Chat with Michael Wallace
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, NBA writer and blogger Michael Wallace stops by to chat about the latest news from around the league.
Send your questions now and join the chat Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:38 PM)
Hey everybody, Mike will be here to chat at 3 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (3:06 PM)
Welcome to this week's NBA chat. Ready to take your questions and comments as we get ready for the season's stretch run to the playoffs. There's a lot out there, so let's get right to it.
Any news on who bulls are looking to sign?
Michael Wallace (3:08 PM)
What I do know about the Bulls is that they're in a tough spot right now. Those comments from Reggie Rose, Derrick's older brother and manager, couldn't have come at a worse time than with games looming against Miami and Oklahoma City. The Bulls need shooters and another reliable big who can score on the block. They don't lack for hustle and toughness. But they are missing a piece or two in addition to Rose if they're serious about contending for an NBA title.
Do you think Lebron was impressed by his next team last night?
Michael Wallace (3:10 PM)
Those questions are going to continue to come regarding LeBron and his potential interest in returning to Cleveland. The more people I talk to - other than LeBron - seem to think there's a strong chance it could happen. But the more I see LeBron continue to improve his game and win championships in Miami, it grows more difficult for me to see him walk away from this situation. I still believe Miami is his best option and the place where he'll be for the next several years. But as was the case in 2010, we know anything can happen.
Are the Spurs the only team that has a chance in beating the Heat in the finals?
Michael Wallace (3:16 PM)
I've felt all along that San Antonio has the four or five intangibles it takes to give the Heat significant problems over the course of a seven-game series. They have an efficient point guard in Parker, a quality and effective big in Duncan, who can score and/or facilitate to pressure Miami's smallish interior defense. They have solid three-point shooters on the perimeter. They have depth to not only defend LeBron and Wade, but also to make them work on both ends of the court. And last but not least, they have arguably the best coaching mind in the game today. I can't think of another team that combines all those attributes as well as the Spurs. The postseason is all about matchups, and this would be the most difficult matchup for Miami.
R Lank [via mobile]
@With both players in thier prime and at their very best who's better Lebron or Kobe? Give me ur honest oppinion
Michael Wallace (3:19 PM)
It depends on how you prefer your dominance served. At the end of the day, LeBron's size and ability to defend four positions effectively (yes, you can put him on a center for a possession or three, but let's not get carried away there), gives him the edge on Kobe from an all-around perspective. But offensively, there's nothing one can do that the other can't. Let's put it this way, I'd be thrilled to have the second pick in a draft where those two are on the board.
Dave (New York)
If somehow the 91-93 Bulls played this year's Heat, who would win? Who would guard Jordan?
Michael Wallace (3:24 PM)
Great question. I'd give the Heat a better chance at beating the first Bulls 3-peat team than the second one. I think Rodman's dynamic rebounding and Pippen's advanced floor game made that second installment of the Bulls a bit more lethal on both ends of the court. I'm not saying the Heat would beat either one. I'm just saying their chances would be much better. The funny thing about this is Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said last week during All-Star Weekend that he'd love to have a time machine created so that his team could play those Bulls teams and end all of this debate.
If your starting a team do you choose Ross, Lilliard, Davis, Bledsoe or Henson?
Michael Wallace (3:25 PM)
Davis then Lillard.
NBA Fan (Indy)
Some have recently speculated that the Thunder would have been better this year if they had extended Harden instead of Westbrook. I have also read that many think the team would have been better if the Thunder would have pulled the trigger on a rumored deal that would have swapped Westbrook and Rondo. In your opinion, which line-up would be more successful in a finals series? 1) Rondo, Harden, Durant, Ibaka, and Perkins, or 2) Westbrook, Sefolosha/Martin, Durant, Ibaka, and Perkins?
Michael Wallace (3:30 PM)
I wish I had the answer there. I am in the camp that believes Harden was as bit a part of the Thunder reaching the Finals last season than anyone else on the roster, especially in the playoffs. To your question, as intrigued as I am about a Rondo/Harden backcourt, I'm not sure that would work because Rondo is only effective with the ball in his hands, which means it wouldn't be in Harden's hands as much. The Thunder can't truly be judged about the Harden trade until they reach the playoffs. If they fall short of the Finals, that opens them up for a lot of criticism.
Mark (Bronx, NY)
Hey, What do you think of this Lebron James to Cleveland story? What are the chances he actually opts out in 2014 and teams with Kyrie in Cleveland. Whats the likelihood of that happening?
Michael Wallace (3:33 PM)
Will LeBron think about it? I'm sure he will. But will he ultimately make that sort of move? I still have a hard time seeing that happen. What I do know is that this decision in 2014 will have several factors. And the most important one might not have anything to do with basketball. This will be a quality of life and family decision for LeBron as much as it will be about basketball. Trust me on that. Before, in 2010, it was motivated strictly by winning a championship. Next time around might be a bit more complicated on all ends.
Alan (South Florida) [via mobile]
Michael, why do people assume Lebron is leaving Miami after 2014?I know he'll opt out for a new contract, but the Heat will have cap space with Bosh opting out, amnestying Miller, and with others coming off the books (Anthony, Allen, and Haslem). They could add a younger all star with that space like Cousins.
Michael Wallace (3:36 PM)
Yes, one of the least mentioned aspects of this entire 2014 situation is that the Heat will have flexibility and could adjust on the fly if it came down to it. The priority is to keep LeBron, and I think Miami will first offer James a true max deal that differentiates his deal from the ones Wade and Bosh have, simply out of respect for what he's done. From there, as you point out, the Heat will have a couple of trade-friendly, expiring contracts to work with in addition to the amnesty clause to potentially help reduce any luxury tax burden. There are many options in play here. I'm not one who believes that keeping James, Wade and Bosh together is next to impossible for this team. Difficult and expense? Yes. But impossible? No way.
