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02-27-2006, 07:22 AM
Looking ahead to what's next in the NBA

By Chad Ford
ESPN Insider

We expected an unprecedented flurry of player movement at the trade deadline Thursday and were left instead with Steve Francis, Earl Watson and the splinter patrol changing places.

What did (and maybe more importantly, what didn't) go down in the past few weeks will have ramifications not only on the playoff race but also on what could be an equally snoozy offseason.

With a fairly weak draft (at least in terms of star power) and an even weaker free-agent crop (you know you're in trouble when Al Harrington and Vladimir Radmanovic are considered among the prizes), the good are likely to stay good, and the bad

That's what makes it all the more surprising that many of the NBA's worst teams weren't active at the deadline. They may come to regret it later.

Now that the trade deadline hangover has subsided, Insider breaks down what it all means and how it should affect a number of teams' plans for this summer.

Rob Babcock
Ron Turrene/Getty Images
Rob Babcock already took the fall in Toronto. Who's the next GM to get the axe?


Before we get into exactly what teams are planning to do this summer, it's probably appropriate to start at the top, where a number of changes in the front office and coaching staff could go down when the season is over.

Two high-profile GMs look like they're poised to move this summer, if not earlier.

Suns GM Bryan Colangelo has already had serious negotiations with the Raptors about their head position. The Raptors are going all out for Colangelo, offering him a deal that is reportedly worth three times what he makes in Phoenix.

That makes sense for the Raptors. They have no organizational credibility. As much as they need talent, they have to change their culture at the top first. Wayne Embry's done a nice job restoring order in Toronto, but he's in it for the short term. It's time to let a heavy hitter like Colangelo take them the rest of the way.

The Suns won't stop him if he wants to go. While Suns owner Robert Sarver is trying to work an extension for Colangelo, it's been rumored for more than a year that he'd really like Steve Kerr to take the reins in Phoenix. Kerr is ideally suited for the job, has a close relationship with Sarver and would make an ideal replacement for Colangelo.

Nuggets president Kiki Vandeweghe's contract is up in Denver. Owner Stan Kroenke refused to give Vandeweghe an extension or pay raise last summer, meaning he's as good as gone.

The Blazers will probably make a big run at him, and don't count out the Lakers -- Vandeweghe has a great relationship with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant.

Don't expect the Nuggets job to open up this summer, however. The word on the street is that director of player personnel Mark Warkentien -- a close associate with George Karl and Kroenke's main confidant, Bret Bearup -- will take over and do the bidding of Karl and company.

Timberwolves VP Kevin McHale could be out of a job if the Wolves continue to falter. Then again, we've been saying that for years. McHale's inability to get a better trade done before the deadline (the acquisition of Ricky Davis, Marcus Banks and Mark Blount has yet to pay dividends) and Kevin Garnett's growing surliness could do in McHale.

Everyone in the league wonders how Hawks GM Billy Knight still has a job. His missteps in Atlanta have been legendary. This year has been especially tough.

First he passed on Chris Paul in the draft. Marvin Williams will be great someday, but he'll never be a point guard or a center, the two things the Hawks still desperately need.

Then, he overpaid Joe Johnson. Johnson has played great, but when you consider what Knight gave up -- the contract, the draft picks and Boris Diaw -- to bring Johnson to Atlanta, it was too much.

Knight's failure to move Harrington before the deadline is his latest stumble. The Hawks will have to either overpay to keep Harrington this summer or watch him walk away for nothing. Neither is appealing if you are a Hawks fan. If Knight selects another small forward in this year's draft, his fate is sealed right? Maybe. Remember, the remaining owners of the Hawks went to court to back this guy. Firing him a year later may be a little more than their egos can handle.

Two spots everyone thought would open up, with the Magic and Hornets, probably won't now. Both Otis Smith of Orlando and Jeff Bowers of New Orleans/Oklahoma City have done great jobs this season managing the payrolls and team assets. Suddenly, two of the NBA laughingstocks look like they are heading in the right direction.

