View Full Version : Q & A - ESPN INSIDER..... 2/13

02-13-2003, 10:37 PM
Could Spurs win title
with Kidd and Duncan?
by Chad Ford
Send an Email to Chad Ford

NBA Rumors: Knicks after Shareef?

The trade deadline is now just a week away, and it's dominating the questions in my inbox. However, the draft related stuff appearing in Insider and on ESPN.com Wednesday also seemed to work everyone into a frenzy. In case you missed it, make sure you go over to the Insider draft page today and check out the LeBron James Lottery game. The game simulates the actual lottery. With every click of the "play the game" icon, you get to see one possible result of the lottery. As a bonus, if you click it about 200 times, you also get to see what LeBron would look like in Laker jersey.

Q: I recently read various columns discussing Jason Kidd's future and the the likelihood that he would be a Spur next year. Given the current state of the Western Conference, do you really believe this move would make the Spurs a championship team?
-- Dominic DeCecco, Birdsboro, Pa.

FORD: That's a great question Dominic. I'm not sure what the Spurs or Kidd are thinking. I do believe a Duncan-Kidd combo would be second only to Shaq and Kobe in the NBA. But like the Lakers, if the Spurs went that direction and then were unwilling to pay the luxury tax, they'd have serious depth issues. You really can't afford to have two max contracts on your roster if you don't want to pay the luxury tax.

If the Spurs kept Duncan, then acquired Kidd via a sign-and-trade with the Nets for Tony Parker, they'd be left with only about $3 million to $4 million in cap room left. Would a combination of Kidd, Emanuel Ginobili, Bruce Bowen, Malik Rose and Duncan be enough tp put the Spurs over the top? They'd be a good team, but they'd also be one Kidd or Duncan injury away from the lottery. Look at the problems Boston and Orlando have had with the same model. The only teams that have successfully done well with that model in recent years are the Lakers and Jazz. I think Kidd probably would be better off either signing for a little less with the Sonics or sticking with the young nucleus the Nets have put together. As for the Spurs, I think they should keep Parker and try to use their $16 million or so in cap room to add a couple of potential stars to their roster.

For example, adding a combination of Michael Olowokandi and Lamar Odom or Corey Maggette to the team makes more sense. Olowokandi isn't a superstar, but he's one of the best young centers in the league and would probably blossom playing alongside a dominant big man like Duncan. Odom has had his fair share of problems, but he still has the potential to be a top-five player in the NBA. If the Spurs are too risk averse, Maggette is another great option. All three players have their problems, but it's nothing some discipline can't solve. They'd get that in San Antonio. I think, long term, a line-up of Parker, Ginobili, Odom, Duncan and Olowokandi has a lot better shot at winning a title.

Q: As a Lakers fan, your last column has confirmed what I feared most about the Lakers' recent winning surge -- that they would become complacent and not seek to make a trade before the deadline. They barely made the finals last year, and this year key players like Robert Horry, Rick Fox, and Brian Shaw are a year older, while Sacramento, San Antonio, and Dallas are all improved.
-- David Perry, Tampa, Fla.

FORD: It's a risk, but say this about Phil Jackson ... he's loyal to his guys. He asks them to make certain sacrifices by playing within a structured system, but he doesn't bail on them when the going gets rough. Horry, Fox and Devean George are all playing better, and I think Jackson feels like this team will be just fine. It's GM Mitch Kupchak who is worried. The Lakers may have another title or two in them. But when Phil leaves after next season, and if Kobe and Shaq follow him out the door, the Lakers will have nothing. I still believe trading now for a dominant low-post big man like Brian Grant or Shareef Abdur-Rahim, would cement their elite status for years to come.

Q: Are the Timberwolves going to make any moves before the trade deadline? I've heard so many rumors, like Gary Payton, etc. I had heard that they were looking to make a deal with the Hawks.
-- Greg Clark, Coon Rapids, Minn.

FORD: I'm sure the T-Wolves would love to get Kevin Garnett more help. The problem is they don't have much to work with. They could potentially move Terrell Brandon's contract to a team looking for some salary relief. But that's contingent on Brandon agreeing to retire. So far he hasn't been willing to go that far. After Brandon, what else do they have to offer? Wally Szczerbiak can't be traded, because he recently signed an extension. Neither can Rasho Nesterovic, because of the one year tender he signed this summer. No one else on their roster -- Joe Smith, Anthony Peeler, Marc Jackson, Troy Hudson -- has any real trade value. You've got to give up something of value to get something in return. The T-Wolves just don't have enough to offer anyone.

