Chat with Michael Wallace
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, NBA reporter Michael Wallace stops by to chat about the latest news from around the league.
In addition to writing about the NBA, Wallace is also a frequent contributor to the "Heat Index" and the TrueHoop Network. Prior to working for ESPN, Wallace spent more than a decade covering the ACC, SEC, NFL and the NBA for other publications.
Send your questions now and join Wallace Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (3:34 PM)
Thanks for joining me for today's chat. Sorry we're off to a late start. Was tied up trying to get a read on LeBron James' ankle injury, and how it might impact his play for Wednesday's showdown with the Indiana Pacers. But I'm in tow now, and set to go. So let's get right to your questions. I'll take them through 4:30, to give us the full hour as usual.
are the heat a contender without lebron james? is he the glue to the star studded team?
Michael Wallace (3:36 PM)
In the East this season? Yes. It doesn't take much, as you've seen, to be a contender in the East. But a realistic threat to win a title? No. James is the man that makes this franchise go. That's no secret. But Miami would still be a strong playoff team in the East without him. Although, that's not something they'd prefer to think about anytime soon.
What do you think of the Blazers? Are they actually good this year, and did anyone predict them to have the leages best record at this point?
Michael Wallace (3:39 PM)
I'd like to meet the person who did predict the Blazers would be this good at this point. I don't think he or she exists, though. What we're seeing is a talented, well-built team that got much deeper and better this season. I like the additions of Mo Williams and Robin Lopez at the center spot. Add that to the continued progress of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge playing like he knows and accepts this is his team. Will Portland be able to sustain the NBA's best record? I'm not sure. But they will be a major factor out West this season, sort of the way the Grizzlies were a year ago.
Kevin (San Francisco)
Please tell me the Dubs will be making a move to get a good backup PG, as well as a PF...Any thoughts on them moving Lee???
Michael Wallace (3:41 PM)
They let a pretty good one get away last season in J. Jack. But that's also where a bit of perspective must come into play. The Warriors wouldn't look so bad right now in the standings if they were in the East. Injuries have knocked them off track so far this season, and they have to get healthy. But they are a team that will be active on the trade front if things don't start to click soon. Their struggles have been just about as surprising as the Blazers' success.
Anthony (Memphis, Tn)
With all that is going on, do you think the Grizzlies can right the ship or do they need a coaching change?
Michael Wallace (3:44 PM)
This is what happens when you tinker with relative success. They traded their leading scorer, fired their most successful coach and played the "efficiency" and "cost-saving" game of basketball. And now injuries have set in. I'm not sure there was much broken with the Grizzlies before the new ownership group came in. But they were intent on doing things a certain way, and here we are. It's a ball of confusion and frustration right now. Let's see how they move forward, becuase they have some interesting decisions to make in the coming months.
What is one trade that you think could put a contending team over the top ??
Michael Wallace (3:49 PM)
I think Orlando has two assets that could help any contending team, with Jameer Nelson (perhaps Warriors, Lakers or Bulls) and Arron Afflalo (perhaps Knicks, Hawks, OKC) capable of supplying a major boost to a team in need of upgrades.
I know this is not going to be a popular opinion, but I dont think the Pacer have enough offense to win a championship. Obviously their defense is great and will keep them in games. The teams contenders in the west are all top notch offensive teams, and Miami is 2nd in offensive efficiency and 6th in defensive efficiency. Could the Pacers 14th ranked offense be their big weakness?
Michael Wallace (3:50 PM)
And therein lies the question of just how much Danny Granger might be able to provide when he returns to the lineup. The one thing Indiana lacks is a perimeter shooter who can also get his own shot on the move. We'll see if Granger can answer that call.
Asia DuBose (Frankfort, Kentucky)
Do you think that LeBron James will play Wednesday vs. the Pacers?
Michael Wallace (3:53 PM)
I think he will. I'm not sure if he should. At some point, even LeBron wears down. He's been playing through a lot of other nagging injuries before aggravating the ankle Monday. But I believe James will do what he always does - suit up and play.
What's happening up north ? Trading Rudy gay assured they were tanking but 3-1 since that trade and in 8th
Michael Wallace (3:55 PM)
The East is that forgiving. There's a 3-1 stretch right around the corner for just about anyone on that side of the conference. Let's see what happens when Lowry and a few other productive guys get dealt.
Who ends up with more titles? Paul george or kevin durant ?
Michael Wallace (3:59 PM)
Depends on where LeBron James spends the next four or five years.
Who do you think gets traded first, Rajon Rondo or Pau Gasol?
Michael Wallace (4:02 PM)
Pau Gasol. Seems easier to move his contract. He's older and would fit easier with a contender in a win-now mode. If you trade for Rondo, you're expecting him to be the face of the franchise - or at least one of them.
mike b (houston )
Any predictions on what happens with Asik? I say to Atlanta for Millsap. What about Lin and some filler (Casspi, Motiejunas, Brewer...) for MKG and Sessions?
Michael Wallace (4:07 PM)
I'm not sure it'll be Atlanta. I think there will be a wildcard team or someone come out of left field. Perhaps a team like the Suns, who might try to make a run for it, or Charlotte.
Since D. Williams came back, does it appear that J. Kidd's seat is cooling off?
Michael Wallace (4:09 PM)
Not too much. The Nets always seem like they're a loss away from disaster again. But it helps when your elite-level point guard can return and direct traffic a bit. I've said it from the start. The Nets aren't as much about the Garnett and Pierce as they are about the development of Lopez and the health of Williams. Those two players are the real barometers for the team.
Ryan (The D)
Pistons future is looking bright, but how much will it cost to keep Monroe at the end of the year? Should they trade him now?
Michael Wallace (4:12 PM)
At some point, they're going to have to balance out that frontcourt. Monroe is the ultimate trade chip for that team. He's young. He's big. He's talented. But they're more dynamic when Josh Smith plays power forward instead of small forward. I'm not saying it can't work as is. I like that team, and believe they will be a matchup problem for many teams in the East. It's not coincidence the Pistons are one of only two teams to beat both the Pacers and Heat this season.
Im hearing rumblings of P. Gasol being an the trading block. If he is traded, what kind of value would the lakers need to get back in order to be a stronger contender than they are now?
Michael Wallace (4:16 PM)
Start with a point guard and/or a D'Antoni friendly big man. Wouldn't hurt to get a draft pick. Despite what the Lakers did to commit to Kobe the next two seasons, they need to replenish the roster with youth at some point.
Wow! To a kings fan, your description of the Memphis owners automatically made me think the Maloofs bought the team.
Michael Wallace (4:18 PM)
That's actually funny. Thanks for sharing.
I have heard there is a beef with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters and the Cavs are looking to deal Waiters. What teams to you see as a good fit for Waiters and would actually trade for him?
Michael Wallace (4:28 PM)
It seemed like their beef calmed down a bit. At least they showed some chemistry on the court in recent weeks when they had a winning stretch. Waiters is a special talent who can score at will. He reminds me of a bigger version of Monta Ellis. I think they're capable of being a dangerous team if they can stay healthy. And they're doing all of this without the No. 1 overall draft pick contributing much of anything.
Michael Wallace (4:30 PM)
Well, that's my time for the week. Thanks for hanging out with me. Looking forward to getting back with you next week. Until then, peace - MW