Of course, there's still one NBA team that seems to dig a deeper and deeper hole every year. Knicks fans are so worked up about Isiah Thomas that they're now sending e-mails pleading with David Stern to invoke the Ted Stepien rule on the Knicks.

Remember, Stepien was such a terrible owner (he traded away just about every asset the team had, especially draft picks) that the league stepped in and offered the Cavs some compensatory draft picks to keep them alive.

That's not happening this time, Knicks fans.

But if Isiah's latest gamble on Francis blows up in his face the way everything else he's touched has, how can owner James Dolan stick with him? There are too many talented young executives in the league right now to let Isiah keep playing demolition derby with one of the league's most elite franchises. Possible new GMs?

Put Indiana Pacers VP David Morway at the top of the list this year. He almost got the job in Cleveland last summer before Larry Brown entered the picture. Nurtured at Donnie "The Don" Walsh's side the past six years, he's got a lot going for him: youth, a great leadership style, cap knowledge and a keen eye for talent.

"He has the background; he's paid the dues," Walsh told Insider last year just before the Cavs interviewed for their head job. "I think he's ready. When you're talking about a GM, you're talking about an executive. The job is more multidimensional than just scouting. That person has to know the finances, the cap, has to have experience assembling a team, has to know how to lead. It isn't just, can that guy play basketball? I think David fits the bill."

As for coaches in jeopardy, there will be plenty:

Rick Adelman's contract with the Kings is up this summer.

Doc Rivers has never seemed like a great fit in Boston, though Danny Ainge has been pretty loyal to him.

Mike Woodson's position in Atlanta has been tenuous all year.

There's been talk that Bernie Bickerstaff may step down as coach this summer to focus on his front office duties with Charlotte.

The Warriors' Mike Montgomery could be in deep water if Golden State's playoff drought continues.

If Brian Hill doesn't get with the rebuilding program in Orlando soon, he could be looking for work.

The Sonics might want to replace Bob Hill, depending on what he does the last third of the season.

And it's tough to see what Sam Mitchell is bringing to the table in Toronto. If a new GM takes over there, Mitchell could be kicked to the curb.

Who's out there to replace them?

Jim O'Brien has had the whole season off to recharge.

Many GMs are very high on Grizzlies assistant Eric Musselman. He's been the only guy in the last decade to give the Warriors a fighting chance to make the playoffs and he did it with less talent than they have right now.

And don't be surprised if Stan Van Gundy gets some love somewhere. His version of the Heat was arguably better than the one that Pat Riley produced.


A number of teams have two first-round picks this summer.

The Bulls have the best two (their own and the Knicks').

Other teams with multiple first-round picks: The Blazers (their own and the Pistons'), the Knicks (the Nuggets' and the Spurs'), the Hornets (their own and the Bucks'), the Nets (their own and the Clippers') and the Suns (their own and possibly the Lakers').

It looks as though five teams -- the Bobcats, Bulls (via the Knicks), Hawks, Blazers, and Magic -- will battle it out for the best chance at the top pick in the draft. This year's draft lacks star power at the top. Texas' LaMarcus Aldridge, UConn's Rudy Gay and Gonzaga's Adam Morrison are the only three prospects that scouts agree are indisputably worthy of a top-five pick in the draft.

So who's No. 1? It really may depend on the team. The early indications I've received are that the Bulls and Hawks would lean toward Aldridge based on need. The Blazers and Magic are high on Morrison. The Bobcats, I'm told, like Gay.

With high school players now banned from the draft and a thin crop of international players (only Andrea Bargnani, Tiago Splitter and Rudy Fernandez are considered locks for the first round), college players will be in the spotlight this year.

The good news for NBA teams drafting later in the first round is that while there isn't much star power at the top, scouts feel the draft has excellent depth.