Q: What are the chances Elton Brand and Andre Miller will be wearing a Jazz uniform next year? They seem like the perfect duo to replace John Stockton and Karl Malone. I was excited to read your report on Miller being keen to return to Utah, but Brand's situation seems more complicated, with the Clips' potential to match any tender and lock him up long-term.
-- Arthur Veerkamp, Sacramento, Calif.

FORD: A source close to Miller told me in Atlanta that he wants to play in Utah next year, and I know the Jazz would love to have him. Brand would also be a great fit, but he's probably one more year away. As I reported Friday, Brand's restricted free agent status concerns his agent, David Falk. Falk is worried the Clippers will match Brand's offer, but won't spend the money to re-sign everyone else. That means Brand would be stuck on a terrible team for the next six or seven years. Instead, he'll probably accept the Clippers' one year tender this summer and become an unrestricted free agent in 2004.

Of course, all of this assumes that Stockton and Malone retire this summer. That's not a given, especially for Malone. I talked to a Western Conference executive Wednesday who was pretty convinced that both of them would be back next season. If they do come back, the Jazz probably couldn't afford to add Miller and Brand anyway. Unless, that is, Stockton and Malone take small, Michael Jordan-esque type deals to help out the club. Stockton has already been doing that in the past. Malone? Don't count on it.

Q: Please tell me the Chicago Bulls are planning to trade their first round pick for some immediate veteran help! How do you see Jerry Krause spending ths pick?
-- Marc, West Dundee, Ill.

FORD: Sam Smith wrote a great article in Wednesday's Chicago Tribune about this exact subject. There is such a thing as having too much youth and too many building blocks. Jay Williams and Jamal Crawford are both in a funk because of playing time issues. Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler both need development, but it kills the Bulls when they're on the court together. That limits their time on the floor. Adding another lottery diva to the mix would just create more confusion. I know Jerry Krause has been stubborn about trading kids like Crawford, but at some point he has to realize the damage being done to the team's chemistry outweighs Crawford's individual value. I think Williams, Curry and Chandler are their young core. Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall have proven to be capable veterans. I think they're one solid veteran big man away from turning the team around. The question is, is Krause willing to pay the price.

Q: I am a die-hard Pistons fan who is extremely curious about the direction of the ballclub after this season. The knock on the team now is that they don't have the go-to scorer, so my question is, how do they go about getting one?
-- Chip Arms, Ann Arbor, Mich.

FORD: The Pistons are in great shape. They'll have Memphis' first round pick this summer, unless it's the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. You've got to believe, with Tony Ronzone on board there in Detroit, that they're taking a long, hard look at Darko Milicic. They'll also have around $6 million in cap space to play with. Of course, they'll probably use it to re-sign Richard Hamilton, but if they want to go a different direction they can. Joe Dumars has the Pistons in great shape. They have a nice mix of veteran savvy and young talent. All they're missing is a superstar. That first-round pick will probably give it to them.

Q: I was just wondering about the other guy that was allowed in the draft besides Darko, Sofaklis Schortsianides? Is he going to play in the NBA next season? Is he not a viable lottery pick at all?
-- Tito Nieves, Waco, Texas

FORD: I'm pretty sure Sofaklis, or "Baby Shaq" as they call him in Greece, will be in the draft this year. It's a terrible draft for big men, and with his size, he's most likely a lottery pick. I think the concern NBA teams have about him is two-fold: One, how tall is he really? He's listed at 6-foot-10, but teams think he's much closer to 6-foot-8. Two, can he really play? Unlike Darko, he's not playing at the highest level in Europe. Because of his strength and size, he's muscling people around in Greece. He won't be able to do that here. He's a much bigger risk, but with that said, I know teams still like him.

Q: Please explain to me how you can place Dwayne Wade in the "Best of the Rest" category? He is a tremendous scorer and is the best defender in the country.
-- Matt Larson, Minnesota

FORD: Lots of teams love Wade. The issue with him, and several other great college basketball players, is size. Wade is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard. That's the kiss of death in the NBA. Unless he shows the ability to be a true point guard in the league (look how long it took Gilbert Arenas to convince the NBA of that) he's going to slip a bit. It's not a knock on his talent, it's just a telling sign of the NBA's preoccupation with size.

While we're at it, the same is true for two other outstanding college players, Xavier's David West and Georgetown's Mike Sweetney. Xavier lists West at 6-foot-9, but scouts insist he's much closer to 6-foot-7. If West had more of a perimeter game, it wouldn't matter. But right now he's a power froward. Can he make the transition to the three in the pros? Scouts have their doubts. Sweetney has the same issue. Teams love his toughness in the paint, but he's not overly athletic, and folks wonder whether, at 6-foot-6 (that's how tall scouts think he actually is) he can be dominant in the pros.