JPE (Buenos Aires)
Hi Michael! I have two questions for you!A-Do you think Minnesota should be going hard in this year draft? Picking perhaps Oladipo, Noel & Tim Hardaway Jr to strength their roster for the moment (and also for the future and have a great rotation)? The roster would be like this: Rubio-Oladipo-AK47-Love-Pek.Shved-Budinger-Bjelica-Dwill-Noel.Barea-Tim Hardaway Jr-Gelabale-Dante-Stiemsma. B-Or would it be enough with just drafting Oladipo
Michael Wallace (3:38 PM)
Another year, another draft to preview for the Wolves. Wouldn't it be so much better if they could instead find a way to stay healthy and finally become the playoff team they should be?
P.A. Witness (Philly)
Hey Mike-who would you favor right now in a Finals matchup between San Antonio and Miami? Spurs obviously would have home court advantage as of now with the better record so if Miami could steal one of the first 2 road games they'd be home for the middle 3 games just like last year.
Michael Wallace (3:40 PM)
I'd favor Miami over any other team in the league in a potential Finals matchup. But the Heat-Spurs, to me, is the ultimate toss-up. Folks don't give the Spurs enough credit, despite what they do year in and year out. That said, they can't continue to squander all of that regular season success by falling short of the Finals. Heat-Spurs would be the greatest matchup of styles the league can offer.
How many games would you give the Pacers in a 7 game series with the Heat?
Michael Wallace (3:41 PM)
I think it goes 7. The Pacers have closed the gap even more from last year's team that led the Heat 2-1 in the series before losing three straight. I don't see them getting completely over the hump just yet, but they will test and push the Heat harder than anyone in the East - by far.
Hey Michael. I know some rumors have Lebron going back to cleveland, but looking at it from strictly a BB perspective, is that really the best place for him to go? Cleveland has and should be really happy with irving, but would a dynamic pg really be in lebrons best interest as he is so good on the ball. wouldnt it be like nash and kobe, where nash really isnt playing his game this year?
Michael Wallace (3:45 PM)
The difference is that Kyrie is such a great shooter already and is capable of playing off the ball if needed. Another factor to consider is that LeBron won't need to handle as much in that scenario. But at the end of the day, there's not much to these rumors or speculation at this point. It's sort of crazy that this even has to be talked about so much right now. I don't even like to write about it. But this is the reality of the NBA. LeBron is doing just fine in Miami right now. That's all that really matters at this point.
Will (Miami, FL)
When are you guys going to change the HEAT index into the LEBRON index? I'm a Heat fan and I'm sick of seeing articles of just Lebron everyday!! D-Wade just surpassed a scoring milestone and he doesn't even get an article. I understand Lebron is having a great year and deserves the praise he gets but I know you guys gotta be tired of writing about him. It's blatant that you guys are trying your best to turn the Heat into the Miami Cavs smh
Michael Wallace (3:48 PM)
I appreciate your take, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion. Yes, the Heat Index has plenty to offer on the best player in the game. He's also the most newsworthy player in the game. And the most commented-upon player in the game. But I can also offer you extensive articles on Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen as well throughout our coverage of the Miami Heat and the league in general. Now is LeBron the clearly-defined front-man of the group? Absolutely. Do we ever get tired of writing about him? Absolutely not. He finds a way to do something different almost every game, every week.
If the Heat could choose two teams to automatically avoid in the playoffs, one from each conference, who would they pick?
Michael Wallace (3:49 PM)
Spurs and Pacers. But the Heat aren't built to feel they need to avoid anyone.
Michael Wallace (3:56 PM)
I know I'm leaving a few guys off, and this is in no particular order after the first two names. Rose and Rondo would be in there somewhere, but I left them out due to injuries. But these were the first 10 to come to my mind. LeBronDurantCP3KobeWadeDwightParkerDuncanP.GeorgeCarmelo
rank your top 10 players today in NBA. my list starts with Lebron (1),
Michael Wallace (3:56 PM)
I know I'm leaving a few guys off, and this is in no particular order after the first two names. Rose and Rondo would be in there somewhere, but I left them out due to injuries. But these were the first 10 to come to my mind. LeBron Durant CP3 Kobe Wade Dwight Parker Duncan P.George Carmelo
Omarvls1 (North Hollywood, CA)
Michael, unless LBJ is mentaly unstable I don't see how he goes back to Cleveland, I mean would you go back? You guys in the media are pushing this story so much it's pathetic. it would be like leaving your beach house to go back to a 1 bedroom apt in the city
Michael Wallace (3:57 PM)
Point taken. But it depends on what city we're talking about, and how much that city means to you and your family.
Felipe de Mello Martins (Tucson, AZ)
Dear Michael: in a recent poscast, Bill Simmons, Ric Bucher and Marc Stein all unanimously agreed that thre's no way Lebron will be in Miami come 2015. You addressed the rumors on your colums today. Can you tell me why I fail to see what's so obvious for these insiders? I can see the matter of being underpaid and the luxury taxes, but they have a very good thing going on in Miami now and for years to come.
Michael Wallace (3:59 PM)
Bottom line is that none of us know what's going to happen. It's sort of silly for anyone to say for certain at this point what LeBron is going to do. And that includes well-respected members of the media. I don't think any of us would be willing to wager our jobs on LeBron's decision. Well, at least I wouldn't.
Michael Wallace (4:01 PM)
That's my time for the week. Thanks for all of the questions and comments. We left plenty on the table, which means there's a lot of buzz on these chats as we work our way down the stretch run of the season. I look forward to joining you guys again next week. Until then, take care. Peace. MW