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!
Buzzmaster (3:23 PM)
Hey guys, Michael is having technical difficulties but will be here to answer your NBA questions as soon as he can.
Buzzmaster (3:23 PM)
Keep sending in those questions!
Kim (Columbus, OH)
It wouldn't be fair to put the blame on Brad Stevens for the start Boston is off to and the dreadful season they are likely to have, would it?
Michael Wallace (3:26 PM)
No. Brad just arrived. This is a long-term fix for the Celtics. If they aren't patient in Boston, then fans would be wasting their time. They had a remarkable run with the Big 3 era in Beantown. But there comes a time when you have to start over. The Celtics may have held onto that team for a season or two too long. But there's no shame in that. It's simply time to rebuild.
Are the Heat looking vulnerable?
Michael Wallace (3:28 PM)
It's the first week of the season. The Heat have always had their issues and potential weaknesses. But they've had enough talent and perseverance to always overcome it. This season, barring major injuries, should be no different despite what will be a more difficult trek through the East.
Besides Miami I am sure you must have kept up with whats going on in the Mavs world, being the only team that beat them in the playoffs. What do you think are the Mavs prospects this year.
Michael Wallace (3:30 PM)
If they can keep Dirk healthy, the Mavs could be a dangerous team to face if they slip into the playoffs as one of the bottom seeds. The fact that they have experience, and the ability to score would make them an opponent that the Clippers or OKC or anyone other than a proven San Antonio team wouldn't want to face. But just getting into the playoffs isn't a lofty enough goal for the Mavericks. They should want more. But it'll take Mark Cuban making a trade at some point this season to pull that off.
Can you give a realistic percentage that Lebron comes back to Cleveland?
Michael Wallace (3:32 PM)
I can't. No one knows what's truly going on inside LeBron's head when it comes to the next decision he'll have to make - or if he'll even make one at all at the end of the season. I joked that the Cavs would have a better shot if they moved the franchise to Akron. They put the training facility there a few years ago, in part, to appease LeBron. That said, it would be difficult for LeBron to leave what he has established in Miami from a success standpoint.
If Toronto decides to trade Rudy Gay before the deadline, which team(s) make the most sense. Thanks.
Michael Wallace (3:33 PM)
Chicago. The Bulls have Deng coming off the books at the end of the season and could use a dynamic, athletic scorer to move forward with alongside Rose and Jimmy Butler. That's just my 2cents.
Charles (San Jose)
Have you heard of anything happening in an NBA locker room that approaches what was happening with the Dolphins?
Michael Wallace (3:36 PM)
The irony here is that I was asked that same question on a radio show this morning. And the first thing that came to mind was the Gilbert Arenas ordeal that played out with the young guard Crittenton in the Washington Wizards locker room. We saw how that escalated and led to the demise of both of their careers. The other ordeal that came to mind was what happened with the Baylor basketball program several years ago with the player being murdered.
Ed (Queens Village)
What to make of Knicks start?
Michael Wallace (3:39 PM)
Predictable. You have to believe that the Knicks have maxed out their potential at this point. I'm not sure how much further they can go with Carmelo and the cast he currently has around him. Indiana, Chicago and Miami clearly have passed them and the Nets might have as well. Obviously, it's still really early in the season. But the only thing the Knicks have going for them right now are low expectations. No one expects much from them outside of being a middle-of-the-pack playoff team right now. So I presume they could surprise folks.
Deven (New York, NY)
Whose return from a major injury is most exciting: Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook or Andrew Bynum?
Michael Wallace (3:41 PM)
Derrick Rose. I think that will always be the case with this question. The Bulls have gone the better part of 18 months without Rose. With him, they feel the are a legit title contender. It's clearly his team and his town. It's also his burden to carry if the Bulls fall short again of reaching the Finals.
Deven (New York, NY)
Anthony Bennett is not playing like a number one overall pick. What is up?
Michael Wallace (3:42 PM)
Who is Anthony Bennett? Yes, it's been that kind of start for him.
How focused are Lebron and Co. on a third straight championship? #HeatNation
Michael Wallace (3:44 PM)
As focused as they can be, fully realizing that nothing can be decided in October, November, December and January. LeBron is completely aware that Miami has another chance to claim a part of history by becoming just the fourth franchise to win three consecutive titles. But getting them to play every night like that desperate team from Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs will be a difficult feat at this point in the season.
