NBA Rumors Chat With Steve Kyler 4/14/14

Basketball Insiders Publisher Steve Kyler will hold his weekly chat at 10:30am EST on Mondays. Drop in your questions regarding NBA trades, the NBA Draft, roster moves or questions about your team.

  1. Deven

    The New York Knicks are officially out of the playoffs. What’s next? What will PJ do this summer with the coach and the roster? Will Melo stay? So many questions remain unanswered at the moment.

    • Steve Kyler

      Welcome in everyone. Hard to believe we’re at the end of the season already. Lots to get to, so lets get after it.

      I wish I could tell you I have a sense of what Phil is going to do in New York. He’s not talking to a lot of people yet, so the information circle is sort of small.

      I can tell you what I think is going to happen… anyone holding a front office job in New York is likely out. I think the coaching is out.

      As for who is coming in. I think Phil going to interview a lot of people, simply to find the kinds of personalities he wants.

      As for Melo – he’s going to listen to whats out there. The Knicks can offer the most cash, but I also think they offer Melo the best opportunity to be the focal point. If he goes somewhere else he’ll earn less and likely be second or third fiddle – not sure that is what he’s looking for.

  2. Deven

    Are the Spurs unbeatable?

    • Steve Kyler

      Sure… its not like they went 82-0… but I would say if healthy, they are a very scary team. I am not sold they will win the West. OKC and the Clippers could give them fits in the post-season.

  3. Deven

    Is Lebron still intrigue by New York? Think he re-considers signing with them?

    • Steve Kyler

      LeBron is not going anywhere. I think the only scenario in which LeBron is not back in Miami is if everyone else leaves, but from whats been said to me – LeBron is really happy with the situation in Miami and he’s not going anywhere. That could change if the cratered in the post-season, but I just don’t see that happening.

  4. Dennis

    If the Chicago Bulls end up matching up with the Washington Wizards in the first round. Do you think the coaching between Thibs and Randy Wittman may sway the series? Coaching usually counts more in the playoffs with setting up all the match-up and in-game adjustments. Your thoughts.

    • Steve Kyler

      Its not just coaching… its focus and intensity and the Bulls win that in almost every way. I like Washington, but they are young team and they struggle to bring it for 48 minutes. The Bulls bring it for 58 minutes… they bring it in pre-game, they bring it at half time, in the locker room and in post-game.

      They are a dialed up group. Washington might have a touch more talent in a few spots, but the Bulls are a very aggressive and disciplined group.

  5. Mac

    If the OKC Thunder face the Dallas Mavericks in the 1rst round. How good is Serge Ibaka at guarding Dirk Nowitzki? I know Serge is a great defender but Dirk would force him to defend out on the perimeter.

    • Steve Kyler

      I don’t think it matters. Dirk gets his against everyone. Its not like Serge is going to step out to the three-point line and its not like anyone can stop that fadeaway jumper.

      I think for Dallas its about how well does Monta Ellis play… if he can get them 25+ a game and be somewhat efficient, Dallas has a shot.

      I think the real question is can Serge produce enough offense to make Dallas adjust to him.

  6. Jeff

    Steve, tell me the cavs will fire Mike Brown and hire George Karl so the team will actually be fun to watch? Pipe dream? I thought so.
    What Cavalier is most likely to be traded? My money is Tristan Thompson, he can’t finish at the rim, can’t shoot, can’t make plays for others, he is for all purposes a slightly better Reggie Evans. I’d also get rid of J Jack considering he wasn’t appreciably better than Dellavadova, and makes 5 million more a year.

    • Steve Kyler

      I can’t say they would do either… the firing Mike Brown is expensive.

      As for trades, I think you’ll see the Cavs being active – not sure anyone is giving you a lot of value for Tristan. The Cavs tried to move Jarret Jack at the trade deadline, so we’ll see what they do this summer. I think if David Griffin is running the team the roster will look at lot better next season – less duplication, more balance.


    Hey Steve,

    So if Miami wins their last two games (@wizard, vs. Sixers) and indy wins it’s final game (@magic), who gets the first spot?

    Thanks for answering my question?

    • Steve Kyler

      Pacers hold the tie breaker because of the better eastern Conference record… so if they are tied, Indy gets the top seed.

  8. Peter

    Steve, If the rockets fail to reach the WCF this year or next year, do you think McHale will be fired? If so, who do you think the rockets will hire? I would love to see Tom Thibodeau back with the rockets. He is a defensive genius who can rectify the rockets’ subpar defense. Out of all the current playoff teams, they have the worst points against! If D-Ro continues to struggle with his knee, I can see Thibs leaving. Your thoughts.

    • Steve Kyler

      I always answer this kind of question with “how a team loses” — if you are injured, if it comes down to the wire, if you are a player away… how is that on the coach?

      The coach is the easiest thing to change, but I don’t think you can put everything on McHale. If the team collapses, or gets worked every game, then maybe you can point to the coach.

      I am not a huge McHale fan… Love the guy as a person, not thrilled with him as a coach so I could see change possible, but I would put it on McHale if the team doesn’t do this or that. I think its “how” they play that’s on the coach.

