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 (3:01 PM)
Thanks for joining me for another edition of our weekly NBA chat. Let's get right to the questions.
Ben (Beckley,West Va.)
Hey Michael! With the news that Nash & Blake starting vs. Minny tonight how do you see the PT of meeks/Marshall being affected? Either take a major hit for ROS?
Michael Wallace (3:02 PM)
If that proves to be the case, I can't imagine either Nash or Blake playing heavy minutes so soon in their return. But the thing about Mike D'Antoni is that he's prudent about playing a short rotation. So something will have to give as the Lakers try to work those two veterans into the mix.
Are the Heat looking to make a change at Center with Bynum going to Indiana?
Michael Wallace (3:04 PM)
The only change coach Erik Spoelstra has mentioned since the Bynum acquisition in Indiana is trying to find a way to reduce Chris Andersen's minutes right now in order to preserve him a bit for the stretch run and the playoffs. To do that would likely require giving Greg Oden a few more minutes each night. So, from the Heat's standpoint, it's a win-win situation as long as everyone stays healthy.
Are the Raptors legit competitors or just an average team playing in the East?
Michael Wallace (3:10 PM)
They've made a believer out of me in terms of believing they are contenders for a first-round playoff victory. Of course, that's easier to do in the East. But still ... this is no longer a fluke. The Raptors are in the East what the Suns are in the West. In a way.
Even though Jason Kidd got Coach of the Month, do you think he's a worthy coach in the NBA? You have assistant coaches like Patrick Ewing and a couple years back Brian Shaw who have tried numerous times to be a coach but fell short... and then all of a sudden, Jason Kidd goes in right after retirement... what's your thoughts?
Michael Wallace (3:13 PM)
That's the way the system works. It's just much about who you know and where your are as it is about what you know and how well you perform. I've known several assistants who were worthy of head coaching jobs that never got them, or got them well after they probably should have landed those jobs. But Kidd was one of the best basketball minds as a player, and he's learning on the job what it takes to be a coach. Not many get that sort of fast-track opportunity. He's making the best of a difficult and challenging situation. We'll see how the season turns out.
Which name do you prefer to go by: M-Dub Swag, Magic Mike or M-Wall?
Michael Wallace (3:15 PM)
I prefer Junior Madiba, in honor of the late legend Nelson Mandela. Short of that, just call me 'The Dude Who Chats NBA Stuff Every Tuesday'
Isiah Thomas (Sacramento)
Michael do you think the Sacramento Kings will make anymore roster moves before trade deadline? If so who do you think would be a great fit to help out kings?
Michael Wallace (3:19 PM)
The Kings could obviously use some more front-court depth. They need a better perimeter shooting power forward to play alongside DeMarcus Cousins. And there's basically no depth at point guard there, so there are several potential needs that must be addressed. The question is what assets - or current players - are worthy shipping out in order to land the type of upgrade needed. You have to figure Cousins and Rudy Gay are keepers, for now at least.
Michael, Are you hearing anything about the Pistons making a move and for who? Monroe or Josh Smith....
Michael Wallace (3:23 PM)
Monroe is the far more likely trade chip because he's younger, bigger, a better player and would come a bit cheaper over the courser of a new deal. The trade talk is largely generated by soureces outside of Detroit. There's a feeling within the Pistons that they are just as likely to hold onto Monroe and try to play this thing out, in hopes that Mo Cheeks can get this bunch to perform to expectations. Lost in all of this is that the Pistons are the fourth-youngest team in the league. Yet, they're also in playoff-or-bust mode for GM Joe Dumars after so many years of struggles.
I know it was bad, but I think Jo-Noah should get a big fine rather than a suspension. Your take?
Michael Wallace (3:26 PM)
It was sad, but funny. Sadly funning. It reminded me of the barbershop scene from the movie, 'Coming To America' when the Eddie Murphy barber character shouted amid their heated debate, "(bleep) you, (bleep) you and (bleep) you" before turning to the customers and saying, "Who's next?"
Michael, do you believe the Bucks will try to make some trades to perhaps gain more picks in the draft?
Michael Wallace (3:29 PM)
Might as well. They're going nowhere with a disgruntled team of veterans. If you're going to be bad, at least be bad and young. I'd keep Knight, Mayo and Henson and see what I can get for everyone else.
Leo (Phoenix Arizona )
Do you like the trade of Pau Gasol to Phoenix and exchange for Emeka Okafors expiring contract
Michael Wallace (3:32 PM)
I would think the Suns would have to fork over something to sweeten the deal a bit, considering Okafor's contract will come off the books just like Pau's will at the end of the season. Basically, the Lakers would be doing the Suns a courtesy, although there are concerns again about Pau's health heading down the stretch.
I am not a huge Melo fan but I have been coming around to the idea that at this point in his career Thibs and Bulls culture could really be good for him. I also think the Bulls have some of the best low usage players in the league, in Butler, Noah and Taj who would fit well with Melo. I don?t think Melo leaves $30million on the table, so I think the only realistic way this happens is via trade. As good as Melo is however, I think an offer of Boozer, Mirotic, and some few first round draft picks is as much as the Bulls should offer (and maybe someone like Dunleavy to get the $ to work). If they Knicks expect to lose him at the end of the year, I think this is a fairly good return. My question to you is would you still do the trade if the Knicks require the addition of Taj or Noah in the trade? I definitely would NOT, what do you say?
