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January 2, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Amin Elhassan

Amin
  (3:06 PM)

Here we go folks! Thursday chat about to start now!

Deven (New York, NY)

Does anybody care about tanking anymore?

Amin
  (3:07 PM)

This issue hasn't gone away, so yes, a lot of people care about this topic

Steve (Sactown)

Is Demarcus cousins an all-star this year?

Amin
  (3:08 PM)

He is putting up All-Star numbers, but I think Sacramento's record will work against his favor.

Mamula (Everywhere)

How about this 3-way trade with LAL, CLE and GS? http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=kdjngxp CLE would need to give a 1rd pick (2015 or later) to Lakers in this deal, but it seems like everyone is getting what they need: LA - Harrison Barnes, Cle 1rd pick and salary relief, CLE - Pau Gasol, Jack's salary off the books and no long term contracts, GS - 6th man (Jack) is back, 1 useful role player (Hill), 1 good prospect (Karasev) and Speights off the books.

Amin
  (3:08 PM)

If you follow me on Twitter (@AminESPN), you'll know I don't entertain mock trade requests

Fernndo (Segura)

If Rondo is put on the trade block and comes back healthy, do you think he can help the Knicks make a turnaround and make the playoffs?

Amin
  (3:09 PM)

You are making a huge assumption: that the best offer the Celtics could solicit for Rondo would come from NY

Denzel (Gainesville, FL)

Is John Wall a top 3 point guard right now?

Amin
  (3:10 PM)

Wall has taken a big step forward this year (funny how being healthy helps!) but I'm not quite ready to call him top 3 at his position.

Marques (SF)

Hey Amin, I've followed your chats for some time and was wondering how did you get the opportunity to work for the Suns. I graduate in May and I would like to work for an NBA team.

Amin
  (3:11 PM)

I got my start with the Suns as a basketball ops intern during my 2nd year in grad school, but prior to that I interned for high school basketball tournament, interned for the Knicks in basketball ops, worked part time for the Atlanta Hawks in the marketing dept and coached youth basketball. So the moral of the story is build your basketball resume' as much as possible before expecting employment!

Ali (Toronto)

If you're Masai Ujiri, given the raptors recent win streak and great chemsitry, what do you do with this team?

Amin
  (3:13 PM)

Good question Ali. I think you have to let nature take its course. if the team keeps winning and playing the right way, building the type of chemistry and culture you want out of your organization, you can't stand in its way.

Cory (US)

Do you have any info on what Bynum did to piss off the suits?

Amin
  (3:13 PM)

I know what pretty much all of us have read in the media reports. From what I understand, not a good fit with the team or the head coach.

Michael (Sydney, Australia)

Surely the Jazz should be trading some veterans for future assets and stop trying to win games. Jefferson and Williams would be nice additions for a contender, wouldn't they? Oh, and why isn't Gobert playing more? His rebounding numbers are insane!

Amin
  (3:15 PM)

One of the hardest things to erase from a locker room is a losing culture. The Jazz have several young players who the team looks at as long term building pieces, and so you dont want them learning bad habits. If the team is winning, you have to let them learn to win and not sabotage that. As for Gobert, being able to be counted on for minutes goes beyond rebounding the ball. Knowledge of the offensive play sets and defensive schemes is imperative as well!

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What NBA Team has the Worst Record so far this Season?

Amin
  (3:15 PM)

I would direct you to this link, sir:http://espn.go.com/nba/standings

conor (Ireland)

What your'e thinking on miles plumlee , will he be a long term productive big in the league or is it just a case that he fits this suns team and may not be productive with other team e.g pacers (didnt get much of a chance there do )

Amin
  (3:16 PM)

I think Plumlee definitely has all the tools to be a productive big in this league. Give credit for him improving his game.

Johnny Utah (Santa Monica)

I don't understand how coaches don't give capable bench players no playing time, game after game . These players are professionals, if they aren't any good get rid of them. Then they complain about playing schedules, travel etc. I would rather see a no name player hustling then a spoilt brat complaining.