"This is going to be one of those drafts where the difference between the eighth player in the draft and 31st player in the draft isn't going to be very wide at all," one veteran NBA scout told Insider. "There will be some dramatic mistakes at the top and some great steals at the bottom."

The most interesting subplot of the draft may center on Duke's J.J. Redick.

Typically, undersized shooting guards without great athleticism don't find homes in the first round. But Redick may be different. He's been so outstanding this season that scouts are now beginning to waffle just a bit on their low projections of Redick.

While most GMs and scouts Insider has spoken with have him in the mid teens or early 20s on their draft boards, one NBA GM told me he thought Redick would be a top-10 pick, maybe even a top-5 pick, on draft night. The thinking goes that teams need what Redick delivers -- great shooting, toughness and a winning attitude. Whether he has the physical tools to become a star in the NBA may not be as important in this case.


Who will be the players in free agency?

Assuming there's a $51 million cap (it came in at $49.5 million last season but league sources are expecting a slight uptick), the Bobcats, who will have the most salary cap room in the league, will have roughly $21 million to spend (assuming they don't pick up player options, and counting draft and minimum player cap holds).

The Hawks and Raptors will have roughly $15 million in cap room. The Bulls and Hornets will have about $13 million. The Clippers will be approximately $9 million under and the Jazz will be almost $7 million under the cap.

What does this mean? Not as much as it first appears given this year's free-agent class, because the free-agent market is pretty thin this summer.

This is why it was so surprising that many teams (especially the Bulls) valued cap space this summer over making a trade before the deadline that made them better now. Sure, teams can always use free agents to broker sign-and-trades and use cap space to facilitate cap room deals but that doesn't happen very often.

Ben Wallace is the elite free agent on the market, but just about everyone believes he'll re-sign in Detroit at around $10 million per year for four or five years.

The way Peja Stojakovic is playing lately, he could garner major interest. The Bulls might make a run. They're the one team that's appeared to be really enamored with him. The Pacers are saying all the right things about keeping him, but it may cost them more than they're willing to spend.

Other hot names among the top unrestricted free agents include Harrington (who couldn't have picked a better year to put up career numbers and hit the free-agent market), Jason Terry, Radmanovic and Joel Przybilla. That's about it for unrestricted free agents expected to command more than the midlevel exception.

A handful of restricted free agents, including Nene (if his knee heals properly) and Drew Gooden, may also command offer sheets for more than the midlevel if they can convince interested teams that the home team won't match. A few other restricted free agents, including Chris Wilcox, Trevor Ariza and Melvin Ely, may also garner interest.

Looking for some midlevel free-agent bargains? Here's where the pickings look much stronger.

Here's an early list of who might sign with your team, even if it's over the cap: Banks, Nazr Mohammed, Speedy Claxton, Sam Cassell, Mike James, Keith Van Horn, Tim Thomas, Matt Harpring, Tony Battie, Reggie Evans, Bobby Jackson, Bonzi Wells, Fred Jones, Jiri Welsch, John Salmons, Jarron Collins and Michael Olowokandi.

Of course, the free-agent market isn't the only way to add players to your team. You can bet that many of the prominent names you heard before the trade deadline will be mentioned again once the summer comes around.

If Minnesota can't get its act together, do the Wolves finally get serious about trading Garnett?

Ainge continues to insist that he has no intention of trading Paul Pierce. But if the right opportunity comes up this summer, will the Celtics pull the trigger?

Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Kenyon Martin, Lamar Odom, Zach Randolph, Jamaal Magloire and Carlos Boozer are expected to be the other hot names once the season ends.

And, of course, the Knicks will be in the mix, trying to deal their new expiring contracts (Jalen Rose and Maurice Taylor) and possibly trying to thin out their loaded backcourt of Francis, Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson and Nate Robinson.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.


Slovenia not afraid of the U.S.

posted: Sunday, February 26, 2006
Chris Sheridan

Memo to Jerry Colangelo: Slovenia is not afraid of you.