Q: I was just wondering where you think Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich would go in the draft.
-- Prashanth Pulkur, Fort Wortash, Texas

FORD: Hinrich is probably a lottery pick. There's an interesting debate going on among scouts about who's better, Hinrich or Oregon's Luke Ridnour. However, I'd say about 60 percent of scouts prefer Hinrich. I even had one team executive tell me that Hinrich may be the surest thing in the draft after LeBron and Darko. He may not have the upside of several other top prospects, but you're pretty sure what you're getting with him, and it's all good. As for Collison, he's really helped himself. He impressed NBA coaches when he practiced with Team USA this summer, and he's having a great year. He's probably a mid- to late-first-round pick.

Krause sick of all the Bull

Jerry Krause has had enough of all of the complaining about playing time, logjams and the triangle offense. On Wednesday, after days of complaing by Jay Williams, Jamal Crawford and most recently, Dalibor Bagaric, Krause went on the offensive. "I will not be pressured into a situation," Krause told the Chicago Sun Times. "You can't let things like that affect you. When you have a good player, which Jamal is -- he's a very good player -- you're not going to be pushed into moving a player just to move him. Jamal's the kind of guy where if you move him, he can come back to haunt you. Besides, he's a professional, and it won't be a problem."

Krause's refusal to make a move, combined with coach Bill Cartwright's refusal to play Williams and Crawford together, has led to a tense situation all season. Williams told Insider in Atlanta that the Bulls led him to believe that they'd play together when they drafted him. He doesn't understand why that's still not possible. Listening to Krause for a few minutes, it's easy to understand why the club has a hard time finding free agents who really want to play there. "I'm not doing what's in their best interest," Krause said. "I'm doing what's in our best interest. I told him if I don't get an offer I like, nobody's getting traded."

Krause, of course, is paralyzed with fear. He knows Crawford has a lot of potential and doesn't want to lose him for nothing. However, what he isn't acknowledging is the strain it's put on Williams, Crawford and the rest of the club. Clearly, the Bulls are committed to Williams as their point guard of the future. Crawford is the odd man out and he knows it. Krause wants to have his cake and eat it to. It just doesn't work that way. "I don't think we've committed to anybody for anything," Krause said. "Nothing has been decided. We have two young guys who are both very good players. The story isn't told yet. It can work that way until something better comes along."

He's not the only one who's been frustrated this season. Eddy Curry's minutes have been sporadic, and Eddie Robinson and Tyson Chandler have been in and out of the roation depending on the week. Even Bagaric, whose played a total of 27 minutes this season, has an ax to grind. "If you don't want to play me, trade me," Bagaric said. "Speak to [Krause] and say, 'You don't give these guys an opportunity, let's give them an opportunity somewhere else.' Maybe I can play somewhere else. There has to be some changes. I will not complain. I will do my work and support my teammates. I can play in the NBA. I'm almost 7-2 and can play defense and rebound."

Will Nate McMillan abandon ship in Seattle?

The Sonics have been dealing with their fair share of trade rumors the past few months. Having a 21-28 record will do that to you. And while it's still probable that either Kenny Anderson or Gary Payton may be shipped out before the Feb. 20th trade deadline, that might not be the only change in Seattle. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, coach Nate McMillan is questioning whether he can continue to be the coach of a losing team. McMillan has had his disagreements with the Sonics' front office about the direction of the team.

And, he doesn't sound too optimistic about this season. "It's going to be tough," he told KJR 950 radio. "You'd almost need a miracle. [You] have to think you need to win almost 45 games. So you're talking about us winning almost 25 of these next 33 games." Now comes unconfirmed reports out of Charlotte that Ed Tapscott -- the president of the team that was purchased by the league's first black owner, Bob Johnson -- is interested in McMillan as a possible candidate to coach Charlotte's team. While that speculation seems a little too far down the road to take seriously now, the Tacoma News Tribune does point out that the direction the Sonics go right now may have a big impact on McMillan's thought process.

If the team is willing to spend the money now and package together Anderson and a young player to go after a veteran like Shareef Abdur-Rahim -- the Sonics would be propelled back into contention and McMillan would be happy. However, if the Sonics decide to do nothing, and then let Payton go this summer in the name of rebuilding, McMillan may not be around to help them through that project.

Peep Show

New York Knicks, Hawks: GM Scott Layden made another inquiry about Shareef Abdur-Rahim during the weekend, the Newark Star Ledger reported. With all of the talk about moving Spree, can the Knicks get a deal done? "I don't think they have anything to offer Atlanta but Spree, and the Hawks don't want that," one Eastern general manager familiar with Atlanta's business told the Star Ledger. "I don't think the Knicks will be able to trade Spree at this point. They'll keep trying, but if they want a young All-Star in return, I don't think they'll get it."

