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 (2:03 PM)
Thanks for joining me for another week of the NBA chat. Just wrapped up covering the Miami Heat's practice in advance of the Finals against San Antonio. REady to get right to your questions. Let's get started.
Gabriel (miami) [via mobile]
Fans expect lebron to make his jumper this series, but do you think pop will come up with a way of making lebron do something he's not comfortable with that's not allowing him to shoot?
Michael Wallace (2:05 PM)
The brilliance of Gregg Popovich is always having something up his sleeve to in an attempt to throw the Heat off their game. It's not necessarily about stopping the Heat or LeBron as much as it is getting them to pause and think instead of simply attacking. As both LeBron and Dwyane Wade said moments ago, they won't be surprised to see the Spurs come up with any and everything defensively.
Do you think the Finals outcome has anything to do with the Big Three returning, and are Chalmers and Haslem the salary casualties if they do?
Michael Wallace (2:07 PM)
No. I think just the fact that they're back in the Finals shows that they've reached their "at the very least" standard. There's nothing wrong with the Heat. They will need to address some aspects of the team in the offseason. They need to get younger and more athletic. But I don't think this is the last run for the core of this team together.
Mohan Satish (New York)
Does the changed 2-2-1-1-1 format in the Finals help the Heat, being the team without home court advantage?
Michael Wallace (2:08 PM)
I'll defer to what Chris Bosh said a few minutes ago. He said last year, it "felt like we were in San Antonio forever" during those middle three games. Miami did manage to win one of those games to ensure they would return to finish the series on their home court. But I'm not sure either format favors one team over the other. Having to sweep all three home games in the middle is a lot of pressure on the lower-seeded team, too.
Hi Michael- To me a superstar is defined as being the best player of your time and winning a lot of rings. To me that gives us the following 5 superstars. Kareem, Magic, MJ, Kobe and Lebron. (That's assuming Lebron wins a few more rings which i'm sure he will). Duncan joins this group if he wins his 5th as he would tie Kobe for best player of their time. What do you say?
Michael Wallace (2:09 PM)
I say Duncan is already in that group, considering all he's done to this point in his career.
Mike (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
What are the chances of Miami's Big 3 taking a pay-cut next season in order for Pat Riley to bring quality role players down in South Beach? Bosh already hinted that he is willing to play for less but are there any rumors that James and Wade are willing to do the same?
Michael Wallace (2:11 PM)
I've said this before. If the Heat win another title, I don't think the onus of "sacrificing money" is on them this time around. They've done their jobs these past four years. I think it's on the ownership to do what it takes to honor the six-year contracts the Big 3 signed and do whatever it takes, within reason, regarding luxury tax payments to ensure those three have the same level of talent around them they've had the past three seasons.
Who faces more pressure to win this years NBA finals?Miami to 3Peat or San Antonio redeem season ?
Michael Wallace (2:12 PM)
Heat to 3-peat. Spurs open as the slight favorite to win the series, but that's only based on the fact they have home-court advantage.
Paul (Salt Lake City)
Quin Snyder and Adrian Griffin both rumored to have 2nd interviews with the Jazz this week. Who's the better fit and who's the safer choice?
Michael Wallace (2:14 PM)
I don't have a strong feel for either one of those guys as sure-fire NBA coaches. I would have thought Utah would be able to generate a slightly more powerful list of candidates. But popularity doesn't necessarily get it done on the bench. This isn't a quick-fix for the Jazz, so they need someone who can be trusted and also who is given time to build this team over the relative long haul - which means two or three seasons in today's NBA.
Can u tell us top five of every position all time?
Michael Wallace (2:16 PM)
This chat is only an hour long, with 45 minutes remaining. Don't want to waste your time going that deep. But my all-time starting 5: PG Magic JohnsonSG Michael JordanSF LeBron JamesPF Bill RussellC Kareem Abdul-Jabbar3-man bench: Oscar, Bird and Wilt
corey (austin tx)
everyone keeps saying the Heat isn't as good as last year, and they're basing that mainly on their regular season record. i'd argue, they're more rested (Lebron didn't play in the Olympics last summer) and healthier (see D-Wade), and their playoff record and numbers say they are BETTER than last year's team. am i crazy?