Michael Wallace (3:38 PM)
I'm not a big believer in this Melo-to-Chicago trade talk. I just can't see how they'll get it to work, especially with Melo not being the sort of guy willing to leave all that money on the table. My guess is that the Knicks will hold onto Melo until the very end and basically dare him to walk away from the extra money. If he goes, then New York is a step closer to the complete overhaul they need anyway. But that's just me.
Another Michael (Richmond )
The MAVS are barely surviving, does Cuban make a trade for a big man like Sanders or Monroe?
Michael Wallace (3:42 PM)
And give up exactly what in return? Cuban loves free-agency flexibility enough to avoid locking himself into anyone with a long-term deal that he doesn't really, really covet. Beyond that, the reality is that a lot of teams want to make trades. But not many of them have the kind of assets it takes to get what they seek in return. I view the Mavericks as a dangerous, darkhorse team out West if they stay healthy. I'm not sure you want to play a team with that much experience that can spread you out as well as Dallas can. But yes indeed, they are on their last collective legs.
Michael, as a Wolves fan, are they on borrowed time with Kevin Love? I can't help but feel like he's going to bolt for LA as soon as he can. Will Flip be able to undo all the damage that Kahn did?
Michael Wallace (3:44 PM)
I get the sense Love is biding his time as well. It's a tough sell getting the kind of upgraded supporting cast he needs in Minnesota. They haven't drafted particularly well the past couple of seasons, and free agency is always a tough sell for them. I'm with you. Enjoy all the Love you can while you can.
EJ (Warner Robbins,Ga.)
Michael any news out on how the Clippers plan to use c.Paul until the playoffs begin? Appreciate it!
Michael Wallace (3:47 PM)
I think there will be initial restrictions on his minutes and how he plays when he first comes back. But you can't hold a player like that back for long. He's such an instictive player. What has been impressive is how well the Clippers have held up without Paul. It should give their fans hope that they can rely on Blake in the clutch down the stretch and that DeAndre is going to be the kind of defensive force at the rim that Doc Rivers has been hoping for since the season started.
Ruskin (Detroit Lakes)
Do you think Lowry stays in Toronto? Any teams out there who would make a good enough offer for Ujiri to make the deal?
Michael Wallace (3:50 PM)
I think the Raptors' brass have already done enough house cleaning to show that they are committed to building this team their way. By dealing Lowry now, you're sending a strange message to the fans who actually have an exciting, hard-working team to root for right now. They're also in good shape financially. I see the Raptors riding this out and then making a decision to either bring Lowry back or look elsewhere once he hits free agency. But they're on course now to make the playoffs for the first time since the season before Chris Bosh bolted to Miami.
Michael, I think with D Wade being in and out of the line up for presevation; the biggest problem for the Heat has been the lack of another athletic wing defender to take the pressure off of Lebron. Are the Heat looking for another more athletic wing defender? If so who are some potential targets?
Michael Wallace (3:53 PM)
Miami certainly doesn't have a shortage of wing players, but it's kind of strange how none of them are really wing defenders. Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis. Michael Beasley. James Jones. Roger Mason Jr. They're all shooting specialists. That puts a lot of pressure on a guy like Shane Battier to come up with a few more defensive performances like the one he applied on Carmelo Anthony in New York last week.
Thoughts on Terrance Ross? Roll player or Solid young piece?
Michael Wallace (3:54 PM)
Jason (Marquette, MI)
Do you see the Celtics making any moves? Trading Green, Bass, Bradley or Humphries?
Michael Wallace (3:55 PM)
Yes. I can't see the Celtics holding onto all of those veterans on a team that doesn't appear to be on the verge of making much noise in the weakened East. I expect a firesale soon in Boston, one way or another.
Michael Wallace (3:57 PM)
Not buying that logic. Last time I checked, Dirk is in Dallas surrounded by more brothers than Robin Thicke or Justin Bieber.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Will you please address the racism involved in black stars not wanting to go to Dallas to play with a white superstar that 1) carried his team to a title, 2) has an owner that will do whatever it takes to make players feel comfortable and build a winner, and 3) has a top 5 coach?
Michael Wallace (3:58 PM)
Not buying that logic. Last time I checked, Dirk is in Dallas surrounded by more brothers than Robin Thicke or Justin Bieber
Hi Michael, I want to talk about the Blazers. Sometimes it feels like they are the best team in the NBA and then they lose to teams like Washington, Philly, Sacramento to name a few. What's your Blazers take ?
Michael Wallace (3:59 PM)
That they're good enough to have something in common with the Heat, Thunder and a few other top teams that have struggled against Sacramento, lost to Washington and may have had a bad night in Philly.
Michael Wallace (4:00 PM)
Well, that's my time for the week. Thanks for your questions, as usual. And I look forward to chatting with you again this same time next week. Until then, take care and peace - MW