Amin
  (3:18 PM)

If you could give me some context for your question, I think I can answer it better. Loved you in Point Break

conor (Ireland)

what do you think of C.J. McCollum going to the d league to come back from his injury and at the same time not mess with portlands chemistry

Amin
  (3:20 PM)

Yes for 2 reasons. 1- While McCollum might be physically healthy, he still needs to build up his stamina and his timing on the court. 2- the Blazers own their affiliate, so he'd be running the same offense and defense that he'll be expected to know with Portland. This gives him game speed experience to practice these principles and not be left behind

Adam (New York)

Could you see any scenario where Andrew Bynum goes to the Heat? Or is to high a risk for too little a reward?

Amin
  (3:20 PM)

Yes, if he is waived by Jan 7th, I can see him being a minimum contract addition. But I'm not sure the basketball fit is there

Bryan (Milwaukee, WI)

What teams may be interested in acquiring Ersan Ilyasova? A lot of teams reportedly asked about him in the offseason. He's no star. But he's a solid team defensive player, good rebounder, and very good in a pick-and-pop game.

Amin
  (3:22 PM)

It's not the skill set teams are frightened by: it's the remaining 4 yrs on his contract for $32 mill (although the last year is only $400k guaranteed)

Omarvls (N.Hollywood, CA)

Amin will this be Miami's Closing Lineup against Indiana in the ECFOden/Bosh/Beasley/Wade/Lebron

Amin
  (3:23 PM)

Highly doubt either Oden or Beasley will replace playoff tested vets in the crunch time lineup. But I'm sure Miami is planning on them making contributions during the playoff run

Demarcus Cousins (Sacramento)

Am I an all star this year?

Amin
  (3:23 PM)

Sorry Boogie, I think next year is your coming out party

Jack (New Jersey)

In the 2017-2018 season when Lebron James is 33, do you believe that he will still be a top 5 player? I say that he'll win 7 MVPs by 2017-2018, but Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Russel Westbrook, and a 2014 draft prospect will all be ahead of James.

Amin
  (3:24 PM)

LeBron will still be bigger and stronger than most opponents, with great vision and passing. I think he will still be a top 5 player

Steve (Sacramento)

Who's better? Jeff Teague or Isaiah Thomas

Amin
  (3:24 PM)

TOugh question....I think it depends on what your team needs. Although both are scoring PGs, Teague much more of a passer. Then again, Thomas makes peanuts!

Omar (Evansville, Indiana)

Does Lance Stephenson sometimes having bad games a good thing? Does it help the Pacers keep the price range they want?

Amin
  (3:28 PM)

That wont affect his price range.....now if he has more bad games than good ones? That's a different story. But he's developed so much, in some sense if you're Indiana you'd rather have him play up his value for you this year

Scraider (Santa Cruz)

What do you think of Tom Haberstahs latest post about the Warriors and Portland? Who do you think is more of a contender and who would you like a in playoff series between the two teams?

Amin
  (3:30 PM)

I love Tom's work. I agree with him in that if Golden State has its Full Squad (....Full Squad....Full Squad, Jordan?, they are better equipped for contention. I think Portland is realistically a year and perhaps another piece away from title contention

Domz (PH)

Do you think Chase Budinger will have a huge impact once he comes back?

Amin
  (3:30 PM)

Depending on his health and rust, he'll have an impact. Athletic wing who can space the floor

Aaron (Seattle)

Trey Burke intrigues me. He has looked pretty darn good thus far, but does he have what it takes to be a premiere pg in this league?

Amin
  (3:31 PM)

I'm in the minority that believe that Burke will not be a premier PG in our league. But he can be a very good player

Rudy Gay (Sacramento )

Is there an actual NBA team that can make use of my unusual array of skills?

Amin
  (3:31 PM)

I think there are several, Rudy, but they are waiting for the price tag to come down first.

JR (New York)

Do you think i will ever become a reliable player and the number 2 guy on the knicks?