Michael Wallace (2:18 PM)
No. I tend to agree overall. But I also believe the Spurs are better and deeper. I think Kawhi is far more confident and versatile with his offensive game and willingness to attack. I see a better and more spry Ginobili and Duncan can be vintage Duncan two or three times in a series.
How much impact will Rashard Lewis have on this series? Or whoever starts at PF position?
Michael Wallace (2:19 PM)
Rashard will be an X-factor. The way he finished the last two games against Indiana, you almost thought you were watching the Rashard Lewis from the 2009 run to the Finals with Orlando. If he can hit that shot as a starter at PF, it could force Popovich to make the first adjustment of the series if he intends to intially defend Lewis with Tiago Splitter.
Hi Michael, If Carmelo bolts, will that allow Phil Jackson and the Knicks to be players this summer? What's the upside for the Knicks?
Michael Wallace (2:21 PM)
Not unless they can dump another contract as well. They're well into the luxury tax, not just simply above the salary cap. There's a difference. If Carmelo leaves, the Knicks are very limited in the options they'd have to rebuild the roster right away without dumping at least one more (Amar'e/Chandler) contract.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Should acquiring a true point guard to run the show be the #1 priority for the Pacers personnel department this offseason? Also, Vogel is staying, but will Bird show Stephenson the door?
Michael Wallace (2:27 PM)
As Bird suggested earlier today, the he's open to exploring changes with that roster. They first have to decide what to do with Lance Stephenson. Then, if they intend to attract a quality point guard, it would require a potential sign-and-trade of Stephenson or dealing one of the other pieces who are locked up contractually, such as Roy Hibbert or David West. Bird was even asked about Rajon Rondo during his season-ending press conference today. So things will be interesting in Indy this offseason.
Win or lose, what do you think the Heat might be looking for in the draft? Mitch McGary could really be a steal if his back is ok.
Michael Wallace (2:28 PM)
A shooting guard-small forward combination to back up and develop behind LeBron and Wade.
What are the chances of the Celtics trading for Kevin Love?
Michael Wallace (2:29 PM)
Unless Minnesota top exec Flip Saunders is completely posturing, Love won't be going anywhere next season. I've heard it before, only to see a deal get done. But this sounds like it'll have a similar ring to the Dwight Howard ultimate exit in Orlando a few years ago.
Jay (Orange County)
Is Perkins going to get amnestied? I know the team looks to him as a leader but with Adams emerging is having him there that necessary? Who says no to a sign and trade of Pau Gasol to the Thunder for Perkins and the 21st and 29th pick?
Michael Wallace (2:32 PM)
The picks are the only thing that would make me hesitate. The emergence of Adams fills does make Perkins immediate future in OKC murky. There has been amnesty talk around Perkins for two seasons now. OKC will have to make a decision there.
duncan rarely talks. so when he talks, people will listen. what do you think of his statement that they'll win the 4 they need this time around.
Michael Wallace (2:35 PM)
Good for Duncan. It shows how passionate he to avenge what he believes was a series the Spurs essentially handed to Miami. The reality is that the Heat had to make some stunning plays to pull it off, but they also won Game 7, too. But LeBron James said it's good the Spurs are getting the team they want to play so badly in the Finals again. The Heat won't back down. This is going to be a great series, as long as an injury doesn't turn things drastically in favor of one team over the other.
Are you surprised the Pacers brought Vogel back?
Michael Wallace (2:36 PM)
I figured Bird and the front office had a tough choice to make, that they would either stick with Vogel or stick with the roster and bring it back essentially intact. I still don't see both of those things happening, so I'd expect a major change or two on the roster.
Linwood (Pentagon, Washington DC)
How many more championships or MVPs does Lebron have to win to be considered the best of all time? Does he have to at least get to Jordan's 6?
Michael Wallace (2:38 PM)
The truth is there's not definitive answer to that. It's such a subjective question. My greatest of all time is different from your greatest of all time because our standards of what the greatest of all time needs to be may be different.
