NBA Chat With Alex Kennedy 2/13/14

Alex_Kennedy_Chat2Join Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insiders’ senior NBA editor and writer, for his weekly chat at 8:30 p.m. EST on Thursday. Any basketball-related questions are welcome.
Be sure to pick up Basketball Insiders’ 2014 NBA Trade Deadline Guide. It’s 100 pages of new content, with a breakdown of every team, tons of features and more. Here is more information about the magazine and here is a link to download it!
  1. Daniel

    Hello Alex,
    As a Magic fan, I am thinking that Marcus Smart shoving that fan could really help us in the draft. Do you think it would be possible for us to select for example jabari Parker/wiggins at #2, then see Marcus Smart potentially slip to us in the early teens? Dream scenario and scary talented young team.

    • Alex Kennedy

      What’s up everyone? Thanks for stopping by and submitting your questions. Let’s get started.

      I’ve talked to a number of executives who don’t believe the push will affect Marcus Smart’s draft stock significantly. Sure, he’ll have to answer questions about that and kicking the chair during the pre-draft process, but it doesn’t seem he’ll fall very far. If he does go lower, I think it’ll be more of a one or two pick slip rather than him falling to the early teens. As a Magic fan, I understand the dream because that would be a ridiculous team, but I just can’t see it realistically happening.

  2. Jordan (Ut)

    Hey Alex, thanks for the chat!

    Many Jazz fans want to see the team sell high on Gordon Hayward. I honestly don’t think he is worth the $10+ million he’ll get this offseason. What type of value does he have right now?

    Would Jeff Green and 2 first round picks be too much to ask? (Including a very lightly protected 2014 pick)

    • Alex Kennedy

      I agree with you. I’m not the biggest Gordon Hayward fan. If I were the Jazz, I’d sell high on him. Some people believe he’s worth a max contract, but I just don’t see it. If a team throws that kind of money at Hayward, I think they’ll regret it. He’s a great kid and a good player, but I don’t he deserves a max deal.

      I think that Boston offer is a bit much, but the Celtics as a destination makes a ton of sense given his history with Brad Stevens.

  3. Jonathan

    Monta Ellis & Jose Calderon are a terrible defensive combo. Would you experiment with starting Devin Harris over either?

    • Alex Kennedy

      I think it’s something Dallas should look at. If I had to remove one of them from the lineup for Harris, it would be Monta Ellis. I think Jose Calderon is an underrated facilitator and his shooting spreads the floor. Also, Ellis could thrive as a sixth man. He’d bring instant offense off of the bench similar to what Jason Terry used to do for the Mavericks.

  4. BeeMagic

    Hi Alex, love your work.
    I’ve watched the NBA for over 50 years and I’ve reffed high speed professional sports. The way the NBA referees certain players is embarrassing. Once they are anointed and marketed as a star they obviously get “special” treatment. It definitely affects the outcome of many games. So if these players truly are the best in the world why (do they need) and does the league permit them to have extra steps, room to play or whatever special privileges seem to be needed to continually prove their stardom? It’s getting to look like the WWF.


    • Alex Kennedy

      Thanks, I appreciate it! I agree that certain players get too many calls. At times, it seems like you can’t breath on a superstar without the whistle blowing, which is ridiculous. I don’t think it’s so bad that it’s getting to look like the WWF, but it is a problem (with some games being worse than others). I think it’s something Adam Silver should look at improving, because fans are sick of it. Sometimes, my Twitter timeline fills up with people complaining about the officiating, which shouldn’t be happening.

  5. Mark

    Hello, Hope you are enjoying all-star and trade weeks.

    Setting aside likes of Omer Asik, Evan Turner, Pau Gasol, Kyle Lowry, etc., are there any “lesser” names that haven’t been talked up much which appear rather likely to be traded before the deadline? Thanks.

    • Alex Kennedy

      Thanks, Mark! Always a fun time of year.

