Chat with Ric Bucher
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN NBA reporter Ric Bucher stops by to give you his thoughts on the latest news from the court.
Bucher joined ESPN in January 1999 as a San Francisco-based senior writer covering professional basketball for ESPN The Magazine, and as an NBA reporter for SportsCenter and NBA Fastbreak. Bucher also contributes to ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Bucher Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Ric Bucher (1:04 PM)
A tad late; distracted poring over your filed questions. Let's not waste anytime since I have SportsNation, Russillo's radio show, OTL and shows yet to be named to go work this afternoon. Here we go...
why would the celts do this?
Buch, help me out. Ainge's trade of Perk to OKC is a risk to their title run this year. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being too risky with little benefit and 10 being low risk with high reward, where does this trade fall?
What the heck are the Celtics thinking?
Steve (Shadow of the Tetons)
Which is closest to the truth--A. Danny Ainge is a forward thinker. B. Danny Ainge has no soul. C. The Lakers are now a lock to tie the Celtics for most championships.
Ric Bucher (1:10 PM)
D. Ainge is a Maverick and E. He has an owner who doesn't have deep pockets. This is a gamble, no question, but that's exactly what prompted Ainge to put the Big Three together. He said we'll see the method in his madness a week or so from now. I've been told Troy Murphy is headed their way and I could see Leon Powe winding up back there, too, after buyouts. That would explain why he opened roster spots. That would be the method. Is it still mad? We're going to find out.
Are you as puzzled as some of us Mavs' fans that they decided to stay pat at the trade deadline? Can a team contend without a real -- 6'4" or over -- scoring wing?
Last weekend, I kept hearing about how Dallas is the deepest team in the league and might catch the Spurs. They don't make a deal at the deadline, and now they're the fourth best team in the conference. Does this make any sense at all?
Ric Bucher (1:13 PM)
There's deep and then there's deep and versatile. I see the Mavs not making a move if it was going to cost them Beaubois as similar to what the Celtics did -- both have very old, expensive teams and want to make sure they have a bridge of talent to their future. I don't fault the Mavs for not making a deal because if they couldn't get Stephen Jackson, then there wasn't anybody else who could come in and make a difference this season. They couldn't get Tayshaun Prince without taking Rip Hamilton as well. But that doesn't change the fact that they needed to replace Caron Butler to consider themselves a title contender.
Sean M. (Detroit)
Is uncertain ownership the only reason the pistons didn't make a deal? Or is Joe Dumars content to go 30-52 and draft 7th every year?
Ric Bucher (1:15 PM)
Joe couldn't make a deal that would take on money because the team is being sold; any other deal might change the terms of the sale. His best trading chip was Tayshaun, but he has an expiring contract, so the only way he'd move him was if someone took Rip or one of their other fat contracts as well. Nobody, from what I know, was willing to do that.
Give us the scoop, Ric: Exactly how and why did the Pacers/Grizzlies/Hornets trade fall through? Also, it sounds like it was Rush and Solo going to N.O., but who was coming FROM N.O.? How big of a set-back was this for all teams involved?
Ric Bucher (1:20 PM)
As I understand it, Brandon Rush was supposed to go to NO. NO wasn't putting anybody in the deal, if I have it correctly, they were merely offering cap room for Indy. I believe the problem arose because NO is league-owned and Mark Cuban already was upset that a team he owns 1/30th spent money to make the Carl Landry deal without his approval. I don't have the numbers in front of me, so I can't check on NO's cap situation, but as I understand it they were not putting anything into the deal. When the deal came into the league office, the league balked at NO being involved and it was too late to go back an construct the deal as straight between Memphis and Indy. But, as I understand it, it was the Pacers who wanted NO to be part of the deal and initially passed on the two-team deal.
Ric Bucher (1:21 PM)
By the way, that isn't rain in New England right now, those are tears. Let's go rapid-fire for the next 10 minutes since I've been longwinded on these initial questions.
THE dumbest trade in your opinion?
Ric Bucher (1:22 PM)
Semih Erden and Harangody to Cleveland for a future second-round pick.
Asik with 11 boards in 20 minutes. Good move by bulls keeping him?
Ric Bucher (1:22 PM)
Absolutely. Bulls have best big-man rotation in the Eastern Conference now with Asik, Boozer, Noah and Taj.
Mike (Sioux Falls)
How do you feel about the heat after the loss to the bulls?
