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 2 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (2:06 PM)
Welcome to this week's edition of our NBA chat. Lots going on in the NBA right now. I'll start with a question for you guys. Which is more impressive? DeAndre's dunk last night, Kobe's recent surge or the Heat's 18-game winning streak? Other than that, let's get right to your takes.
Dez (South Wallance)
How are you Mike? Lebron is about to have four MVPs, six in you include the finals Mvps and he is only 28 years old. lebron is top ten all time already right?
Michael Wallace (2:10 PM)
No question about that. He's probably got another 6 to 8 years to go in terms of being an elite player if he's healthy. But already, he's headed toward his fourth MVP award, already has one title and has been to the Finals three times at the age of 28. On top of that, he's the youngest to get to 20,000 points. He's a top-10 lock already. He'll only climb the ladder from here.
Kevin (Los Angeles)
Do you think Dwight's reception in Orlando will be worse than LBJ's in Cleveland? http://wp.me/p2g4xX-4W
Michael Wallace (2:13 PM)
There's no way that's even possible. The entire city of Cleveland was on alert for LeBron, and the Heat and NBA had to take extra security measures to make sure nothing absolutely insane would happen. Still, there were fights in the stands and the hatred spewed toward LeBron from the lower-bowl arena seats behind the Heat bench was as harsh as anything I've ever heard. I can't see Dwight getting that type of reaction from Orlando, although I do anticipate it will be emotional and loud. But there's too much sunshine and fun to be had in central Florida this time of the year. Plus it's Spring Break season. They'll take it relatively easy on Dwight.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
Derrick Williams has played consistently for the Wolves for a few weeks. What do you think about his future?
Michael Wallace (2:16 PM)
That it'll likely be played out elsewhere in the league. It's hard to see the direction the Wolves are going right now, at least from a bigger-picture perspective. They have some really promising pieces. I love Shved on the perimeter. He reminds me of a younger, smaller Toni Kukoc. Their bigs are solid and if Love/Rubio can ever stay healthy - which is a lot to ask, it seems - they could finally scratch the surface of their potential. I like Williams, but it doesn't seem Minnesota is quite sold on him yet for the long-term.
Mr. Wallace, i appreciate the Heat articles on ESPN.com & the constant updates on twitter, your writing is impeccable. That said, do you get any feelings towards what LeBron will do after the 2014 season where he could opt out? Do you think he'll continue his career with the Heat?
Michael Wallace (2:21 PM)
Thanks for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate that feedback. As far as what LeBron will do in 2014, I don't honestly have a strong feeling as of yet. I'm not even sure LeBron has thought much about it. So much can change between now and then. I do know this: He basically has to opt out, and the Heat must extend him the full maximum contract allowable because he deserves it, and it's time to distinguish his pay from many others. Miami - or no team for that matter - can pay LeBron what he's truly worth. But they need to get as close as the collective bargaining agreement allows. If this is a basketball-only decision, I think LeBron would stay in Miami and allow the franchise to reload around him down the line. But I get the sense that this is far more than strictly about basketball for LeBron and his family. He's getting married later this year, his kids are growing older and his family base is still in northeast Ohio. So we'll see how it plays out.
From what I saw this past week from the Celtics, I believe they are the biggest threat to the Heat. Beating Indiana and holding the Thunder to 91 points (if only shots were going in the could've actually won the game), showed me they are capable of playing with anyone. Thoughts?
Michael Wallace (2:23 PM)
The Celtics will be a team no one wants to face in the first round of the playoffs in the East. Denver is that same way - although for far different stylistic reasons - out West. That said, the Heat might not have to think about the Celtics until the second round, potentially, because Boston will have a chance to move up as high as the fourth or fifth seed if they continue to play the way they have lately. Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are built for the playoffs. Nothing else. And it's getting closer to that time of the year, so it comes as no surprise that they're playing better right now.