That's the word from Bostjan Nachbar, who wasn't exactly shaking in his boots -- it was more like shrugging in his sneakers -- as he discussed Slovenia's chances against the United States in this summer's World Championship.

"One thing that we can't forget is that they've been beat before -- a lot of times," Nachbar told me Sunday as he prepared to play his first game for his newest team, the New Jersey Nets. "Obviously they're going to try to assemble a much stronger team this year, but there are ways that you can beat them, and we have the whole summer to prepare for that."

Colangelo is about to become a big face in the news again as he announces the 25 players who will make up the U.S. national team roster. Kobe Bryant, Gilbert Arenas, Chris Bosh, Shawn Marion and Bruce Bowen are among those on board, with Shaquille O'Neal sitting on an open invitation to join the team if he likes. He has until mid-July, when the Americans will descend upon Las Vegas for the start of training camp.

In an apparent concession to critics, including this one, who castigated him for failing to heed one of the lessons learned in Indianapolis in 2002 and Athens in 2004 -- that the U.S. team needs more practice, not less -- Colangelo has moved up the start date of camp to just a couple weeks after the end of the NBA draft. It's a start, but many of the world's top teams will be hard at work long before that preparing for a tournament that is viewed by the rest of the world as much more prestigious than the Olympics.

Slovenia, a small Balkan nation of 1.9 million, is an up-and-comer on the international basketball scene, having qualified for the Worlds for the first time after finishing sixth in the European Championship last summer in Belgrade, winning its preliminary-round group before losing to Germany in the quarterfinals.

Nackbar is one of five Slovenians currently playing in the NBA, along with Primoz Brezec of Charlotte, Rasho Nesterovic and Benu Udrih of San Antonio and Sasha Vujacic of the Lakers. Two other Slovenians, Uros Slokar (Toronto) and Erazem Lorbek (Indiana) were chosen in the second round of last year's draft, and the team captain, Marko Milic, was once a teammate of Steve Nash's in Phoenix -- and he once won a dunk contest by leaping over a sports car that was wheeled onto the court.

"I watched them last year in the European Championship, and they're a pretty good team. They're a young team, and that's what separated them from everybody else, a more up-tempo team. They can finish second," said Peja Stojakovic, who plans to sit out this summer rather than play for his home country of Serbia-Montenegro, the defending champion.

The Serbians won't have to worry about the Americans until the later rounds, but Slovenia has been drawn into the group with the U.S. team, along with China (which will have Yao Ming), Italy (which won silver in Athens and trounced the U.S. in a tune-up game), Puerto Rico (which trounced the U.S. in Athens) and Senegal. Four teams will advance from that group, and only Senegal can be counted on to falter. The other five teams are experienced, worldly and better than most people in the States believe.

And they certainly are not scared. Take it from Nachbar, whose 59 NBA teammates have included some of the scariest hoopsters to have played in this country -- Charles Oakley, Dikembe Mutombo, Chris Andersen, Steve Francis, Eddie Griffin, Clarence Weatherspoon and Adrian Griffin to name just a few.

"We're a young team, but our senior team has been playing together since we were 16 or 17 years old. We took over the men's team from the generation before us, and Peja is right -- we do play hard. We have a lot of talent, guys in the NBA, guys in the strongest European league," Nachbar said. "It's going to be a big thing for us."

Chat with Chris Sheridan

Welcome to The Show! On Friday, ESPN.com's NBA reporter Chris Sheridan will log on to chat with you about all the action on the hardcourt ... and all the news and notes off of it. Chris came to ESPN from the Associated Press where he spent the last 10 years as the lead NBA writer.

Sheridan's chat tips off at noon ET on Friday so send in your questions now and join him right here for the answers.