Ric Bucher (1:24 PM)
Same as I did before the game: Rose is MVP, Heat are in trouble against any team that keeps them from scoring in transition and forces them to execute with the game on the line.
What is the best and most realistic trade package that would also get Dwight Howard to re-sign with that team? Dont see Orlando wanting Bynum with that contract, his knees, and also the fact that it would just rub them the wrong way to gift Dwight to LA
Ric Bucher (1:26 PM)
Beggars can't be choosers. Denver, Toronto and Cleveland all would've preferred to make different deals, too. You make the best of a tough situation. Would you feel better if the Lakers gave you Gasol? I think Dwight has the athleticism to play 4.
Hey Ric love your chats!!! I wanna talk about the trade that almost happen with my Pacers. Who dropped the ball on that one??? And who wouldve got the better of it if it wouldve went through??
Ric Bucher (1:27 PM)
Pacers, for sure. That's why it hurts that they didn't get it done.
C.J. (San Diego)
Who are the buyout players?
Ric Bucher (1:28 PM)
Troy Murphy and Leon Powe are the only ones I know of right now, but I haven't had a chance to fully research. Rip, Bibby -- no.
I think the thunder should not have given away Jeff Green!
Ric Bucher (1:29 PM)
Garcon, table for one.
Do Wall's comments about his teammates confirm my fears that there's a 95%+ chance he's gone after his rookie contract?
Ric Bucher (1:29 PM)
That's a long way away and we'll have a new CBA that might make it impossible for him to bail. Rest easy.
Hey Ric do you believe the rhetoric that we're headed to a 3-star per team top-heavy NBA is exaggerated especially given the new CBA is likely to derail stars joining up?
Ric Bucher (1:32 PM)
I'm with you. Teams are going to have to develop at least one star, if not two, to create a trio. Especially those that are already paying their stars at today's prices.
Any chance the Spurs become a surprise suitor for Troy Murphy?
Ric Bucher (1:33 PM)
Can't see it. Minutes just aren't there. They don't even use Tiago Splitter right now and I'm told he could see more time in postseason. I know they're different players, but the truth is, Duncan is now your "stretch" big and you need a big who operates closer to the basket. That's why Blair has been so effective.
Ric Bucher (1:34 PM)
By the way, rapid-fire ended about three minutes ago, in case you couldn't tell. But I still hope to hold my answers to three sentences or less.
Bulls GM Gar Forman mentioned wanting to be able to make a bigger splash this offseason rather that something small now- any ideas as to what his best possible scenario is? Or possible midseason buyouts to help for this yr's stretch run?
Ric Bucher (1:37 PM)
Bulls are primed for the future because they'll have cap room and picks. Gar also is counting on the possibility of a hard cap either forcing teams to jettison high-paid quality players or another amnesty clause putting some on the market. Imagine, for example, the Bulls could pick up Jason Richardson and Shannon Brown without giving up a thing. How nicely would they fit with what the Bulls already have? Those are two, just off-the-top-of-my-head examples. They will have options and Gar is smart to wait rather than give a piece away now for a minor upgrade.
Kristian (Los Angeles)
Why don't you do more TV? Really enjoyed watching you yesterday. You and Chris Broussard definitely the two best meant-for-TV NBA analysts on ESPN.
Ric Bucher (1:38 PM)
Mom, I asked you not to stay out of my chat room. But you will be seeing more of me over the next few months. For whatever reason.
I feel like Lacob & Guber have been all smoke and mirrors. I know they havent even been around for 50 games but that fact is this. There will be a lockout this summer. No free agency. How do they expect to get better now that the trade deadline has passed. Robert Rowell is still around K Smart and L Riley are in "lame duck status". This franchise overpaid for a PF that has very little inside presence. Their backcour is small with no ability to defend ANYONE! Lacob
Ric Bucher (1:43 PM)
Blip of time there -- just heard about Detroit boycott of shootaround. More on that later. For now, can't ignore my Warriors' peeps. Cisco, relax. The mess that the Warriors are wasn't created in a day and it won't be fixed just like that, either. Rowell is back on the business side, where he's been pretty successful. Larry Riley is working with limited resources. Fact is, Ekpe Udoh was a nice pick and the team is trying to play defense. Their chemistry is light years from where it was last season. Fact is, they're more relevant than they were in the last two years. I don't know if Lacob & Gruber will be good owners. I do know that sitting back and assessing what they have this season before making any monumental changes is the right thing to do.