Rob (San Antonio)
Whish team has the better bench and how much of a factor will the bench play into this series? Given their age and Parkers health I think it is more critical for the Spurs bench to play well.
Michael Wallace (2:40 PM)
The Spurs actually rely heavily on their role players more than the Heat from an overall production standpoint. The Spurs are built on complete balance. The Heat tend to be top-heavy, which is why when a guy like Rashard Lewis or Shane Battier or Norris Cole has a big game, it's far more obvious. But when it's all said and done, the biggest question I have is whether Tim Duncan can carry his team for three games in vintage Tim Duncan fashion. It's going to take that for San Antonio to offset what LeBron and a healthier Dwyane Wade can bring in this series.
Tony (Austin, Tx)
What do you think about the lack of challenge Miami had in the leastern conference? Bobcats, a team that wouldn't even have sniffed the playoffs in the west. Nets, old as dirt. Pacers, a discombobulated group of guys who were out of sync.
Michael Wallace (2:48 PM)
Even Chris Bosh mentioned today that the East proved to be "a shorter road" through the playoffs. That doesn't mean the best team doesn't ultimately win the title. The Spurs had to survive a seven-game series in the first round. The Spurs played their 12th game in the second round. The Heat were already three games into the conference finals by the time they played their 12th. None of that matters at this point. But teams are ready for one another.
Why are people so quick to blow up the Pacers? PG and Lance are both 24 and under? Why not keep Lance and get rid of the average george hill?
Michael Wallace (2:50 PM)
The Pacers have to decide what they want to do. Do they just want to be good enough to be the second-best team in the East until LeBron leaves Miami? Or do they want to break through and beat Miami? To do the latter, it's going to take a major move to shake up the roster. Paul George is the only untouchable if I'm the Pacers.
Do the Lakers sit tight this year and save money? Or do they make a run for Lance and/or Bledsoe?
Michael Wallace (2:51 PM)
It's just funny to think about a Kobe and Lance backcourt, and what they would do to one another out of sheer frustration.
i think the only way the Heat can sustain is to follow the Spurs model. superstars taking less money and having a deeper bench.
Michael Wallace (2:53 PM)
Correct me if I'm wrong, and I'm sure someone out there probably will, but the Spurs main guys never "opted out" of at least $40 million remaining on their deals to take less money. They were all toward - or at - the end of contracts and either extended on a final year or signed a new deal for less. It's a different scenario with the Heat. Completely different.
What do you expect to see from the Pistons now that Stan the man is running the show?
Michael Wallace (2:54 PM)
Organized chaos. From the bench, from the 3-point line. Stan can coach. He knows how to run a great system. But he also wears on players after a season or two. I'd like to see how the Josh Smith-Van Gundy dynamic works.
Yo Mike is Greg Oden gonna get on the court or what?
Michael Wallace (2:56 PM)
He was just on the court. The practice court. I could see him being on the active roster this series. But the preferred pace the Spurs and Heat play would be far too fast for Oden to keep up.
The Heat won game 7...because Duncan missed a shot he makes probably 98% of the time. Miami got lucky, AND got lucky last year. If the Spurs are healthy, this one could be over in 5.
Michael Wallace (2:57 PM)
That's one way to look at it.
do you think lebron dwade and the heat should use tim duncan and manu ginobli comments motivation ? it seems like the spurs do not respect the heat.
Michael Wallace (2:58 PM)
Totally disagree. I think the Spurs are confident in who they are and what they're capable of doing.
How much of a problem does it create for san antonio if rashard lewis continues playing strong and shooting this good?
Michael Wallace (3:00 PM)
It forces the Spurs to go small at power forward, but they're just as comfortable with Diaw at the position as they are with Splitter on the floor alongside Duncan.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Everyone talks about Lebron and what a third ring would mean to his legacy. But what does a 4th ring with the same franchise do for Dwyane Wade?
Michael Wallace (3:01 PM)
Great point. I thought about that the other day. He'd be closing in on that Kobe Bryant territory.
Michael Wallace (3:02 PM)
Well, that's my time for this week's chat. Plenty of great questions and points made by you guys. I really appreciate the time. Let's do it again next week. Until then, enjoy the first two games of the Finals. Peace - MW