Sheridan archives: Columns | Chats

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Greetings from New York, where tonight's Knicks-Nets game is expected to stay competitive for at least one quarter as Stevie Franchise makes his debut as the next Earl Monroe. Trade deadline day wasn't all that exciting, which means it'll be a busy summer _ especially if Kevin Garnett asks to be traded. If I were a betting man, I'd wager a dollar or two that he'll be wearing a different uniform by the start of next season. As for the immediate future, there are at least three teams waiting for Tim Thomas to get a buyout from the Bulls. There are a few other free agents out there who have been sitting idle, including Wesley Person and Latrell Sprewell, and a couple other players (Tony Delk, Jim Jackson) who could get buyouts and be on the market by March 1. Lots of questions in the queue already, so let's get started.

Ron (Lakeland): Why Darko isn't playing yet? Garrity, Kasum, and Battie are no Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, and Antonio McDyess.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: It could just be a matter of getting Darko acclimated to the plays, etc., or it could be a sign that the front office and the coaching staff are not exactly on the same page in Orlando. There are a lot of changes going on with that franchise right now, including ownership being transferred to Rich DeVos' children, so the Magic are obviously are team in a full state of flux. Darko might just be caught in the middle of it at this point, but you'll see him playing more as the season winds down.

Steve (Toronto): Your thoughts on Bryan Colangelo's seemingly impending move to Toronto?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Looks like it might be a messy breakup in Phoenix, while stories already floating around that Sarver threw Colangelo out of his office when the topic was first broached. There have been signs that David Stern and Russ Granik helped facillitate this move, so I'd expect it to happen. Bryan will be an outstanding addition for the Raptors, just the type of executive they need this summer when they'll be players on the free agent market and in trades.

Bobby (Pittsburgh): What does Penny Hardaway's future look like beyond this season? Will he find a spot on someone's bench or will he be forced to retire?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: The Magic waived him this morning. Penny has arthritic knees, and he hasn't always been the most popular guy in the locker room in a lot of places where he's played, so my guess is we've seen the last of him.

Matt - Denver: Thoughts on Denver's moves yesterday? Their outside shooting is going to be scary.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I thought they did quite well in getting Patterson and Evans. That's a lot of lumber when all they dealt away was a backup point guard and two guys off the end of the bench, so I commend Kiki for holding out until the end when he got the best deal he could.

Darius (Oakland): Chris, I just read Ford's article that the Lakers' 1st round pick this year may go to Phoenix. Can you explain this please?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: The Lakers sent that pick to the Celtics in the Payton-Mihm trade, the Celtics sent it to the Hawks in the Antoine Walker-Gary Payton trade, and the Hawks sent it to the Suns in the Joe Johnson trade.

Selom(Xenia, OH): Hate to dwell on the Knicks(I'm lying), but all this talk about a package for Garnett seems alil premature dont you think? I still dont see who the T'wolves would take besides... who?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I don't think the Knicks have the goods, either, although an offer of Francis and Frye is better than anything they could have offered a few days ago. If Garnett goes on the market, I still think the Nets and Bulls have the best chance of getting him. Assuming the trade would get done in mid-July, New Jersey would have to part with Richard Jefferson, Nenad Krstic and whoever they took with their two No. 1 picks, while Chicago would have to surrender whoever they took with the Knicks' pick, plus Gordon and Hinrich, and probably another player. A dozen other teams would get in on the bidding, too.

Richie in the Bronx: Can you give info on trades that were discussed, but didn't happen?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: San Antonio was talking to New Orleans about a Brent Barry-JR Smith trade, but it fell apart right around 3 p.m. just as the Spurs were getting ready to leave Brent behind as they flew to Memphis. Smith and Byron Scott have not been on speaking terms for weeks, and I wouldn't expect him to see anything more than a couple garbage time minutes over the rest of the season.

Jon (NYC): Chris, loyal Nets fan here. Am I crazy for preferring to include Carter in a package for KG rather than Jefferson?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: You're not crazy at all, but Jefferson is a bigger long-term asset than Carter is, which is why the Wolves would prefer him over Carter. Jefferson is a base-year compensation player this season, but that designation comes off July 1, which makes it much easier to trade him.