Hey Ric,Will Baron Davis play for Cavs? or would he end like Eddy Curry?
Ric Bucher (1:46 PM)
Guten Tag, Onur. Wie geht's? (Flashing my first language there for you.) Baron talked to Byron Scott by phone yesterday and will fly to Cleveland on Saturday, I'm told. He has accepted that the Cavs are hoping he can put some lipstick on this pig of a season. Will he be committed to doing that? I'm willing to reserve judgement. I've long had a soft spot for Baron because when he is fit, healthy and believes in the people running the franchise, he's as good as any point guard in the league.
Ric Bucher (1:47 PM)
By the way, I'm told his issues in NO had a lot more to do with George Shinn than Byron. Byron simply took the brunt of Baron feeling he was deceived. Again, we'll see.
Ric, how do you put the Bulls as the 3rd best team in the East when they're 7-4 against the top 5 teams in the NBA while the Heat (whom you ranked 2nd) are 1-7 against those same 5 teams? The Bulls have the best rotation of bigs in the East now to go along with D-Rose and that tenacious defense.
Ric Bucher (1:49 PM)
It's no accident Bulls won on their home floor. The energy at home has a huge impact on such a young team. Miami, while maybe not as complete a team as Chicago and rather predictable, has more postseason experience and if they get Haslem back, that will impact matchups with Bulls.
With Rudy out and Battier in will Grizz make playoffs?
Ric Bucher (1:50 PM)
Rudy should be back by April. I like the move for the Grizzlies and with Utah and Denver in danger of falling out of the playoffs, I like Memphis' chances.
Feb 28th in Sacramento is the Here We Stay game gonna be loud and sold out!
Ric Bucher (1:52 PM)
I feel for Kings' fans, truly I do. But getting geeked up for one game right before the filing deadline to move is a year late and many dollars short. Pressuring city hall/civic leaders via votes or pushing for financing for a new arena the past few years actually might've saved your team.
Why is everyone dismissing Orlando? The big talk is all about the matchup of the 2 and 3 seeds in the second round of the East, but the 1 seed will probably need to beat the Magic. Dwight Howard still scares me.
Ric Bucher (1:54 PM)
It's a fair point. They're built for a slower pace, which is what you get in the playoffs. And they have a ton of experience. I just don't like their chemistry right now and I'm not sure if Hedo can still be their go-to crunchtime scorer.
why do you think the timberwolves got in this trade for melo
Ric Bucher (2:00 PM)
Because they get basically a free look at Anthony Randolph, who has crazy talent (but also may be plain crazy). Funniest part: TWolves went whole hog to promote Corey Brewer for Most Improved less than a year ago. Sent out a package of coffee beans, cups, sugar packets (that drew a regiment of ants to my garage since that's where the package sat while I was out of town). And then they couldn't wait to ship him out. Just goes to show: when a team/coach/GM praises a player, it's not always what he/they actually think of that player.
max (ohio )
you named the celtics/cavs trade the dumbest trade why? i like it from a cavs perspective...
Ric Bucher (2:00 PM)
So do I. Didn't say it was mutually dumb.
What can we expect from the Blazers now?
Ric Bucher (2:01 PM)
Blazers have overachieved all year. I don't see them as a title contender, but they're the best of the rest.
Tom (West Loop)
Ric, when Jerry Sloan retired, everyone pointed at Deron Williams as the cause. Are you so surprised that the Jazz traded Williams so soon afterwards? Do you think Sloan would have quit had this trade happened sooner?
Ric Bucher (2:04 PM)
No. The fact is, trust had been lost between the GM, coach, owner and star player in Utah. Sloan, from what I've been told, left as much because of his relationship with O'Connor and Greg Miller as with Deron. Have to have those three on the same page. They weren't and now two legs of the stool are gone.
Imran Q (SO Cal)
with baron gone and the young nucleus of Blake and Gordon, do the clips have a real shot at D Will or CP3?
Ric Bucher (2:08 PM)
Certainly a better shot now than before. Hey, I have to run and make Ryen Russillo uncomfortable talking about his girlfriend being way too hot for him. Thanks for showing up. We'll do it again next week if I can squeeze it in at the MIT Sloan Conference. Later, for now...