Amin
  (3:31 PM)

Sorry, JR, you're not 19 anymore....

David (Orlando)

Hey Amin! What becomes of j.Henson when he returns to Bucks from injury? Also you remaining season thoughts on Giannis Ante.? Thanks and happy New Year!

Amin
  (3:32 PM)

A lot of people will have their eye on Milwaukee to see what they do with their plethora of long rangy bigs. I think Sanders gets moved before Henson does, though. As for Giannis, I love his potential and have been surprised by the rapidity of his development. Look forward to watching his game grow!

Joe (Columbus)

Amin, do you see any signs that Anthony Bennett will be a solid rotation player someday? If so what do you see?

Amin
  (3:34 PM)

I've said it before, Bennett is battling multiple set backs (shoulder surgery, missing summer, sleep apnea, asthma, weight problems, poor roster fit, lack of playing time, emphasis on winning now) early in his career. I think we should table any evaluations until next season.

Regnard (Toronto)

If the Lakers go into Tank Mode, what would be Kobe's approval of that approach on a scale of 1-10?

Amin
  (3:36 PM)

Who knows? You'd think he'd understand and support that decision....but hey, you're asking the guy who said they should have amnestied him last summer and let him sit out the year.

Derrick (Garden City)

Which Chicago Bulls player is most likely to get traded: Deng or Boozer?

Amin
  (3:37 PM)

Nobody's touching Boozer's deal, but Chicago values Deng highly. I'd say Deng because there's a greater chance of getting an offer they cant refuse

Sean (UK)

What's Avery Bradley worth this summer? More/Less than Derozan?

Amin
  (3:38 PM)

Ignoring the fact they play different positions and perform different roles, I will just point to DeRozan's $38 million over 4 years as an irresponsible deal and say if Bradley makes that much, the GM that pays him better get a CAT scan

vk (md)

How many current NBA GMs do you think would, if given the choice, choose John Henson over Bradley Beal?

Amin
  (3:38 PM)

Wow....I dont know....I know I'd take Beal though

Joe (New York)

What is the latest with the TV negotiations for the NBA?

Amin
  (3:39 PM)

I'm waiting on Silver to text me back. You'll be the first to know as soon as I find out.

James (USA)

In the past 20 years, the only title winners have had top 10 players of all time (Jordan, Hakeem, Duncan, Shaq, Kobe, Lebron) and/or multiple All Stars/future HOFers. Basketball is just a sport where a single player has a proportionately huge influence on the outcome of a game. Is there anything to do to even the playing field?

Amin
  (3:40 PM)

Yes! Eliminate the maximum contract! By doing so, teams won't be able to hold onto multiple superstars, and we'll be able to spread them around, making for a league with more parity. I wrote about it a few months ago: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9640134/nba-reasons-eliminate-max-contracts

Phillipe (Bronx, NY)

As a Knicks fan hoping they turn the season around, can we make a case for Tim Hardaway, Jr. taking some of Iman Shumpert's minutes?

Amin
  (3:41 PM)

I'd argue you should find a way to play them both at the same time....If the Knicks want to turn their season around, they need to abandon traditional "two big" lineups and go small.

BSB (Philly)

With J Lamb and S. Adams playing so well for the Thunder, is it OK to say out loud that they didn't get hosed in the Harden trade?

Amin
  (3:42 PM)

Absolutely. The very first piece I ever wrote was how OKC didn't get hosed; they actually got a very good haul. But in order to understand that, you have to accept the fact that Harden was not going to stick around (wanted to be a marquee guy on his own team). Here's that piece by the way: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8567505/nba-analyzing-oklahoma-city-thunder-haul-james-harden-trade

Tony (San Francisco)

A lot has been made about the SportVu data (looking at you Zach Lowe) -- what's it's impact been so far? Positive or negative?

