In the latest edition of "Three Questions With", NetsDaily talks to Star-Ledger beat writer and columnist Dave D'Alessandro, who has been covering the NBA for 20 years. He has been the Star-Ledger's NBA columnist since 1996 and covered the Knicks from 1996-2004. He was also the NBA columnist for the Sporting News from 1995-2000.
Dave's Nets coverage can be found here. His weekly NBA column can be found here. We're big fans of his blog and he also does an audio chat for nj.com every Thursday. Somehow, Dave found time to answer a few questions about the Nets and trade talks around the league.
1. Is it realistic to believe that this team as it stands can compete in a playoff series with the Pistons or Heat?
Miami? Sure. They already beat them twice, one time with Shaq, another time in a game that requires an asterisk (as in: *the officials really, really sucked); and before you say that regular season results have no bearing on a playoff series, I must ask you to stop using my tired cliches against me. Honest, I want to see more of the Heaties before we coronate them as title contenders, for three reasons. One, Shaq is in the lousiest shape of his career, which makes them just another nice team with a chunky agile guy in the middle sucking wind and missing two-footers. Two, Wade is still brilliant, but he seems a shade more careless and reckless to me, and not the poised, fourth-quarter leader/shot-maker he was a year ago. Three, they don’t shoot the 3 like they did a year ago, and you can’t forget the damage the Jones family did from the arc in last year’s matchup. . . .Wait, I thought of a fourth: Antoine Walker is still a miscast slug (as if he can play anywhere but Boston?), which means their bench is very thin, the two superannuated Hall of Famers notwithstanding. In short, I’m down on Miami. As for Detroit, they’d probably be competitive for three quarters, then look like overmatched amateurs in the fourth, because that’s generally how most Pistons games go. Nobody is in Detroit’s league right now, period.
2. You've debunked the McInnis to Memphis rumor already. Is there any market out there for him at all?
Actually, there wasn’t much to debunk – Memphis never called, never intended to call, and any minute now Steve Kauffman will ask permission to broker a deal with some team that could use a backup point making $3.4 million, which will require some lawyerly legerdemain. Here’s a possibility: Now that it’s clear that Fratello has his heart set on a reunion with Brevin Knight, the Bobs would need a veteran point to back up young Mr. Felton – why not a Charlotte native?
3. Is the Ron Artest situation holding up trade activity across the league?
Yah, that will loosen things up, methinks. As of now, teams are still low-balling the Pacers like crazy, and once somebody pulls the trigger on a fair exchange, everybody else will respond in their own mindless, frantic, overwrought ways. I think Prince Knucklehead will end up in Denver or LA(C), but I still say he belongs in Philly.