      Aside from the big name guys, I think some guys to keep an eye on are Andre Miller, Spencer Hawes, Beno Udrih, Emeka Okafor (because of his insured, expiring contract), Ben Gordon, Mike Dunleavy, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush.

  6. Sammy v

    I don’t think deng is much of an upgrade over ariza who is to my one of the most underrated players in nba. Great defense was a go to guy in Houston and has same stats in wizards….for less money.just giving respect when it’s due.

    • Alex Kennedy

      I’m a huge Trevor Ariza fan. I got to know him when he was here in Orlando and I’ve followed his career closely ever since. I agree with you that Ariza is extremely underrated, and it’s definitely less of an upgrade than it would be for Phoenix, Charlotte and Detroit – three teams that really need a small forward. However, Deng is a two-time All-Star and he’s really, really good when he’s playing at his best, so I do think it would a significant upgrade. Deng is also a terrific leader and everything you want from a star player on and off the court. Also, there’s no guarantee that Ariza will be back next year since he’s an unrestricted free agent, so trading for Deng and getting his Bird rights to potentially lock him up could be a good long-term move for Washington.

  7. Alex Kennedy

    Hi, How are you doing today?

    Which rookies are you excited to watch next season and why?

    What tip/tips would you give to Wiggins, Parker, and randles before they enter the draft?

    What are wiggins, parkers, and randles ceiling in a few years?

    • Alex Kennedy

      I’m doing well. Thanks for stopping by.

      I’m excited to watch a lot of players from this class. It’s going to be interesting to see what Andrew Wiggins becomes given all of the hype that has surrounded him for several years. Joel Embiid has improved and developed so much in a short period of time, it’ll be fun to see what kind of player he becomes in the NBA. Jabari Parker can put up points and while I view him as kind of a tweener, I think he could have a great rookie season since he seems NBA ready. Dante Exum is going to be a lot of fun to watch, he’s really going to turn some heads when he comes over to the U.S. I’ve known Julius Randle since he was in high school, so I’m excited to see how he pans out. This draft is loaded with talent, so it’ll really be fun to watch the whole class.

      All of my tips for Wiggins, Parker and Randle would be off-the-court stuff since they have enough people giving them on-the-court tips and coaching. I’d tell them to limit the amount of people in their life because having a million people pulling you in different directions is stressful. I’d tell them not to look at mock drafts leading up to draft night because watching where you rise/fall day-to-day will drive you crazy. I’d also tell them to enjoy the process. Too many guys get stressed and overwhelmed, rather than appreciating the fact that they’re on the verge of turning their NBA dream into reality.

      All three have ridiculously high ceilings. I think they’ll all be very, very good.

  8. John

    Rumor yesterday said the Blazers are interested in Hawes. Obviously he’s a great fit for the Blazers bench and being a NW guy. That said, can the Blazers get him? Word is they want a 1st round pick for him, but the Blazers have no 1st round pick to trade (Charlotte owns their pick this year) and they don’t have any 2nd rounders to move either (moved a ton of future 2nd’s last summer). So unless the Sixers want picks in 2018 or 2019, the Blazers can’t move any. CJ McCollum is likely off-limits for a simple half-season rental of Hawes.

    Would the Sixers have any interest in Thomas Robinson or Meyers Leonard? Seems to me that’s the only way Hawes may end up in Portland.

    • Alex Kennedy

      I think a first-round pick is a lot to ask for Hawes. Also, I don’t think Philly has much leverage since he’s an expiring contract, as you said. It’s unlikely that either side will want to continue the marriage after this season so if the Sixers don’t trade him, they’ll lose him for nothing over the summer as a free agent. Philly can ask for a first-round pick all they want, but unless they have another suitor that is willing to offer one and outbid the Blazers, Portland may not have to give that up in order to acquire Hawes. And I’d be surprised if any team was willing to part with a first-round pick for a half-season rental of Hawes.