Amin
  (3:45 PM)

More information should always be looked at as a positive: it's how you use said info that determines whether or not you are successful. I think we are a few years away from being able to make concrete conclusions from the SportVu data, and even then the best answers will be with those who can write programs to interpret the raw data (in other words, the stuff we all see on NBA.com is not nearly as helpful)

Yunior Delgado (Miami)

What's wrong with the New York teams? I mean I thought they got better but they look bad out there.. Their teams aren't bad on paper so what's going on?

Amin
  (3:46 PM)

For New York, they changed what made them successful last year (and losing Chandler didnt help). For Brooklyn, injuries have held them back, and they have to live with Kidd learning on the job.

Ned (NY)

How could the Knicks rebuild? Trade for Bynum or just wait til 2015 and tear it all down?

Amin
  (3:47 PM)

Wait till 2015. Thats not by choice by the way, because there's not a Bynum deal that would interest Cleveland

MIKE (CALIFORNIA)

when its all being done, who do you think will rank higher? LeBron or kobe. let assume LeBron winning 2 more max and kobe 0.

Amin
  (3:48 PM)

I think LeBron will be looked at as a transcendent talent, one of a kind. But both are all-time greats

Jerry (SF)

Who retires first, Nash or Garnett?

Amin
  (3:48 PM)

Can I say neither?

J (Sacramento)

If Rudy Gay decides to stay in Sacramento, what other changes need to be made in order for the Kings to take the next step into the post season?

Amin
  (3:49 PM)

They need players with defense on their mind first and foremost. They need players with passing on their mind first and foremost. They need catch and shoot threats from beyond the arc. Other than that, they're ready!

Eric (Michigan)

What do you see as the major keys to Toronto's impressive turnaround?

Amin
  (3:50 PM)

Chemistry and more efficient use of possessions. Better defensive chemistry and rotations as well. Basically, I'm subtweeting Rudy Gay's absence!

Joe (Charlotte, NC)

What do you see the ceiling being this season for the Suns?

Amin
  (3:50 PM)

Playoffs!

Jim (Cleveland)

Am I missing something with the Paul George adulation? The guy shoots a ton of 3's at a decent percentage is a pretty good defender and does everything reasonably well. Does that equal an MVP?

Amin
  (3:51 PM)

He is probably the best wing defender in the league, and pretty skilled in pick and rolls for a guy his size, which makes him a tough matchup. I think there is a part of the love that stems from his hot shooting start (since which his shooting has come down) and of course Indiana's great start. FOr better or worse, ppl usually attribute team success solely to theplay of their best player and for the Pacers, that's George

Mike (Utah)

A few days ago on twitter you were talking about Raul Neto. Can you expand on that? How good could he be? Comparison? Thanks

Amin
  (3:53 PM)

Neto is a pass-first, "pure" PG; the type of player who enjoys making the pass. When I praise Neto (both recently and months ago), it's in the context of Utah's existing talent, and their need for someone who can make others better, and that's what Neto does. I guess Rubio would be a lazy comparison

Dave (Novato)

Hi Amin, could the Bulls land Bynum for Deng or Boozer?

Amin
  (3:54 PM)

Deng -- yes. Boozer -- no.

Andy (NYC)

If the Knicks decide Melo is leaving, what kind of return could they get for him at the trade deadline? Or would they be better off doing a sign and trade this summer?

Amin
  (3:55 PM)

I dont think anyone would be willing to deal for Melo at the deadline without sending a ton of dead weight in return (probably not what the Knicks would want). Similarly, any sign and trade deal NY would do in the summer would have to bring back assets that dont ruin their 2015 cap space

EJ (Charlotte)

Any word on extent of injury to N.Vucevic?

Amin
  (3:56 PM)

Follow one of our great reporters like Marc Stein, Chris Broussard or Brian Windhorst for breaking news of that nature

John (Philly)

Who is going to be the three seed in the Eastern Conference?

Amin
  (3:57 PM)

Up until Horford's injury, I would have said Atlanta....now it's a free for all. If Chicago can right its ship maybe them....or maybe the Wizards can finally put it all together. Whoever it is, they'll be the worst 3 seed in modern history

matt (michigan)

Why is the eastern conference so much worse this year compared to the west?