  9. Brian

    could the bucks have made larry sanders available to play for the last 5 games even though he was injured, just to get that 5 game suspension out of the way? or would the league not have allowed that or would it just be considered ‘bad form’.

    • Steve Kyler

      Sanders was cleared to play on the 9th and began serving his suspension… so that happened already.

      The way it works is the Bucks doctors cleared him. Those finding were then sent to the NBA whose doctor cleared him and a third “independent” doctor cleared him as well. So Sanders suspension will be out of the way this year not next.

  10. Brian

    I was wondering your thoughts on the situation where referees check the replay 99.9% of the time on breakaway fouls now, which is really annoying & slows the game down, especially when before the replays of these were allowed they probably made the correct call 90-95%+ anyway. this is why i watch games on dvr, to fast forward through this kind of slowdown.

    also why doesnt the nba widen the court by 3-4 feet on each side so there would be less of players stepping out of bounds. that amount space wouldnt eliminate court-side seating or anything. thanks!

    • Steve Kyler

      There is no desire to change the dimensions of the court. The one thing the NBA is trying to do is get every call right. Especially calls where they may not have seen everything that happened.

      The other thing the league is very thoughtful about is the timing and flow of the game. Finding that balance is not easy and it an ever-evolving thing.

  11. Radu

    Hi Steve,
    I was reading one of Nate Duncan’s chats, which I always find to be one of the most insightful. He was arguing that post scoring is not as important a skill in today’s NBA. Personally, I have always appreciated post scoring more than 3-point shooting, ability to create your own shot, or other individual offensive abilities. Maybe I am just nostalgic of the “old” NBA. But Nate got me thinking: do teams really need post scoring anymore to be successful? Teams like Miami, OKC, Chicago, Dallas, Golden State have had a lot of success lately without relying on post scoring. San Antonio, Memphis, the Clippers and to some extent Indiana have had success with it. On the other hand, not one struggling team has any sort of quality post scoring. Even Charlotte was able to transform into a clear playoff team simply by adding a post scorer. What’s your take on this? If you were a coach/GM trying to build a championship team, would a post scorer be on your “must have by any means” list? Or would you sacrifice post scoring if you could at least get shooters, playmakers and shot creators?

    • Steve Kyler

      I commented about this during the tournament… Kentucky has/had a horse in the paint in Julius Randle, yet for some ungodly reason parked him at the three point line, rather than park him on the block and dump the ball into him to force the double.

      There is a lot of research on where the most efficient basketball is and sadly its on the perimeter. Some of that is that low-post skills have eroded and are harder to teach.

      The rules favor perimeter play and almost penalize post-play because of the contact that’s allowed. Nate is a very bright guy, but for my money I would want a guy I can toss the ball to and force the double, whether he scores on not, having that guy that makes the defense collapse is what powers great basketball.

  12. steppxxxz

    Sadly, season looks done for Phoenix. Dallas doesnt need to win against memphis so, even if phoenix beats memphis tonight, they likely wont win. Looking forward….what are their team needs? Im guessing they retain Tucker and Frye..and for sure Bledsoe. But in a year Dragic comes up. I know they’d like to keep that group and markieff and plumlee and len. But whats missing? In the draft, or trades?

    • Steve Kyler

      I wouldn’t say anything is “missing” as much as its a young team that had one year under a rookie head coach. They will be better next year just from comfort and familiarity. They also lost Bledsoe for a ton of games to injury.

      I think another run through the draft and free agency and a few tweaks will put Phoenix in a really good place for next year… as my man Rick Kamla said, they are a “Noah’s Ark team” — two deep everywhere. If they make just basic year to year improvements, they should be pretty good. Anyone makes a leap and they could be very good.

  13. steppxxxz

    DOY………big man or perimeter defender? How does one guage the comparative value? I saw where someone at ESPN had Hibbert for DOY….an absurdity, given the crater that the pacers fell into, but also, Hibbert isnt a good rebounder, and doesnt that sort of matter for an elite defender? My vote is Iguadola probably. He stops guys from scoring. Ibaka maybe, Dwight….hmm…..naw…..your thoughts? Your pick.

    • Steve Kyler

      I have debated on this one… I don’t see a perimeter player that’s been stand out enough to get votes. I won’t shoot Roy Hibbert over the Pacers struggles, he is still one of the top defensive players in the game. I think Dwight Howard gets some votes, but for my money how can it not be Joakim Noah this year?

  14. Dionusis

    After LBJ, KD who is the best player in the league in your opinion?

    • Steve Kyler

      I have a few that I am very high on… Chris Paul is next on my list. Anthony Davis, Joakim Noah, and Blake Griffin have really come on strong this year. I still think Derrick Rose and Russell Westrbook are special talents, even with the injuries.

      But next on my list is Chris Paul. Having covered the NBA for whats now 17 years, I have never seen a player that controls his team like Chris does. Truly a floor general.

  15. Dionusis

    Was Rondo at his best a top 10 PG in the league or was he just overrated? Are the Celtics better off keeping him or trading him?