Ryan (The GM's office)
The Pistons have significant cap space and will need to rework their frontcourt rotation next year. Drummond and Monroe will be starters for the forseeable future so I would like to see Dumars target Brandan Wright and Dante Cunningham to come off the bench.
Michael Wallace (2:26 PM)
And exactly how much better does that make the Pistons? Brandon Knight, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are the future for that team. They need a shooter and a two-way wing slasher/defender to round out that group. Dumars has been suspect with some of his free agency decisions the past four or five years, although the Pistons have drafted really well during that time.
Jamie (Columbus, OH)
Now that the heat have evened the score with teams that have beaten them, what's the next biggest challenge they face? Would it be this road trip that is coming up? They play their next 9 out of 12 games away.
Michael Wallace (2:28 PM)
Winning consistently on the road is next on their agenda for the very reason you mentioned in your question. Miami had struggled on the road earlier this season, but now has one of the best road records in the league. I expect Tuesday's game against Atlanta to be tough, but also Friday's trip to Milwaukee and also a stop in Boston looms on their upcoming five-game road trip that starts Wednesday. Beyond that, this is all about remaining relatively healthy and fine-tuning for the playoffs.
Dhruv (New Jersey)
Mr. Wallace, I am a Brooklyn Nets fan, and was wondering what moves will hey need to make during the offseason, and what areas on the court do they need to improve on? Much appreciated thank you!
Michael Wallace (2:31 PM)
The Nets are pretty much locked into the core that they have right now. Yes, they could package together a group to offer the Lakers if Dwight is not inclined to stay in Los Angeles. But with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez all on the books for major money, what you see is what you get. Not much flexibility there, even for an aggressive owner with extremely deep pockets - unless you break up that core.
Ryan (Las Vegas)
Where would you rank Dwyane Wade all time, right now? When he's all said and done? Top 50? Top 25?
Michael Wallace (2:33 PM)
Top 25, for sure. And likely top 5 at his position.
what is your opnion on the pacers this season
Michael Wallace (2:37 PM)
That they're an extremely gritty team that keeps coming, but aren't dynamic enough offensively to trust on a night-to-night basis. Paul George has been great all season, but essentially disappeared on offense against the Heat on Sunday. And after a promising start, so did Roy Hibbert. If those two players are sub-par, the Pacers won't go far. Hibbert has to be dominant for this team to be conference-title worthy. He can't just be average. That's also the case with George. They just dont' have much of a margin for error offensively.
Memphis took a lot of flack for trading Rudy Gay this season. The team has now won 12 of the last 13 games they've played, losing only to Miami. What do you think about the Grizzlies down the stretch and in the post season?
Michael Wallace (2:40 PM)
Although this stretch has been impressive for the Grizzlies, they're still searching for a signature win or two since the trade. So far, the front-office can tell the league "I told you so" in terms of being able to continue on this current pace without a player they basically viewed as overrated and extremely overpaid.
DAJ's dunk was amazing but Vince's on whoever that 7 footer was in the Olympics was better, not as destructive as DAJ's but to jump over a 7' guy like it was nothing! But more impressive you can't pick 1 dunk or a handful of Kobe games to compare to the Heat dismantling the league and putting the league in their place.
Michael Wallace (2:42 PM)
Another dunk-of-the-ages I recall was Vince Carter's facial on Alonzo Mourning about seven years ago. Google it. You won't be disappointed. And I give VC a ton of credit because he did it on one of the best shot-blocking big men in NBA history.
In regards to your answer about Minny...you do know that Kevin Love will be in purple and gold next year, right? Minny will take Pau and cash/picks to keep Ricky happy. They know Kevin Love wants out anyway...
Michael Wallace (2:44 PM)
My belief is that Minnesota would ask for more than just Pau in that trade. You don't give up an All-Star power forward who is barely in his prime for an aging, injury-prone big man who is on his last legs int the league. A third team with a far more attractive selection of draft picks or assets will be required to make such a deal happen - if Minnesota is smart.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
Any possibility of the rumors of Lebron and Dwight playing with the Lakers in 2014?