Amin
  (3:59 PM)

I think we started the year with four teams (ORL, TOR, PHI, BOS) legitimately having no plans to compete. Then injuries decimated Chicago & Brooklyn, NY had its own injury bug (and lineup issues), DET and CLE both underachieved tremendously, and god knows what Milwaukee thought they were doing. So, some bad luck, and some mismanagement

Eric (Chicago)

Amin, what's up? What do you think the Bulls should do with the rest of their season? Try or trade away valuable pieces and "tank"?

Amin
  (4:00 PM)

I dont think they need to trade anything away if tanking is their strategy. Sitting guys out to rehab injuries should do the trick

You Suck (LA)

I come to these chats because I like to hear an experts opinion of various trades or different things happening in basketball. I hate that you pull this "I dont entertain fake trades" bull. You spend more time telling people that you dont entertain them than you would in actually answering them with an insightful answer. You're a terrible basketball analyst.

Amin
  (4:01 PM)

What can I say? This is the show. You are free to log off and log back on for someone else who is willing to entertain your fantasies.

Jim (Toronto)

Following up on Ali's question - this Raptors season is a great example of why the draft lottery is so frustrating: I want to cheer for this team, since trading Rudy they are fun and competitive, but the best long term play might be a franchise player in the draft. I'd like to cheer for my team without hesitation! In this light, what do you think of the "draft wheel" proposal as outlined by Zach Lowe?

Amin
  (4:04 PM)

I like the thought process that led to the wheel ("there is a tanking problem and we need to fix it") way more than the actual wheel idea itself. I like the intellectual challenge presented by uncertainty ("where will we pick 4 years from now"), and the wheel sort of eliminates a lot of that

Joe (Charlotte, NC)

Do you foresee the Bobcats maintaining their semi-level of early seasons success? Should Charlotte be preparing for a possible playoff push or will teams like NY and Brooklyn eventually move them back?

Amin
  (4:05 PM)

As long as they remain bought in defensively, then yes they'll make the playoffs. I think time is running out for the KNicks and Nets

tim (Montana)

Have you read Kirk Goldsberry's "game score" piece, in which he tries to get around some of the problems with fg% by looing at how many more points a player scores than an average player would on the same shots? If so, what do you think of it as a tool for assessing offensive effectiveness?

Amin
  (4:05 PM)

Haven't seen it, will check it out

Thomas (Germany)

Andre Drummond has been frequently compared to Shaq.Do you think it is a good comparison? Is it possible/likely he will be as dominant as him or ist this just a case where people woh should know better have kind of forgotten how good Shaq was?

Amin
  (4:06 PM)

Comparing someone to Shaq is like comparing them to Russell, Jordan, Bird, Magic, etc...shouldn't happen. Shaq was a once in a lifetime talent, and it's not fair to put that sort of unfair expectation on Drummond, who can become a fine player in his own right.

Ciscoskid (Folsom, CA)

Do you see any regression to the mean regarding the Portland Trailblazers? I know they have been extremely healthy and they are the best scoring team but their defense is not reflective on their record. I would also think their ability to keep winning close games will even out as well. Thoughts?

Amin
  (4:07 PM)

Yes!

Joe (Charlotte, NC)

Is there any chance Dragic or Bledsoe get selected to a reserve spot in the All Star Game this year?

Amin
  (4:08 PM)

Doubtful. West is stacked with guards, although the Westbrook injury does open the door.

Paul (Orlando)

Harrison Barnes ceiling = Paul George

Amin
  (4:09 PM)

No. Doesn't have the fluid ballhandling to get to spots like George, not on the same level defensively.

jeff (new orleans)

are one and doners hurting the nba?

Amin
  (4:09 PM)

No

Ben (Chicago)

What did you think of Bynum's effectiveness this year with the Cavs? His per minute stats look solid, if not close to what they were two years ago, but media reports and some advanced stats are not as positive. What parts of his game were close to being all the way back, and which not? Haven't been willing to subject myself to watching Cleveland much this year.