    • Steve Kyler

      I think the Celtics would be fine keeping Rondo, but its about what they get back. If they could get the right combination of future talents in return I think they would move him.

      As for the top 10 comment… there is a real drop off in talent in the top five, so no, I wouldn’t say overrated. he is one of the best pound for pound rebounders we’ve seen. He is a beast in the assists category and he is a solid defender.

  16. Rob

    IF the Orlando Magic win the lotto, Get the #1 Draft pick and select Joel Embiid, Do you think they have enough to trade the WoNK + Nic Vuc, afflalo to land another top 5-7 pick? Emibiid + Exum would be a dream.IF not Do you think Marcus Smart could fall to them at 12?

    • Steve Kyler

      No… I do not think Smart is there are #12… I don’t think he’ll be there are #8.

      As for the 2 million possibilities for the Magic. I think they are entering this off-season with an extremely open mind about what they can build for the future. I do not believe anyone on the roster is untouchable and I think if the Magic could trade everyone they have and come out with a bona fide title contender they would.

      Clearly they hold some guys in higher regard than others and clearly there are some guys they would want the world in return for, but nothing in Orlando is locked in, so its all about what do they get back. So would the Magic trade X+Y to get a piece they really like? Yes.

  17. the wonderer

    With all the ado about the West and the East, in the end there’s one team in the east playoffs with a sub-500 record and one team in the west with a better than 500 record not getting in. Let’s also not forget
    the East won the last 2 years. The lottery is about correcting this, so can everyone please Shut Up about changing the format of the playoffs because of this year! NY, Philly, Boston, Cle were all supposed to be decent this year and life is interesting because it’s not predictable-sports too. Agree/Disagree?

    • Steve Kyler

      There has been so much talk about a “weak east” and “tanking” and none of it is based on data or facts. Its all opinion. Every year there are teams going nowhere – Philly was just out front and honest about it.

      The East has been far more competitive this year in terms of games against each other.

      I think both concepts are massively overrated and that WAY too much is made of what has happened every year for maybe the last decade.

      Agree with fervor.

  18. James

    Good morning,
    What JoeD tried to do this year by signing Jennings and Jsmooth was the right idea. But i believe the real problem was the SG position. If you look at the front court of Det stats they weren’t bad. but when you have no one who could stretch the D and Jennings letting every PG use the EZ-pass lane, your spacing and D will suffer. A 3 and D SG/SF(Ariza) and DET would have easily made the playoffs, possibly the 3rd seed. Your thoughts?

    • Steve Kyler

      Joe’s problem has never been in the talent department. He’s always been really good at getting talent. He generally overpays free agents and he can’t pick a coach.

      I blame the issues in Detroit on coaching. I also think the Pistons have handcuffed themselves to some tough deals. I love the Pistons roster, they just need someone who can really lead and coach.

  19. James

    Bleacher report had a article on what FA’s each team should sign/or possibly trade for. The one that sparked my interest was Gay to the Bobcats/Hornets. This would really be a great move for Jordan, and his contract ends in the summer 2015. What would it take to get that deal done your opinion? Bizmac and the Portland pick?

    • Steve Kyler

      Rudy Gay has the option to hit free agency in July and I think he is going to use it… so what would it take to get him in Charlotte? — $50 million?

      As for trading for him if he opts in… that is something else. I don’t think the Kings would trade Rudy if he opts in.

  20. James

    Hello Steve,
    What was the bigger problem with the Knicks, Melo not committing verbally instead choosing to say,” im testing FA killing,” or the front office allowing the inmates to run the asylum?

    • Steve Kyler

      I think its was complacency — we won 50 games, so we’ll win 50 games. There is something that has to happen in between that. You have to work, you have to improve as players and you have to get stronger. Not sure that’s what happened in New York.

      I would counter your comments with this — when you give guys “unmovable contracts” where is the hidden motivation to keep improving. No one would take JR Smith or Tyson Chandler or Amar’e Stoudemire — because of what they were owed. They know it just like we know it. Where is the motivation to work beyond personal pride? I think they thought they were good enough. I think that was the problem.

  21. Adam

    As a Magic fan I feel good about the talent base going into the off season, but I worry about Jaque Vaughn’s coaching. While we see development of players and good effort, the way he is giving out minutes is tank-tastic. Talk me out of my concern please.

    • Steve Kyler

      I wish I could. I think you see whats really going on… they are doling out minutes to make sure they have good game film on everyone. The Magic are not giving out minutes to try and win games.

      The Magic have tried on virtually every roster combination to see what works and what doesn’t, who plays well together and who doesn’t. All of that is about scouting who they have and showcasing who they don’t want. None of it has to do with winning games.

      So I think unfairly Jacque is judged on executing the plan as though he is trying to win games.

      There is a much bigger plan at play… next year will be when Jacque will have to win games, if not he may be out when his contract is up.

      Guys… I am out of time. Thanks for all the questions. Make sure you are following me on Twitter (@stevekylerNBA). See you all next week.