  9. Radu

    Hi Alex,
    Do you think it’s time the Thunder replaced Kendrick Perkins? When they got him he was one of the best defensive centers in the NBA and he definitely helped push them over the edge, but nowadays I feel his contribution is almost non-existent and he makes so many mistakes on the court. The Thunder have been good, but I would dare say it has been in spite of, not due to his contribution. Who would you think would be a realistic and successful replacement for the big guy? Who’s a really good, unhearelded defensive center? Marcin Gortat too expensive? Timofey Mozgov? Jason Smith? Joel Anthony? Is Ekpe Udoh still playing? (I honestly don’t know the answer to that)

    • Alex Kennedy

      It’s true that Perk isn’t the player that he once was and I think Sam Presti should do his due diligence and see if he can add a veteran center.

      Marcin Gortat is too expensive and Jason Smith is out for the year after undergoing knee surgery.

      Timofey Mozgov is having a career-year and playing well off of Denver’s bench, so the Nuggets would probably want a decent amount back for him. If he’s attainable for the Thunder, he would be a great addition.

      Ekpe Udoh is still playing, he’s a reserve on the Milwaukee Bucks and he could be a realistic option since the Bucks are willing to move almost anyone on their roster right now. I’m just not sure if he’s the answer. Working with the Thunder may help him develop further, but he hasn’t made that leap to become a starting-caliber like everyone expected him to when he was drafted.

      Maybe Andris Biedrins? Just kidding.

  10. steppxxxz

    Per the coming draft. It seems there are about 7 or 8 guys who would have been #1 last year. The surprise to me is that rodney hood isnt higher. Playing next to parker might be the reason, but honestly, I dont see many flaws and he’s arguably the best shooter in this class. Thoughts? Is there something Im missing on HOod>?

    • Alex Kennedy

      In most drafts, he’d be one of the top prospects. But like you said, this draft is just so loaded that he’s projected to go in the teens. Part of the reason Hood isn’t projected to go higher is that he’s already 21 years old. While that doesn’t seem old to us, an NBA decision-maker views it as relatively old when comparing him to top prospects like Andrew Wiggins (18), Jabari Parker (18), Dante Exum (18), Noah Vonleh (18), Joel Embiid (19), Marcus Smart (19), Julius Randle (19), etc. Teams see his age and think that he has less potential than the other guys because of his age. Executives love his game though and he could still end up being a lottery pick if he does well during the pre-draft process.

  11. Brandon

    What teams would be interested in trading for Arron Afflalo?

    • Alex Kennedy

      The Charlotte Bobcats, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs come to mind. Pretty much any team that wants to be a buyer at the deadline and could use a starting shooting guard or additional scorer. Afflalo has been excellent this season and his trade value has never been higher.

  12. Anthony curry

    Hi Alex Is there any truth to the rumor san antonio trading for Evan Turner if so who would they trade thanks

    • Alex Kennedy

      I’m not sure if there’s any truth to it, I haven’t heard one way or the other. But it makes sense. The Spurs are great at developing players; they probably think they can buy low on Turner and then help him reach his full potential.

  13. knickerknacker

    I’ve been a Woody supporter, probably because I hated D’Antoni’s coaching and playing style so much, but after the last couple of weeks, he has to go.
    I’m tired of seeing his face at the end of games surprised that he’s down 6 with :20 to go (again!).
    I get the why fire mid-stream but it’s on the Coach to prepare and it’s not just now, it’s been the whole year. Is it coming this week? And what else is on the NYC trade media radar?

    • Alex Kennedy

      I see what you’re saying. I really felt like they should’ve fired him earlier in the year, but I also understand why they’d rather hold off at this point. It’s very difficult to find a coach who is willing to take over a job midseason, since they don’t have the chance to implement the things they want to and it’s virtually impossible to build a staff since most assistant coaches are already working somewhere else. That’s why it was pretty surprising to see Lionel Hollins say that he would take the Detroit Pistons job; it’s pretty rare. Unless the Knicks have someone in house that they trust, they may just be waiting until the summer to let go of Woodson and do a full search for their next head coach.