Alex (Alberta Canada): Just wondering what you think we'll see from Flip Murray in Cleveland. Will we see the Flip that averaged 20 ppg in the beginning of the season a year ago or will we see the Flip that hardly does anything?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: That's up to Flip. The Cavs have been frustrated by what little production they've gotten from everyone in their backcourt, though Sasha Pavlovic is slowly winning people over. Flip will get a chance, and if he plays well he'll cut into Eric Snow's and Damon Jones' minutes.

Mike (Atlanta): Are the Hawks really gonna try to re-sign Harrington? Or do they think they can get more in a sign-and-trade after the season?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Billy Knight and Al Harrington's agent had a long talk over All-Star Weekend to try to sort things out, and neither side has made up its mind yet as to how things should shake out this summer. The idea of remaining with the Hawks seems more appealing now to Harrington, but if there's a team out there willing to pay him a lot more than the Hawks are, a sign-and-trade will probably be worked out.

Widmer (Portland, OR): Ruben Patterson finally got his wish and is out of Portland (woo hoo!), what does he bring to the Nuggs that they didn't have before the deal?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: He's a player that George Karl likes, and he'll bring an intensity and a defensive presence that the Nuggets were sorely lacking. You'll appreciate him in the playoffs (assuming the Nuggs make it) when George sics him on the opposing team's best scorer.

Kyle (Paw Paw): With no moves to bring in help for Kobe Bryant, what do you see the Lakers doing to bring in a legitiment No. 2 to Kobe, or is Lamar Odom the answer?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Not sure if they'll make a move for Sprewell. They still have a little less than half of their mid-level exception available, so they could offer him a small chunk of change more than a couple of the other contenders. But that would only be a short-term move. For the long term, the Lakers have to decide if they want to be a free agent player in 2008 (their current plan) or 2007 (they'd have to move Odom to do so).

Robbie (Chicago): Hey Chris i read something yesterday where the Bulls could offer Deng and both their first round draft picks and that would be enough to get Garnett. Do you think that would be enough or would they have to give up Gordon too?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Depends where those draft picks are after the lottery. If the Bulls have the No. 1 or No. 2 pick, that might be enough. Remember, they've got the Knicks' pick this year, and they have the right to swap No. 1 picks with the Knicks in 2007. If they agreed to give Minnesota both those picks, they might tip the tables in their favor.

Widmer (Portland, OR): Is basketball in trouble in the Northwest? Is is possible that both the Blazers and Sonics could be looking for new homes in the not-so-distant future?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I'm afraid it's the latter, Widmer. When Paul Allen's people came out yesterday and said the franchise is no longer financially viable, that's a bad sign. With the Sonics, Schultz is holding the hammer because the team's lease expires soon, and commissioner Stern has already strongly indicated he'd support a relocation if Schultz had no better option. With the Magic looking for public funds for a new arena, and with George Shinn making no secret of the fact he wants to remain in Oklahoma City beyond next season, it would seem we're entering into what could turn into a five-year period in which the threat of relocation will be a constant theme.

jon (nj): any concept of the salary cap chris? chicago would have had to include tim thomas' contract to get up to the $$ of KG's contract. they'll need to resign deng and others to bigger, long term deals in the offseason now to get KG.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Any concept of cap space, jon? The Bulls will be so far under the cap after July 1, they will not have to match salaries in a Garnett trade.

Noah (Santa Monica, CA): If Amare is at full strength and Duncan still isn't, who wins a seven game series.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Good question, Noah. I'd take the Suns in 6, but I can't see Amare being at full strength until next season.