When do you think Beasley will come from the bench and be placed into the rotation? I have yet to rationalize why the Heat haven't at least given Michael Beasley a shot to play in a single game. Maybe he isn't practicing well enough to get PT? What do you think?
Michael Wallace (3:48 PM)
Because this isn't about establishing Michael Beasley as a rotation player. This reunion is about Michael Beasley fully accepting that the Heat don't need him, so his only option is to find a way to buy into the system, wait his turn and make the most of limited - if any - minutes he gets. At some point, Beasley will get his shot. He might even get some burn tonight in Toronto, with Chris Bosh not with the team following the birth of his daughter.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
The chat title on the chat list says "NBA with Michael Wallace." I'm reminding you of that so you don't start going off on a Miami Heat tangent throughout the chat. Sorry, but guys like me need to hold you accountable to what your job is. Thanks and enjoy your chat.
Michael Wallace (3:50 PM)
I only answer what I'm asked. If there are Bobcats questions on deck, then get ready to hear my take on Bismack Biyombo. That's how we roll on these chats.
Can you honestly sit there and believe that Wade who needs to rest during the second game of the season gives Lebron a better chance at more championships after this season then the young, talented Cavs team?
Michael Wallace (3:52 PM)
As I said before, I don't know what's in LeBron's head. He'll make his decision. But what I do know is what I've seen him accomplish in Miami. He knows what he has with the Heat - at least the core of the team. There is still a bit of guesswork with what he'll have almost anywhere else in the league. But LeBron is good enough on his own to get probably 20 of the league's 30 teams to the finals.
Krish (Stamford, CT)
I always thought Xavier Henry didn't get a fair shake--excellent size for position, great college program, good shooting in college. Do you think he has turned the corner or is it D'Antoni's offense or an abberation?
Michael Wallace (3:55 PM)
Ironically, with both Dwight Howard and Kobe out of the way, D'Antonio can flex his muscles and use the kind of players he believes will fit his system. The Lakers are a combination of old-timers and castaways. They're an interesting bunch. And they'll get all the shots and exposure they want until Kobe gets back. But I don't see any of this working beyond this season.
K Love is on a vicious start to his season, Rubio needs to (continue) work on his jump shot, Pek needs to get better defensively, and Marin can just stroke, Brewer is our defensive go to guy? Enough to get out of the first round?
Michael Wallace (3:57 PM)
Get into the first round first, and then lets talk. Love has to prove he can stay healthy, but there certainly is some intriguing talent in Minnesota. I like just about everything about their roster at this point. But they have a track record of fading out at about the midway point of the season.
Ryan (Boston, MA)
It seems as if the Celtics are in full tank mode right now, losing numerous winnable games in the 4th quarter this past week. Assuming that's the plan, what would you expect them to do with Rondo? Advise him to sit the season a la Rose, or even deal him at the deadline for younger talent and picks?
Michael Wallace (4:00 PM)
Rondo, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley are still young enough to be building blocks. Boston also has some decent and promising bigs who need experience and development. That's what makes that team such an enigma. But if the plan is to rebuild - and not necessarily to reload - there really is no reason to keep Rondo around when he can return the team a decent package of potential draft picks and younger prospects.
What do you think of Russ Westbrook's earlier than expected return? Was it wise from OKC to let him come back that fast?
Michael Wallace (4:03 PM)
Considering the team always claimed that there were no longterm concerns with his knee, and that the injury wasn't as severe as it could have been, it's no surprise that Westbrook is back. And considering the type of athlete he is, it wouldn't shock me if he's all the way back to his normal, explosive ways in no time.
I feel the Knicks tend to fall into Iso-Melo ball at end of games. They are so much more effective with movement and ball rotation. Is this something Knicks fans will have to live with if Melo's here for good?
Michael Wallace (4:05 PM)
Unfortunately, that's been both Melo's track record as well as the M.O. of his coach, Mike Woodson. The only hope is if the Knicks change up their style slightly and go with a consistent up-tempo style that fits their younger perimeter players and seems to be the way both Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler prefer to play.
Bosh planting family roots in Miami. LeBron is probably a stay. Does Wade have any chance of going elsewhere? And do they all opt out just to resign longer deals?