      As far as what’s on the Knicks’ trade radar, I think they want to make a move, but they don’t really have the assets. They have tried to go after Kyle Lowry, Kenneth Faried, etc. but there just isn’t interest in the Knicks’ pieces. If Toronto decides to move Lowry or Denver decides to move Faried, those teams could likely find a better package than the one New York can put together since they don’t have any picks to trade and have very few attractive assets.

  14. paul swaggy p

    Will gasol be traded?

    • Alex Kennedy

      I’m not sure, but I think the Lakers should trade him. It’s almost guaranteed that he’s going to leave after the season since Gasol likely wants to play for a winner at this point in his career and his relationship with Mike D’Antoni isn’t great. That means holding onto Gasol past the deadline means that L.A. will likely lose him over the offseason without receiving anything back in return, just like they did with Dwight Howard. Even if they don’t get everything they want (their asking price on Gasol has been really high), getting something back is better than nothing. This is a chance for L.A. to get some assets to help them as they rebuild moving forward.

  15. Josh

    Hi Alex:

    Does Phoenix have the assets to pry Gordon Hayward away from Utah? Hornacek would LOVE to have him and he is piece that could really help the Suns in the short term and long run.

    • Alex Kennedy

      Phoenix has the assets to do A LOT. That’s what happens when you have as many as four first-round picks in a loaded draft, a huge expiring contract that is insured and a number of young guys who have played well. If Phoenix is interested in Hayward, I’m sure they can put together a package that Utah will at least have to consider.

  16. Deven

    How does Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports breaks the big stories first? How’s does he do it?

    • Alex Kennedy

      He works ridiculously hard and he has great relationships with people around the league. Woj is great at his job.

  17. Deven

    Why do you have Joel Embiid ahead of his teammate, Andrew Wiggins, in the mock draft?

    • Alex Kennedy

      I’ve talked to a lot of executives who feel that Joel Embiid is the first overall pick, and they say it’s not even close at this point. That could obviously change between now and the draft, but NBA decision-makers drool over Embiid and his potential. I recently wrote an in-depth article about it, check it out.

  18. Ted

    What do you think of Giannis Antetokounmpo?

    • Alex Kennedy

      I love his game. He has so much potential. In a few years, he could be a very scary player. I’ll be a writing a big article about him soon, so be on the lookout for that.

  19. Bryan

    Latest rumor is Bucks are interested in Eric Gordon. Based on his injury history, that looks like a bad move for the Bucks. That said, would Pels trade Gordon for Mayo and Neal? I would hope thee Bucks would not offer more than that.

    • Alex Kennedy

      The Bucks have shot this down. A well placed source from the Bucks told our Bill Ingram that any report about Milwaukee being interested in Eric Gordon is “completely untrue” so it doesn’t sound like they’ll make that move.

  20. Cory

    Hi Alex,
    With the Bobcats looking to add shooting depth to solidify a playoff berth and Deng potentially on the trading block is there any way Charlotte makes an offer for him? Thanks! Love the new site.

    • Alex Kennedy

      I definitely think it’s a possibility. Yesterday, I wrote about Deng being an option for Charlotte in the NBA PM. The Bobcats want to be buyers at the deadline and right now, there aren’t a lot of franchise-changing players on the market. For teams like the Bobcats, Suns, Pistons and Wizards that want to make a trade to bolster their roster, Deng may be the best option.

  21. Craig c

    Who are the two biggest names moved at the deadline on Thursday?

    • Alex Kennedy

      I’ll predict Pau Gasol and Evan Turner.

      If you love NBA trade talk, be sure to pick up Basketball Insiders’ 2014 NBA Trade Deadline Guide. It is 100 pages of new content, with 30 team profiles, tons of features and much more. Here is more information about the magazine and here is a link to download it!

      Thanks for submitting the questions. Have a great weekend!