Dallas Mavericks: Are the Mavs ready to pull off their third straight major deadline trade? Last year Cuban said no way, just before they pulled off a huge deal that brought them Nick Van Exel and Raef LaFrentz. So take whatever he says this year with a grain of salt. "There was a 99.9 percent chance that we were not going to do anything last year," Cuban told the Dallas Morning News. "But when you get the last-minute phone call, that's the way things happen sometimes. If I say I'll buy that shirt from you, and you say: $50. Then I'll offer you $6. And if you need the money bad enough, you'll take it."

Denver Nuggets: GM Kiki Vandeweghe said if there is a deal made before the Feb. 20 trade deadline, it likely will be because a team offered the Nuggets someone they can't refuse. "I'm pretty happy with the progress of our young guys," Vandeweghe told the Denver Post. "But with all trade dealings, we'll listen to a lot of proposals."

Miami Heat: We know the Heat are talking to teams in an attempt to move Brian Grant, Eddie Jones or even Alonzo Mourning. But the Orlando Sun Sentinel reports that the guy who may be drawing the most interest is point guard Travis Best. Best has just a one-year deal with the team. Among those interested? The 76ers.

Nets: Don't expect New Jersey to pull off a trade by the deadline. "If we have everybody healthy, yeah. I think we're going to be good," GM Rod Thorn told the N.Y. Post. "I don't anticipate anything. But you never know. I don't have anything in the works right now." Said coach Byron Scott: "I think we're fine. I expect it to stay intact, unless something crazy comes along. I like what we have. I think we're doing just great."

Sixers: The team has decided to shut down center Todd MacCulloch for an unspecified period of time. Coach Larry Brown worries that MacCulloch's problems could be career-threatening. "He's been worried sick about it," Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "That's why I said, 'Hey, let's get this thing straight.' " MacCulloch says he's not sure what the future holds. "I'm scared that, given the past results, that it's a permanent condition and there's no real answer for it. That's a scary thought, but usually you're looking at what it's going to take to fix this or how long till it's cured. With this, I'm not getting those sorts of answers. So, yes, it's been wearing on me."

Wizards, Clippers: Charles Oakley is at it again. According to the L.A. Times, Oakley charged at Clippers coach Alvin Gentry during the shoot-around Wednesday, threatening Gentry with physical harm. He had to be restrained by Michael Jordan and Clippers assistant Dennis Johnson. Gentry blew the whole incident off. "It was nothing," he told the Times. "It's not even worth putting in the paper. It's not even worth writing about as a note." The Clippers' Joe Safety said the incident was reported to the NBA office in New York. The team expressed concern about what Oakley might do next.

02-13-2003, 10:50 PM
<< But when Phil leaves after next season >>

Wouldn't it be interesting to see Phil as a Mav?

02-14-2003, 01:00 AM
<< But when Phil leaves after next season, and if Kobe and Shaq follow him out the door, the Lakers will have nothing. I still believe trading now for a dominant low-post big man like Brian Grant or Shareef Abdur-Rahim, would cement their elite status for years to come.

So hes saying that when Kobe, Shaq and Jackson leave someone like Brian Grant or Shareef would cement the Lakers elite status? Intressting. But yeah I can see it. The way Grant is ruling the east.

OP, thanks for posting.

02-14-2003, 02:29 AM
Wouldn't it be interesting to see Phil as a Mav?[/i] >>

<< Text >>

Yeah it would be interesting alright, it would be interesting if I discovered I had a brain tumor as well. Neither of these cases would be enjoyable.

The mantis Dirk and Fin operating the triangle(I can hardly contain my excitement). Phil would look worse than Pat Riley if he came to Dallas.

Usually Lurkin
02-14-2003, 08:25 AM
yeah, that lakers paragraph is a little shaky.

Why in the world are we thinking how interesting it would be to get Phil when he, Shaq, and Kobe leave the Lakers. In that fantasy, give me Shaq. Or Kobe. Or hey, why not all three.

02-14-2003, 08:54 AM
Yeah it would be interesting alright, it would be interesting if I discovered I had a brain tumor as well. Neither of these cases would be enjoyable.

-- I tell you...I've needed a good laugh lately. Thank you Brian ! Hopefully, the only triangle we see will be attached to a chuckwagon.

--And Fidel, you're more than welcome. Take care.

02-15-2003, 12:37 AM
I hate Phil Jackson. No I wouldn't want to see that happen. If the knicks get anything for Spree that will be a steal.