Amin
  (4:10 PM)

Wrote about that this week: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10214954/logical-destinations-andrew-bynum-nba

Robert (Orlando)

Should the Nets go ahead and let Jason Kidd go? It won't benefit them this season, but at least they could start making strides for next season. They should back a truck full of money to George Karl's house.

Amin
  (4:10 PM)

From what I hear, they are vested in Kidd's potential as a coach. I think he'll last another year at least

CricketSnark (New York)

How much stock do you put in the in-game scouting PDX has been doing this season as a reason for their success?

Amin
  (4:11 PM)

Every team does what Portland does (ipads on the bench is what im assuming you're referring to). Portland's success comes from having healthy talent and a bench

sean (philly)

After seeing danny granger play a few games its obvious he can still be effective. Do you think the pacers will try to utilize him more entering 2014 and down the stretch? Or would it be better to just trade while his stocks on the rise?

Amin
  (4:12 PM)

If you're Indiana, and you have a legitimate chance to win a title this year, you hold onto Granger as another offensive threat for a team that's not exactly a juggernaut on the offensive end

Larry (Fullerton)

I have to say that basketball advanced metric stat geeks like you are way more annoying than the baseball guys. In baseball, some of that stuff makes sense and can predict the outcomes of games or seasons. In basketball, it doesn't matter how efficient your team is....if you don't have a bonafide superstar, you aren't going to win. The stats don't mean a thing.

Amin
  (4:17 PM)

Uh....thanks for sharing?

Cao Nguyen (OKC)

Why don't you exist solely to comment on and validate my one-sided trade fantasies? Awfully selfish of you, Amin.

Amin
  (4:18 PM)

I'm a terrible human being, especially how I keep them captive so they cant, you know, do anything else other than sit here and listen to me answer real questions! A monster I tell ya!

Amin
  (4:18 PM)

OK gonna wrap this up..

Aaron (Seattle)

Which GMs rank at the top of your list?

Amin
  (4:18 PM)

In no order: Pat Riley, RC Buford, Sam Presti, Mitch Kupchak, Danny Ainge

Greg (Canada)

If Amare was still with the Suns training staff he'd probably be averaging 30 MPG, 20 PPG, and 10 RPG a game right?

Amin
  (4:19 PM)

No. That's why we didn't offer him a fully guaranteed deal in 2010. We knew this was coming down the pike

Dave (Alaska)

What are the common characteristics of the best NBA owners?

Amin
  (4:19 PM)

Have money. Spend money. Don't get too hands-on

Joe (Davis)

How do you think the GM position has evolved over time?

Amin
  (4:20 PM)

Need to be able multi-task and wear many different hats: talent evaluator, financial planner, armchair psychologist, PR rep!

Blake (Illinois)

Amin: The only person who doesn't think one and dones hurts the NBA. Please explain how it doesn't?

Amin
  (4:22 PM)

Im far from the only one. And what hurts the NBA is guys who are taught the wrong way, which happens A LOT in college.

Elliott (San Francisco)

Does GSW need another big to contend (say perhaps Bynum)? I don't think Bogut can play more minutes in the playoffs. Or will Festus coming back be enough?

Amin
  (4:22 PM)

Yes. His name is Festus

Ryan (Charlottesville)

Does Harden's poor defense fit into Houston's dream of a championship? How likely is it that he is traded?

Amin
  (4:23 PM)

His defense is a concern, but you gotta find a way to surround him with enough defensive help that it doesnt matter.

Amin
  (4:23 PM)

And last but not least....for the non-readers among you

ludo (savannah)

seriously, Riley before Buford? short term success and money vs long term and consistent success?Miami went through some tough times under riley's direction

Amin
  (4:24 PM)

You musta missed the first three words of my answer: "IN NO ORDER" #ReadingIsFundamental

Amin
  (4:24 PM)

That's my time folks! Stop by next week for thrilling answers to great questions!