Michael Wallace (4:11 PM)
That will be an interesting development. When LeBron, Wade and Bosh came together three years ago, the Heat's management essentially viewed them all, in terms of value, as the same. This time around, there must be a clear distinction between LeBron and the other two. The toughest conversation Pat Riley might ever have to have in his job is to explain why Wade, who turns 32 soon, can't get another long-term max deal at this stage as they look toward the future. Bosh could clearly go elsewhere if he wants to be a more featured player. It likely won't be an easy offseason for anyone involved.
If you were Lakers' management, how would you go about building the team for the future?
Michael Wallace (4:14 PM)
First, convince Kobe to take a paycut. If you can do that, there's hope and light at the end of the tunnel that this will be a reloading process for the Lakers instead of a rebuilding one. Otherwise, Kobe's salary and demands as the No. 1 option will hold that franchise hostage until he's ready to retire, or is fed up with losing and wants to be traded. Again.
The nets first week was obviously up and down. KG hasn't scored double digits but says he is going to be more aggressive. D-Will is obviously rusty without much run in the postseason... Do you see this as the 2012 lakers part 2 or is this a great team learning how to gel?
Michael Wallace (4:16 PM)
As long as they avoid a major injury to one of their frontline players, the Nets will be fine. There's too much experience, leadership and professionalism on that team for them to implode the way the Lakers did at times last season. The key with the Nets is to get through the regular season in one piece. They're essentially playing an 82-game preseason schedule designed to improve their chemistry for when the season really matters.
Expectations for Detroit? Who do you compare Drummond to?
Michael Wallace (4:19 PM)
I've got the Pistons as a fifth or sixth seed in the East, behind Miami, Indiana, Chicago and Brooklyn. Chauncey Billups has what it takes to pull all those individual pieces together and keep them connected. The talent, size and skill are all there for Detroit to finally bounce back after several down seasons. As far as Drummond, he reminds me a lot of a cooler, calmer DeMarcus Cousins. And Drummond, with all of that potential, still hasn't figured out how to use his body and play dominant basketball yet. When he does, it'll be scary.
Why is Perk still starting? I know he gave a toughness factor when he arrived, but he has zero confidence now and it takes him 3 seconds to jump off the ground.
Michael Wallace (4:24 PM)
I suppose Scott Brooks could go small and start Ibaka at center, then shift everyone else down a position. But that seems like more of a change-up adjustment to exploit mismatches against other teams than a steady playing style for OKC. I'm not saying Perk is the answer at center. In fact, I think there are some nights when the Thunder flat-out regret that trade with Boston that shipped Jeff Green. Perk is an absolute loyal and tough player inside. He's a throwback. But he doesn't dominate one area enough where you have to keep him on the floor.
How much do non-basketball financial considerations play into free agency decisions? I would imagine that Lebron is enticed by Florida's lack of an income tax, for example. Thoughts?
Michael Wallace (4:26 PM)
I'm enticed by Florida's lack of sate income tax. But when you're in LeBron's financial stratosphere, I'm not sure he even notices the difference at this point. Quality of life will be important. How his kids are doing in school and in their other activities will also be a factor. LeBron's in-laws have also been living with him in Miami as well the past couple of years. So yes, I assume there will be far more involved in his next decision that just basketball, although that will be the major aspect.
Bruce (Washington D.C.)
How do you think Trey Burke will look after returning from injury? Do you think he will out perform MCW?
Michael Wallace (4:30 PM)
I saw both rookie guards extensively during the Orlando summer league. I felt instantly that Michael Carter-Williams, even after committing 10 turnovers his first game then, had the athleticism, length and vision to survive and thrive in the league. I was honestly stunned at how small Burke was compared to other summer league players. I also didn't see much explosion in his game. I left Orlando with plenty of questions and doubts. But it's not as if Burke hasn't overcome those things before. I will enjoy seeing how their initial seasons play out.
Michael Wallace (4:32 PM)
Well, that's my time for this week. Thanks for joining me and sending the questions. I also want to apologize for the technical issues that contributed to my late start, which is whey we extended it for the full hour on the back end. I look forward to chatting with you throughout what is already proving to be an intriguing season. Until next week, peace. MW