Michael Wallace (2:45 PM)
What rumors? More like wishful thinking at this point.
So Wilbon said he thought that the only threat to Miami in the East were the Celtics (not that they would win a 7 game series)not the Pacers. What do you think, would Miami want to avoid Boston if they could?
Michael Wallace (2:48 PM)
The Heat aren't concerned about avoiding anyone. Boston can't beat Miami without Rondo. They haven't been able to beat the Heat with Rondo the past couple of seasons. But the biggest threats in the East would be Indiana and New York. Indiana has been able to slow Miami down and pound the Heat at times. The Knicks are dynamic enough offensively, when they're on their game, to keep up with the Heat and make things interesting when those 3s fall. But I don't see either team being strong enough or consistent enough to do it four times in a span of seven games under immense pressure.
Did you just say Dwayne Wade is a top 25 player of all time??
Michael Wallace (2:49 PM)
No, I wrote it. And it was based on when all is said and done, which means another four or five seasons, possibly.
mike when you heard about the steve nash to the lakers trade instead of him going to toronto what did you think?
Michael Wallace (2:50 PM)
That Nash better get used to life without having the ball constantly in his hands for the first time in a very, very long time.
The Jazz: they just fell out of the top eight in the west and it's hard to see them getting back in there. What do think they will/should do this offseason?
Michael Wallace (2:50 PM)
Get Jerry Sloan on the phone.
Sweet Lord how have I not seen that VC dunk before today!
Michael Wallace (2:51 PM)
Also don't forget Baron Davis over AK47 in the 2007 Western Semis. "Time out in Baron's house!"
Michael Wallace (2:53 PM)
Yes, that one was very nasty, too. And I'll raise you one by suggesting the Kevin Johnson over Hakeem Olajuwon in the playoffs back in the day.
Do you agree with Haberstroh's article about Norris Cole being a really unproductive player? You think he'll out of the rotation in the playoffs as the Heat go with more PG-less lineups? It's almost unfathomable that someone who plays as much with at least 1 or 2 members of the big 3 can be a minus +/- with such an awful PER.
Michael Wallace (2:55 PM)
Whatever the numbers say is what they say. Norris is a second-year backup point guard. The Heat's chances to win a championship don't really hinge on his limited minutes or role on the team. Having said that, he's shown the ability to be a solid, aggressive defender at times. But I suspect Wade, LeBron, Ray Allen and Chalmers will take on majority - if not all - of the PG minutes come playoff time, unless there's early foul trouble.
will toronto ever GET A CHAMPIONSHIP!!?
Michael Wallace (2:57 PM)
In baseball, hockey and CFL football perhaps. But no time soon in basketball.
Dan (Olathe, KS)
Do you think Danny Granger will ever be as good as he was the last 2-3 years again?
Michael Wallace (3:02 PM)
He's now 30 and coming off knee surgery, so there's a good chance he won't be the same All-Star caliber player he's been in the past couple of years. But the Pacers don't need him to be great, just very solid and efficient. This is Paul George's and David West's team now. If Granger can get healthy, there's no reason he can't be one of the more productive and vital third or fourth options in the league on any team.
Richard (Columbus, OH)
You say Lebron's base is NE Ohio... His kids are in school down in Miami, I believe one of them is doing very well in Travel Basketball... and if it was his base... wouldn't he go back home with his fiance whom is also from there for their wedding? They're getting married in San Diego... which seems random, but speak volumes to him ever returning to Cleveland. Maybe not??
Michael Wallace (3:03 PM)
As with anything LeBron does or says, you can look at it a number of ways. We'll see what it all means at the end of the day. Right now, what I do know is he's happy and playing the best basketball of his life in Miami. That's all he's focused on right now.
Michael Wallace (3:04 PM)
Well, that's my time folks. Thanks again for checking in and joining me for this week's chat. Let's do it again this same time next week. Until then, peace. -MW