Chat with Michael Wallace
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (2:04 PM)
Thanks for joining me for another NBA chat. Looking forward to another dose of great takes and questions. Let's get right to it.
William Lloyd [via mobile]
After this season, do you think Boston will sign Paul Pierce again so he can finish out his career with the team he started with? And if so, is this a good move for Danny Ainge to make?
Michael Wallace (2:06 PM)
Could I see Pierce having a swan song with the Celtics? Not at anything more than a veteran's mimimum in what would be the final season of his career. And that's a big maybe. The Celtics are going in a different direction right now, but there's no question that The Truth is still held in high regard in Boston. He's one of the top 5 Celtics of all time.
Alagie M (New York)
Hey Mike, I thought coach Mchale was in the hotseat if we had a first rd exit. Was the decision to keep him based on keeping players happy or are they expecting him to improve? And think Lionel Hollins would accept an assistant coaching job with us to replace Sampson?
Michael Wallace (2:07 PM)
That Houston team needed another year of continuity on all fronts. But next year is the make-or-break season for them in terms of taking the next step deep into the playoffs. There will be pressure to advance to at least the conference Finals. I think Hollins will land as a head coach again. He's one of the best out there waiting for a call. He'll get it this offseason.
Random Asian (Canada)
Could the playoff appearance for Toronto balloon into a similar situation with the Warriors team from a few years back to permanently energize a fanbase?
Michael Wallace (2:12 PM)
What Toronto did this season was nothing short of remarkable, considering the midseason shakeup and the turnover the Raptors went through in the front office. The major question now is what will they do with Lowry, who is a free agent? They've shown that they will be a playoff contender in the East for at least the next couple of seasons, with what they have in place right now.
So I was born in the early 90s and missed out on MJ's prime years as he became the greatest ever by most people's opinion. I selfishly root for LeBron to amass accolades to rival and surpass MJ so I can say that I witnessed the career, in its entirety, of the greatest player ever. So my question is, what does LeBron need to do in your eyes to become the greatest? Big question but I believe you have the resources and knowledge to put together a persuasive argument. Thanks!
Michael Wallace (2:13 PM)
Talent-wise, LeBron is already one of the top 3 players to ever perform in the NBA. What he needs now is some additional hardware, as in championsihps. I don't believe he has to catch Jordan at six titles, but he I do think he needs to get at least four. Throw in another MVP as well, and then the debate truly begins.
If Deron shows up, can the Nets beat the Heat (assuming the rest of the Nets show up like they have done sporadically)?
Michael Wallace (2:15 PM)
I've said it before, and have gone on record in our season prediction preview. The Nets are capable of beating the Heat. They have the size, length, shooting, potential point guard play and experience. But they also are relying on players who are either well past their primes or have been largely unreliable in big playoff moments. That is what makes this series so intriguing.
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
Are the Wizards on their way to the ECF? Or did the Pacers get back on track the enough past two games to take out the younger and less experienced Wizards?
Michael Wallace (2:22 PM)
That's shapes up as the most interesting series to me of the second round. I picked the Wizards in six. I think most people still don't know what they're looking at when they see Washington play. For instance, there's this notion that they're young. That applies to Bradley Beal. But Trevor Ariza won a title with the Lakers five years ago. Gortat was in those same Finals as Dwight Howard's backup with the Magic. Nene and Andre Miller have made multiple playoff appearances. Even Drew Gooden was a starter in the 2007 Finals alongside LeBron James in Cleveland. Washington isn't as young as you think. That said, this series is a complete toss-up in many regards.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do the Nets steal Game 1 from the rested, and perhaps rusty, Miami Heat?
Michael Wallace (2:24 PM)
They certainly have a shot. But I wouldn't say it's because of rest or rust. These teams play at styles that lead to close games at the finish. And no one on either side is afraid to take a big shot with the game on the line. So throw out all of the excuses now. As long as an injury doesn't crop up and affect this series, I expect it to be nip-and-tuck all the way through.
