Time for the mail Is the rumor of Monta Ellis to Chicago for JoakimNoah legitimate? Martin, San Jose.Steinmetz: Well, as far as rumors go, I guess itslegitimate because its out there and people are talking about it. But I cantimagine a scenario in which the Bulls would do this.Why would they?Chicago is 18-5 and has the best record in the EasternConference. Noah is their defensive anchor as well as the teams best rebounder not to mention their best-post defender.Its highly unlikely that the best team in the East wouldgive up their most important big men for Ellis, a combo guard who shoots a lowpercentage. Quite frankly, Im not sure the Warriors could get Noah even ifthey made every player on their roster available. Hes very good and a hugepart of what the Bulls are all about.Any chance the Warriors go after Chris Kaman? Hesdoing nothing for New Orleans. CallMeKO, Oakland, Calif.Steinmetz: I think if the Warriors were of a mindto significantly reshape their team, then Kaman would afford them anopportunity to do it. Make no mistake, it wouldnt be to acquire Kaman to bethe teams center. It would be to change the make-up of their team, perhapsacquire a first-round draft pick and to have cap space going forward.A week or so ago I suggested the Warriors look into tradingMonta Ellis for Kaman and a first-round pick (likely Minnesotas, which theHornets own). However, the Hornets are said to want to go in the otherdirection as far as draft picks go. In other words, they want anotherfirst-round pick to make three and would rather not give one of theirsup.That makes sense, but if nothing appealing comes to theHornets, then perhaps theyd have to change their thinking with regard to that.The Hornets do have shooting guard Eric Gordon, but there istalk he will be pursued heavily by the Indiana Pacers in the offseason. So ifthe Hornets think they might lose Gordon, then Ellis would be a worthwhileacquisition.Honest opinion, what do you think if Klay Thompson?Marvin, Antioch, Calif.Steinmetz: I like him much better than I did atthe start of the season, thats for sure. Thompson struggled early and now hasseemed to gain some confidence.It sure looks like hes going to be a heck of a shooter, butthe question is whether hes got enough skills in other areas to be a startingcaliber two guard.Defensively, Thompson has struggled but thats to beexpected. A big question regarding Thompson will be whether or not he candiversify his game enough and become a threat at doing other things than justshooting 3-pointers.Nearly half of Thompsons attempts this season have beenfrom beyond the arc. And if he wants to be a starter in the NBA, hes going tohave to do other things at the offensive end.Regarding the Jerry West hire will that pay offsoon or was that an overhyped PR hire? StraightG, South Bay.Steinmetz: Well, I dont think theres any doubtWest is doing a lot less personnel-wise than the Warriors led on when he washired. Hes been up here in the Bay Area a few times since the season began,but hes mostly stayed in Southern California.West is in the loop, but hes not involved in the day-to-dayand hes certainly not making any phone calls. Heres the bottom line: Westsaid upon his hiring that hes a risk-taker and someone willing to make boldmoves.But have there been any since Joe Lacob bought the team orsince West took over? Not really. To me, thats indication enough that hes notas involved as some said he would be.Does Andris Biedrins have any trade value? Did hebefore the season started? Dante, Parts Unknown.Steinmetz: Biedrins has a little trade value andthe reason I say that is because hes a center who at least has shown theability to rebound. That alone makes him a player that certain teams wouldwant. Mostly talking elite teams here.Take a look at the Dallas Mavericks last year. They hadTyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi. Look at the Oklahoma CityThunder. They have Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed, Cole Aldrich, Nick Collisonand Serge Ibaka.My point is that the best teams in the league could alwaysuse size. Now, you wont be able to get much for Biedrins and his contract (9million this season and two more seasons after this) will make it a challenge.But I actually believe someone like Biedrins might be easierto trade than, say, David Lee, because Biedrins contract is shorter and Leescontract is so cumbersome.
When it rains, it pours for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After starting the season 24-9, they have cratered. Including two losses to the Warriors and one to the Kings, the Cavs are 3-8 over their last 11 games.
During the stretch, they suffered through a four-game losing streak and nearly blew a 23-point lead against the Magic on Thursday.
But nothing was worse than what happened in front of a national TV audience on Saturday. The visiting Oklahoma City Thunder strolled into Quicken Loans Arena and hung 148 points on the defending Eastern Conference champs and won by 24 points.
Saturday's performance was so bad, former Cavs head coach David Blatt took a shot at them before coaching the Team Europe in the Turkish Basketball Super League All-Star Game in Instabul.
Asked by a sideline reporter for his thoughts on the game he was about to coach, Blatt offered this:
"Well, I don't think we're going to have any problem scoring. I'm just wondering if we're going to defend anybody. That's what I'm worried about," Blatt said.
The reporter followed up by asking for his expectation of the final score. That's when Blatt threw a haymaker at the team that fired him during the 2015-16 season despite a 30-11 record.
"Well, I hope we don't give up as many points as the Cavaliers did last night," Blatt said.
Unfortunately for Blatt, Team Europe lost 151-142 to Team Asia.
The Rockets are riding high after their 116-108 win over the Warriors on Saturday night.
Maybe a little too high.
After the game, starting center Clint Capela had some bold things to say about the rivalry.
"We're confident because we know if we're doing what we're supposed to do, we're going to beat them. We've got to keep playing. We know that they're going to come back if we have the lead, and we've just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we're doing what we're supposed to do on defense -- all the switches, the weak side -- and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them. We are better than them," Capela told ESPN after the game in Houston.
The young big man doubled down.
"We're definitely the best in the league with everybody healthy. We've definitely got a chance to get that 1-seed back. The thing is, of course, we're excited because it's the Warriors, but Monday is an important game, too. If we lose and the [Warriors] win their game, what was the point? The next game, every single time, is going to be the key to go get the No. 1, first seed," Capela told ESPN.
Guard Eric Gordon didn't go as far, but still compared the Rockets favorably to the Warriors.
"Offensively, we're just as good as them, no question. Defensively, they're a championship team. They're consistent, whether they win or lose. Us, we still have peaks and valleys. We just can't have those. That's why we've got to play well the next game, because we just have to sustain the same effort," Gordon said via ESPN.
The Rockets won the season-series with the Warriors by taking two out of the three meetings. They now trail the Warriors by 3.5 games in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.
But are they really better than the defending NBA champs? Are the Warriors worried at all about the Rockets?
"The season starts over when you're in the playoffs anyway, so it doesn't matter. You're going to have to get through these teams to get to where you want to go. You have to play at home and on the road, so it really doesn't matter. We just want to be playing good basketball when it comes down to that point," Warriors forward Kevin Durant told ESPN after the game.
Draymond Green really didn't want to hear about home-court advantage.
"It's game 40-what? Seven, eight? Who we play on Tuesday? We just got to get ready for [New York]. Home court will take care of itself down the road," told reporters after the game.
With no more meetings during the regular season, the next time the two teams could meet, assuming they finish with the top two seeds, is in the Western Conference Finals. So we'll have to wait until May to see if the Rockets can back up the tough talk.