Aaron (phx): The latest KG rumor has KG going to Phoenix for Marion and change. What do you think about that for both teams? Amare, KG and Nash? Damn.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Like I said before, a lot of teams will get in on the bidding if KG goes on the market. The Wolves would want to go younger than Marion, but the Suns could throw in Atlanta's No. 1 pick (protected 1-3 in 2007, unprotected in 2008) to get the Wolves thinking.

Michael (DC): A Garnett trade seems to be on many peoples' minds. The scenario that most fascinates me, and which also I think won't happen, involves the Cavs offering Gooden, Hughes, and Snow and/or draft picks, for Garnett. The Wolves could start Snow/Banks, Davis, Hughes, Gooden and Blount--not an ideal lineup, but one which might suffice until younger players and those newly drafted develop. Would this idea or something like it be plausible?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: No. Hughes has a bad contract, Snow is old and has a bad contract, and Gooden is mediocre and has no contract after this season. The Wolves could do much, much better elsewhere.

Chris (Denver): Chris, What is you take on Isiah? It's like "Let's Make a Deal" with this guy, he keeps picking door number two and getting the pig even thought the entire audience is screaming for him to keep what he already has.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: People are killing Isiah in New York for the Francis trade, which I cannot comprehend. He got him for Trevor Ariza, for Pete's sake. That's Steve Francis for Trevor Ariza. That's not a good trade? I understand all the pent up frustration after a half-decade of being bad, but you really can't justify killing him on this one. The Jalen Rose-Antonio Davis deal was worse than the Francis deal.

KG (MN): Enough talk about me. If you hadn't noticed, there is still half a season to go and I still have not asked to be traded. Let's wait until I say more...

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Everyone expects you to ask for a trade because a lot of people keep tabs on what you're saying privately. Stuff like "I'll figure it all out after these final 29 games."

Rick (Yakima): Come on Chris! Just because he got more talent doesn't mean it's a good trade. He took on more money, got a selfish player he didn't need, and didn't help team chemistry.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: The money is not a concern. It's Cablevision money, and Jimmy Dolan doesn't care how much of it Isiah spends. Selfish or not, how does he not need another good player? Or is Francis suddenly a bad player? Team chemistry was already non-existent and can't get any worse.

Tony (Bronx): You can't comprehend the grief Isiah is receiving?? Look at the roster, great we have Steve Francis, is he going to learn how to pass or better yet teach Marbury how to pass? We know have 100+ million payroll all locked up in aging stars who all seem to play the same 2-3 positions. Your right i am confused why Isiah is taking the heat!!!

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I can undertand him taking the heat for the state of the team. He deserves all the heat he is getting. But if you're only looking at this particular trade, it's a steal, Tony.

Rob Babcock (Homeless): Chris, If i were Kevin McHale, I'd trade Kevin Garnett to the Spurs for two second round picks. What do you think about that trade. Any chance it will happen?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Wouldn't make it unless Eric Williams was in there.

Charles (San Jose): Chris, if it was the Payton/Mihm trade and the Walker/Payton trade, shouldn't it at least be the Johnson/Diaw trade?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Point taken, Charles.

Nathan (DC): For the love of God! Why can't people figure out that the Knicks don't care about money. They don't need to manage their cap. Their team was already terrible and they traded Trevor Ariza (who) for Steve Francis.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Welcome to the minority, Nathan.

Alex (Dominican Republic): OK, Isiah untie or let Sheridan go so we can have a chat with him.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Now that's funny, but this chat is deteriorating. Lemme find one more serious question before we're done.

Deen (Wort Worth): Would you have traded Keith Van Horn for Antonio Davis if you were the Mavs? Chemisty is one thing, but Dampier guarding Duncan is another.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: The Mavs didn't want to shake up their chemistry, and they've had good results using Van Horn and Nowitzki together to spread the floor. Those were probably the biggest two factors they considered if they discussed a Davis trade, and they outweighed any perceived defensive benefit the Mavs might have gotten from a Davis-Van Horn trade.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Thanks for all the good questions today, folks, and we'll do this again next week.