Michael, help me out here. If Donald Sterling's racist tendencies/ history were a fairly well known fact, why was the NAACP set to honor him?
Michael Wallace (2:26 PM)
Because he gave the organization some money, probably. I can't speak for the NAACP, but I do know the same can be asked when it comes to the decisions of Doc Rivers to sign on as coach, for Chris Paul to re-sign as the franchise's leader and so on and so forth. Sterling's reputation was anything but all along. But this was indeed the fire that went along with the proverbial smoke.
Why are "experts" still picking Indiana to beat Wizards? They looked horrible for past 2 months. Atlanta should have beat them in 6.
Michael Wallace (2:27 PM)
Because we're all far more stubborn than experts.
Kevin Duong (GTA)
Hey Mike! Big ups on the Wiz pick! Was wondering how you would handle the Raptors offseason if you were Masai Ujiri? How much would you pay Lowry/Patterson/Vasquez? Would you keep Casey? What type of player should we target in trades/free agency? Thanks!
Michael Wallace (2:31 PM)
I'd keep Casey and Lowry, if the number is right. The problem with this is that it's a largely weak free agency class, with Lowry likely one of the top five players available, unless there is a major surprise and any of Miami's Big 3 opt out to become free agents. So do you pay Lowry top dollar, almost max dollar? That's going to be the tough question.
Ed (Queens Village)
Who was MVP and LVP of 1st Round?
Michael Wallace (2:33 PM)
MVP: LaMarcus AldridgeLVP: Roy Hibbert
Any chance Kevin Durant comes home to dc to team up with beal and wall when he is a free agent in a couple years, we would love to have mr unreliable come home
Michael Wallace (2:36 PM)
I'm hearing John Wall has already put that bug in Durant's ear. We'll see how that turns out. Durant has shown nothing but love for Oklahoma City.
Who would be a better fit on the Bulls (in a best-case scenario world), Kevin Love or Melo? Melo would fill the need for a shooting wing, but Love/Noah and Taj subbing could be unstoppable.
Michael Wallace (2:42 PM)
The fact that Carmelo could be available this offseason makes him a better fit right now. This Bulls team is on its last legs going into next season. They're desperate to make a splash this offseason, and Love probably won't be available to take this sort of Windy City dip just yet.
Mike P (greater KC Metro)
Are Carlisle's days in Dallas numbered and how many changes will Cuban make to get past the 1st round and the 8th seed from this year
Michael Wallace (2:47 PM)
I'm not sure how much of this falls on Carlisle. He's gotten about as much out of that roster as he can, considering the age of the primary rotation players. What's become clear is that Cuban needs to land a top-flight free agent because Dirk's days as THE driving force for a deep run in the playoffs appear to be behind him. Can he still be A strong force? Absolutely. But your best player can't be Monta Ellis. What Dallas has is a really nice second and third option. They lead a true catalyst. That's as much on Cuban and the front office as it is on coaching.
If the Hornets could redo the 2012 draft, do they still take Davis? How did so many teams miss on Lillard?
Michael Wallace (2:53 PM)
Yes. The Hornets still take Davis. I don't even think that's a tough decision on their part. They will have a franchise player for a decade-plus. Lillard has that kind of talent as well. Portland was absolutely due some good luck in the draft lottery after what they've been through in recent years.
Was the Durant newspaper headline story much ado about nothing? Normally, I would assume it was a slow news day, but considering the Clippers and the first round in general, there was no need to drum up controversy.
Michael Wallace (3:00 PM)
It was the biggest non-story of the playoffs. Did the headline miss the mark, or could have been taken the wrong way? Certainly. But what was a newspaper editor one of the biggest stories of the day during an epic playoff run? Makes no sense to me. Athletes expect their local newspapers and media to be homers. In too many places, the media is too willing to comply. The OKC paper covers that team about as objectively and fairly as many papers I've seen.
Michael Wallace (3:01 PM)
Well, that's my time for this week. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to getting back with you next week. Until then, enjoy the second round of the playoffs and take care. Peace - MW