 pick. Still not convinced he won't be a Top 5 pick anyway when the dust settles on draft day. Love the Chauncey Billups comparisons.
What is Michael-Carter Williams ceiling in terms of a comparable player in the nba?
He's a very unique player. To me he's got a lot of Shaun Livingston in his game before Livingston went down with that catastrophic knee injury. I don't think he's strongly in the mix for the No. 1 pick, but if he went in the Top 5 I wouldn't be shocked. NBA teams LOVE big point guards and I think he's going to prove to be a better shooter than he's shown at Syracuse this year.
Ben McLemore seems to have the top scoring potential in this years draft class. Think he has a solid chance to be the #1 overall pick?
I do. In fact he's strongly trending in that direction. I spoke with five different GMs this week who told me they'd take him No. 1. Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Muhammad and Alex Len are all in that mix as well, but personally, McLemore has been the best college player I've watched this season. I love him. A great combination of athleticism, length, shooting ability, ball handling and defense. He has the chance to be a very special player at a position that's been very weak over the last five years.
What are your thoughts on Shabazz? What's keeping him from being a top pick? Great body, great motor, great talent, what's the problem? Had a slow start but that was more the NCAA's fault. Will be an all-star at the shallowest position in the league.
He's in the mix for the No. 1 pick so I'm not exactly sure what "problem" you are seeing. He's played much better of late. His motor, his competitiveness really shine. The biggest knock on him is that he's an undersized three.
What are the scouts saying about Kelly Olynyk?
Rapidly rising on draft boards. Making a charge for the first round right now.
With Baylor's Austin production how is his stock not rising?
He's having a very good season. NBA teams trying to figure out what he does at the NBA level given his unique skill set and frail body. He's a likely lottery pick, but I think his lack of strength (and a frame that looks like he'll struggle to add it) probably keeps him out of the Top 5.
Watched a little Georgetown recently and Otto Porter really impressed me. The guy just plays with poise. Thoughts on him?
One of my personal five favorite players in the draft. Do it all forward who plays without ego. Willing to do anything to help his team win. Has really improved his jumper. Has the potential to be a great No. 2 guy on a very good team.
You keep writing about your personal favorites. Isn't that your Big Board?
No, Big Board is a culmination of my talks with NBA scouts and GMs. I try to aggregate what they are saying. It's a reflection on their draft stock in the eyes of NBA talent evaluators. If I was giving you my personal Top 5? 1. Ben McLemore 2. Anthony Bennett 3. Marcus Smart 4. Otto Porter 5. either Shabazz Muhammad or Nerlens Noel.
Any chance that Kentucky's supposed awesome group of Freshmen stay in Lexington one more year?
Nerlens Noel has played well enough to move on. I don't think there's any way he's not a Top 5 pick. Poythress and Goodwin are struggling. Cauley-Stein is a talent, but he's even further away. If this was a strong draft (and if Kentucky didn't have a historic recruiting class coming) I think there would be a strong case for Poythress, Goodwin and Cauley-Stein to stay in school. But given the weakness of this draft, all three still have a good shot at the lottery and most players bolt if that's their draft range.
Where does Florida's Patric Young get taken? Is he a lotto pick? I love the way he plays.
Huge debates over Young. He's always been seen by scouts as a potential lottery pick, but his lack of production, especially on the offensive end, has hurt him. This year he's starting to get more love as scouts just accept him for what he is, an athletic, high motor big man who scaps away on defense. Doubt that puts him in the lottery, but he still has a shot at the first round.
Michigan fans would appreciate it if you kept Glenn Robinson III off of your draft board plz
I'm sure they would, but the secret is out on Robinson. He's a lock for the first round if he declares and has enough talent to sneak into the lottery. Hope he stays another year at Michigan to round out his game, but young players rarely do.
Does Myck have any chance of being taken? What should he do?
Such a tough call. Let's see how he plays when he returns in a few weeks. Texas is in serious danger of not being a tournament team. That may push him to come back, but after he's been treated by the NCAA, why would he?
What's your opinion on solid guards like: Ryan Boatwright, Phil Pressy, and Pierre Jackson? They all seem like they have an NBA skill. Your thoughts?????
A lot of NBA guys like Pressey. He's undersized, but such a terrific leader. Some also like Jackson. Again, he's too small, but he plays with such bravado and is such a scoring threat. He's a long shot for the first round, but I do know scouts who have him there on their big board. Boatwright isn't there yet.
Gotta run everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll do it again next week.